What's Fresh with Paula Chase's So Not The Drama
Hoping Del Rio Bay High will live up to her greatest expectations, Mina has big plans for infiltrating the school's social glitterati. After all, she's been mad popular for as long as she can remember--and she isn't about to go from Middle School Royalty to High School Ambiguity. But Del Rio Bay is a big school, so it'll take some plotting to avoid getting lost in the crowd. Good thing she isn't afraid of a little hard work--and that her playground peeps, Lizzie, Michael, and JZ, have got her back.
But it isn't long before Mina's big plans for securing her social status take a back seat to some drama that was so not expected. Lizzie's scored an invite from the beautiful people that Mina can only dream about, and not only is Michael tripping about being back in school, but now he's beefing with JZ. Worst of all, Mina's sociology class experiment to rid the world--or at least Del Rio Bay High--of prejudice is about to backfire. Because it might just mean she'll have to rid herself of her very best friend...
Hi Paula, thanks so much for agreeing to chat! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale, So Not The Drama to Kensington?
Paula: I’ve always been a writer. Even though I grew up quite addicted to both the television and radio, writing and reading were hobbies of mine. I even majored in Journalism for a whole semester before switching to public relations. I felt then, and now, that writing could be a big part of my profession without actually being a full-time writer. I was right. Many of my PR jobs called for lots of writing, speeches, articles, marketing material etc…
The very first article I was ever paid for was my local community paper, The Severna Park Voice. From there, it went quickly as I began writing for Sweet 16 and Girls Life. So Not The Drama is my first manuscript and the first novel I’ve ever sold.
Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.
Paula: I’ve noticed that I don’t have a routine…at least not one that’s consistent. When I was writing full-time, which I only did for a year, I wrote eight to ten hours a day. Then, for about two years I wrote only late night. The biggest problem with night-writing – fatigue. By the time the entire house is quiet I’m dead tired. So this time around, I get up early (and early just means before the kids) and write for as long as the house is quiet. Most times that’s an hour to 90 minutes. I love getting the writing done early. #1 It eliminates any writer’s guilt later on in the day and #2 Often it jump starts my brain and I’ll continue to come up with story bits throughout the day, which I capture in a variety of notebooks. I’m swimming in notebooks!
Please tell us about your novel So Not The Drama and what we can expect from your characters.
Paula: So Not The Drama is the first in my Del Rio Bay Clique series being released by Kensington. The book hit shelves March 7th. It’s about the transition from middle school to high school and how it impacts our friendships as each person begins to start down a new avenue. Also, at the heart of it, it’s about the awakening of the main character, a friendship loving but popularity obsessed freshman.
I see my job, as the author, to put my characters into typical teen situations and see how they get themselves out of it. What the reader will find is, sometimes they grow from those experiences and other times they don’t. I think that’s realistic. Some people take longer to change than others.
Great, Paula! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Paula: Kensington acquired a total of five books in the series. Drama’s on shelves, Don’t Get It Twisted comes out in December and I’m writing the third book, That’s What’s Up! now.
I have another standalone book, for older teens, that I’ve neglected for about a year. I really want to give it my attention but honestly I don’t know that I’ll have time until I’ve finished at least the fourth book in the Del Rio Bay Clique series.
Thanks so much for sharing, Paula, I wish you the best with your series. Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Paula: Writing is neither the easiest or hardest profession. But it’s one of the few where without the passion for it, you’ll lose your taste for it very quickly. I’m never quite sure where the words come from, but I suspect my passion for it, my characters and this genre are part of the formula.
Author, Paula Chase has written for Girls Life, Sweet 16 and Baltimore Magazine, among others. In addition to her background in corporate communications and public relations, she founded the Committed Black Women, a youth mentoring program for 14-17 year old girls. Her Del Rio Bay Clique series helped launch Kensington Books YA line and joins a burgeoning number of YA books targeted to multi-culti suburbanite teens. Chase calls her brand of teen literature, Hip Lit, a nod to the diversity spawned by the MTV-watching, 106 & Park-ing, pop culture hungry hip hop generation. The author lives in Maryland with her husband and two daughters. Learn more about the series and author at www.paulachasehyman.com.