Tuesday, May 20, 2008

SBBT: D.L. Garfinkle

Back in 2006, I interviewed D.L Garfinkle. Now, two years and multiple books later, Debby returns, this time as part of the Summer Blog Blast Tour 08.

Liz B: Debby, welcome back!

Debby: Thank you! I don't feel I've been away, though, as an avid reader of your blog.

Liz B: Thank you!

Back in 2006, Storky had just come out. Now it's only two years later and wow – look at all the titles! Stuck in the '70s and the Band series.

Debby: I feel so lucky, having so many books published. But I never want to work as hard as I did in 2006. I was writing like a maniac. I had five novels published last year.

Liz B: Can you tell us about your newest books, the Supernatural Rubber Chicken series?

Debby: The Supernatural Rubber Chicken chapter book series is for children ages six to ten. The first two books, Fowl Language and Fine-Feathered Four-Eyes, come out on June 10. The other titles so far are Poultry in Motion, Keep on Cluckin', and Chick Magnet. So much fun! There will be at least six books in the series and they can be read in any order. My main goal in writing these books is to make kids laugh, but there's also a little lesson-y stuff too-- just a little.

The Supernatural Rubber Chicken series features ten-year-old twins who receive a rubber chicken that can grant superpowers. Ed, the rubber chicken, is cranky but has a decent heart. Pop culture fans like you might compare him to Dr. House. Older pop culture fans like me might compare him to Lou Grant. I also created a lot of fun secondary characters such as Dave the surfer dude; Mrs. Crabpit, the mean, stinky teacher; and, under the write what you know principle, the twins' mother, who is so busy writing books that she ignores her children.

Liz B: You had me at "keep on cluckin'". What got you interested in writing for a younger age group?

Debby: I have three school-age children. I had written books for teens, which my oldest child enjoyed reading. One day, my youngest child said, "When are you going to write a book I can read?" And so I did. My kids have helped me come up with ideas for the series and have critiqued all five books I've written so far.

I've also enjoyed reading funny chapter books to my children, such as Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, and My Weird School, and thought it would be fun to try writing some myself. And it is fun!

Liz B: What are you working on now?

Debby: I'm revising the fifth Supernatural Rubber Chicken book as well as revising a young adult novel involving sex, politics, and religion. I have to be careful not to accidentally write a scene of the rubber chicken making out with a politician.

Liz B: What's your favorite part of the book process: writing, rewriting, or editing?

Debby: I really, really despise drafting. Blech! I love to revise when I feel like I know what I'm doing. When I don't know what I'm doing, well, revising still beats drafting.

As to suggestions from editors, I usually get indignant the day I read a revision letter from my editor, thinking that she doesn't know what she's talking about, that my manuscript was just fine before she got hold of it. But a few days and maybe a few glasses of wine later, I feel grateful that the editor's wise comments will help me improve my manuscript.

Liz B: How has your life as a writer changed since Storky was first published?

Debby: I think I get more respect when I tell people I'm published. Before, I was a homemaker with a writing hobby. Now I have a "career."

And though I still spend most of my time schlepping my kids to their activities and nagging them to do their homework and figuring out what I can microwave for dinner, I do have my glamorous moments, which I adore. I've given a lot of author talks and writing workshops, sometimes speaking to entire schools. My publisher just flew me to Atlanta for the International Reading Association conference, where I spoke to reading teachers and signed hundreds of advanced reading copies of the first Supernatural Rubber Chicken book. I felt like a star! My first book, Storky sold in four languages and just came out in audio format. So cool! But the best thing about having books published is getting great fan emails from kids and teens.

Liz B: Will you be at ALA this June?

Debby: Yes! On Saturday of the conference, I'll be signing my Supernatural Rubber Chicken books. I'm thrilled that this year ALA is only about 25 minutes from my house.

Liz B: And, of course, what is your favorite area of pop culture?

Debby: So hard to choose! Probably reality TV these days. My family watches Survivor, American Idol, and Amazing Race together. We're teaching our kids how to lie, cheat, and backstab to get what they want. Isn't that lovely.

Liz B: I'm also going to sneak in one more question. This is a virtual interview, but if it were real – coffee? Tea? Hot chocolate? Or something else?

Debby: I'd die without coffee, so I have to choose that. But I'm also not one to turn down an offer of tea or a mug of hot chocolate,

Liz B: Thanks!

Debby: That was fun. Thank you.

Find more SBBT Interviews:

Tuesday, May 20th
Ben Towle at Chasing Ray
Sean Qualls at Fuse #8
Susane Colasanti at Bildungsroman
Robin Brande at HipWriterMama
Susan Beth Pfeffer at The YA YA YAs

Updated to add Kelly F's interview with Jennifer Lynn Barnes at Writing and Ruminating.

Thanks to Little Willow for the coding!

Plus, Chasing Ray has a daily round up with highlighted quotes for each interview.


tanita✿davis said...

I love that MG books can be so over-the-top ridiculous and that makes them even better. I mean, the title: Supernatural Rubber CHICKEN!? How fun is that?

Anonymous said...

I had the pleasure of meeting Debby in New England this year, and she totally rocks. And for someone so crazy busy, she's really centered (even when joking about how off-balance life feels). Gotta love her.

One favor: Can you add my interview with Jennifer Lynn Barnes? It dropped off the list somehow, but she's at Writing and Ruminating today. Here's the link: http://kellyrfineman.livejournal.com/305856.html

Erin said...

"We're teaching our kids how to lie, cheat, and backstab to get what they want. Isn't that lovely."

*laughs* Really fun interview, guys!

Alyson Noel said...

Debby rocks!!

Jackie Parker said...

OMG. I know like 20 younguns who are going to FLIP over Supernatural Rubber Chicken! Ahh! So awesome!

Jules at 7-Imp said...

These books are in my TBR pile. Thanks for the interview!

Jules, 7-Imp