. . . author of the new YA novel I Now Pronounce You Someone Else.
I am so excited about my Q&A with Erin today! She was actually my next door neighbor when I was a small child, so I am so happy that I have the opportunity to feature Erin and her book on my blog. Thank you Erin!
Q: Bronwen gets engaged very young–she is not even out of high school yet. Did you have a similar experience?
A: No, I was not engaged in high school!
Q:What are your thoughts on people marrying so young?
A: I have shivers rather than thoughts about people marrying so young.
Q: Bronwen and Jared get engaged within months of dating. What is your take on fast courtships. How long did you and your husband date before you got married?
A: The success of the fast courtship depends, I suppose, on the couple, but particularly — and there are statistics behind this — on the age of the couple. In high school, forget it. Fast courtship, big break-up. Big, ugly break-up. My husband and I, who were well beyond high school when we started dating — high school, undergrad and grad school — knew each other from parties for about eight or nine months before we started dating. Our first date was in September, 1998. He proposed in February, 1999, and we were married the following April. He told my mother the night he proposed that he asked me to marry him, not to be engaged to him, and he wanted to know the minimum amount of time she needed to pull together a reasonable wedding. She said eight weeks. I think we were engaged for 10 weeks, and we just celebrated our 11th anniversary.
Q: Where did you get your inspiration for this book? Why were you drawn towards YA fiction?
A: The idea for this — and for writing YA — came from working with teenagers for 10 years, mostly in a youth group setting, and listening to girls as young as 15 describe their future weddings down to the color of the ribbons on the bridesmaids’ bouquets. They’re buying bridal magazines and watching reality shows about million-dollar weddings and getting the idea that marriage is about the wedding, rather than about creating one life with the right person for them.
Q: Were you anything like Bronwen when you were younger? She seems to be very reasonable and logical, except for wanting to get married so young.
A: I was/am very logical — probably to a fault. Even though I know there are situations that cannot be understood logically, I come at them that way every time and usually get walloped by them. And Bronwen’s not that bad. But otherwise, no, I was nothing like Bronwen and actually wish I had been. She’s far more outgoing than I ever was. From 8th through 12th grades, I was voted shyest in my class, and Bronwen is not shy.
Q: Bronwen’s mother is one of the most irritating moms I have come across in fiction recently. Did you base her on your own mom? Did you think Bronwen was fair to be so critical of her mother?
A: My own mother is not the image-obsessed mom in the book. My mother is overly nice and overly amenable, which isn’t Bronwen’s mother at all. But, yes, I think Bronwen was fair in her criticism, because Bronwen wants connection, and in order for two people to connect, they need to truly know each other, and Bronwen’s mom never takes the time to get to know her own daughter. It’s really too much trouble for her. She’d rather Bronwen just change to fit into the family. And that sends the message to Bronwen that she’s just not important enough to get to know.
Q: You’ve mentioned to me before that you love weddings, and obviously that shines through in your book. What are the best and most fun weddings you have been to?
A: I do. I’m shameless. I love weddings. The best two I’ve ever attended were about a decade apart. The first was the wedding of my next door neighbors’ son to the most stunningly perfect bride. Really elegant without being stiff. It was story-book beautiful. The second was a friend from high school who got married on July 4th, but the best part of the wedding was seeing how much fun — without making spectacles of themselves — he and the bride had at the reception. I remember smiling and laughing all night long just looking at how happy they were. It was contagious!
Q: And finally, just because I am curious after reading your book . . . do you like ketchup?
A: Oh! Wait. Yeah — I am like Bronwen there. Hate ketchup. Hate it, hate it, hate it. If I’m cleaning a plate that has some on it and get it on my hand, the plate goes down, and I have to wash my hand immediately. I like butter the way many people like ketchup, but I have the same reaction if I get butter on my hand, too. Yuck.
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