Today I have Tellulah Darling author of Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls up on the blog .
Could you start things off by telling us a little about the book?
It all started with My Fair Lady. There’s a line in a song from that musical that goes “why can’t a woman be more like a man?” I started to riff on that and how it might fit into this other idea I’d wanted to explore about what it takes for two friends to notice each other in a new way.
That topic pre-occupied me a lot when I was a teen because I had tons of guy friends. And I never could understand why the one I had a crush on, could spend all his time with me as his friend but “like” some other girl. And to be fair, I know there were guys who liked me that I didn’t see that way. I was really interested in looking at what type of wake up call it might take to get two people who should be a couple, (and really in terms of emotional intimacy, already are), to wake up and see that for themselves.
What influences and inspirations (both literary and non-literary) did you draw from while writing your book?
The movie When Harry Met Sally and Jennifer Crusie’s novel Bet Me. These two stories, for me, are the gold standard for smart, sexy, witty romantic comedies, so I go back to them a lot. I wanted to channel their vibe into a YA setting. I also re-watched Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot, because it’s such an excellent example of keeping characters deadly serious in their pursuit of their goals no matter how absurd the circumstances, while remaining absolutely hilarious for the audience.
Who is your favorite character in this book, and why?
Probably Sam. He was the character that surprised me most when I was writing him. I think Ally is very much me in many ways. But Sam was just this deluded boy that needed to wise up and see the amazingness before him. And make a romantic connection before it was too late and he turned into his dad. I loved getting into his head and watching him go through this coming of age tale.
What books/genres do you read when you have the chance? Any must read authors or series?
I read mostly fiction. Any kind except Westerns and military stories. Obviously a lot of YA and romance. But also tons of sci-fi and fantasy. Must read authors would include Neil Gaiman, Orson Scott Card, John Irving, Tom Robbins, Jennifer Crusie, Christopher Moore, Armisted Maupin, Mordechai Richler, Salman Rushdie, George RR Martin, Salinger and Junot Diaz.
Harry Potter as a series is so brilliant because you never feel that you’re reading any single book who’s only purpose is to lay down story for the big battle to come. All the books both stand alone and fit into the larger picture. I find that a lot of series fall down on the stand-alone story mechanism that drives (say book two) giving it tension and conflict on its own. Not just in the name of the big picture conflict. Rowling makes us care so much about the fate of everyone. And the world? Let’s just say I feel cheated there was no owl waiting for me on my 11th birthday.
And for older audiences who love dark urban fantasy, the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. While it doesn’t have the same strength of stand-alone book goals that Harry Potter does, the heroine undergoes wonderful change from book to book. Plus the hero is the sexiest fictional man ever.
Can you tell us a little about the main characters in your book?
I think that the best rom-coms feature lovers who are out of balance on the same issue but which manifest in totally different and opposite ways. So with Sam and Ally, the way they are out of balance is that neither of them experiences love in a healthy way.
This is obvious with Sam. He just doesn’t do love at all. And it was important to me to set a believable, organic reason why. He lost his mom at a young age and the model he’s had is a father who is a player with girls much younger than himself. Sam is the same way. The one in control who calls the shots, while rationalizing it that he’s being upfront and it’s the girls’ fault if she wants more.
It might seem that Ally is fine. She has a boyfriend. She believes in love. But it’s not a love based on equality and respect. She’s putting herself second, keeping quiet, in order to keep her relationship. It’s still a power dynamic. Yet it’s understandable why she’s doing this. Jeremy isn’t a monster. She loves him and wants to be with him. But it’s still not a healthy relationship.
Then I switched it up. Ally got to be the one in control and Sam started to come second. My hope was in the end, they’d realize that love is this wonderful middle ground of equality and mutual respect. Where yes, everyone is equally vulnerable but it’s all worth it.
Do you have a favorite scene or line from your book?
I have two favorite scenes. One is Sam and Ally in the changing room and the other is when they’re talking about being a couple and Sam starts hallucinating. I won’t give the spoilers of what. :) Not only do they continue to make me laugh, which is pretty good considering how many times I’ve re-read and re-written them, but there is an emotional honesty to those scenes. They are moments of my characters in crisis. And crisis is how character is revealed.
Have more confidence. Believe in myself and my abilities. Ask more questions. Find answers and not let lack of knowledge or fear of judgment stop me. To quote a great Barbra Streisand song and pretty good Glee cover, my motto would be “don’t rain on my parade.”
There is quite a lot of sexual content in your novel and it's still classified as YA,you think you will lose out on some readers because of this?
Yes. The book was always intended for older teen readers and into an adult audience, but even so, I knew it was going to alienate some people. The decision to use sexual content to the extent I did, was not a decision I made lightly. I’m a mom and can appreciate people’s concerns. Ultimately though, I truly believe that Sam’s and Ally’s journeys demanded a frank, forthright and funny dialogue around sex.
That to achieve an emotional honesty and get them to their end point of growth, which is a place of love and heightened intimacy on all levels with each other, they had to go through experiencing and experimenting with this very specific, narrow intimacy. Which was sex.
This story required it. My next one doesn’t. I have no interest in just writing sex for sex’ sake or some kind of added titillation or shock because I’m writing YA. It has to be necessary to the characters’ journey. And for this book, to do otherwise, would have meant censoring myself and the story simply for the sake of the age of my intended audience. That, to me, would have been condescending and wrong.
Why did you decide to write a YA novel?
I love YA. And I think it’s an exciting time to be writing it. There is incredible depth and breadth to the stories being told in this genre.
Also, storytelling is drama and conflict and making crazy intense emotional connections and for me, all those things are so characteristic of the teen years. There are so many primal, important issues we’re figuring out about ourselves and our place in the world. And yet, it’s a time of a wonderful freedom because we don’t yet necessarily have the adult responsibilities still to come. So we can be childish and playful in a very special way.
And in terms of love, the teen years are so passionate. I remember having this incredible sense of immortality and possibility and yet I felt every emotion so profoundly. For both the romance and comedy, I think it’s a wonderful time in a person’s life to explore. Plus smart, mouthy, teen girls rock.
Okay, five things about me:
1) I love British TV
2) I tap dance
3) I did my master’s thesis on Bugs Bunny cartoons
4) I slipped off a ship (but was caught) when I was three. According to my father it was due to a pair of cursed sandals.
5) Rome and NY are tied for my favorite city. I can walk around them for hours and never get bored.
Song you're in love with?
Moves like Jagger
Rapid Fire(what it the first thing that comes to your mind when I say....)
About the Book
Sam Cruz's Infallible Guide to Getting Girls
Why the hell can’t chicks be more like guys?
That question plagues high school senior Sam Cruz. Sam is perfectly happy being a player. He just wishes girls wouldn’t change the game from sex to relationships. It makes him look like an asshole. But when Sam’s best friend, Ally Klinger, gets dumped, she begs him to transform her into someone who can screw around then screw off. No risk of heartbreak that way. It’s Sam’s chance to create the perfect female AND cheer up his best friend. Armed with Sam’s Three Step Guide to Backseat Success, Ally gets the game better than Sam thought she would and before long, Sam has his wish: the female version of himself. Too bad it’s driving him nuts. Told from Sam’s and Ally's alternating POVs, Sam Cruz’s Infallible Guide to Getting Girls is a fast-paced romantic comedy that follows these teens as they navigate the minefield of sex, love, and friendship.
This book contains strong language, drinking, euphemisms, and lots of “bow chicka wow wow.”
Expected publication: October 17th 2012
ADD TO GOODREADS
Tellulah is offering a free story critique on up to 5 pages of your original writing.It could be from a short story,screenplay or novel.She'll give you notes.a Rafflecopter giveaway
So basically you can get an opinion on your writing :)
So basically you can get an opinion on your writing :)