Wednesday, June 06, 2007

What's Fresh with Tricia Rayburn's The Melting of Maggie Bean

Maggie looked down and barely saw her toenails peeking out from the shadow of her stomach. She closed her eyes and slowly stepped onto the scale. Once she finally opened her eyes, Maggie almost fell off the scale.

Maggie Bean's having a tough year. Since her dad lost his job he spends more time watching TV than talking to his family, and her mom's totally stressed about money. So Maggie focuses on what she does best: keeping up her straight-A average and eating chocolate.

Lots and lots of chocolate.

But everything changes when Maggie gets a chance to try out for the synchronized swim team. Becoming a Water Wing has always been Maggie's dream -- who wouldn't want to have an instant circle of friends and wear that cute silver bathing suit? As a Water Wing, maybe she'll start believing she's more than just a socially awkward bookworm. Maybe people will see past the extra weight she's recently gained to the funny, cool girl hiding underneath. And maybe, just maybe, Peter Applewood will finally notice her.

It all depends on Maggie Bean, who thinks she knows who she is, but is about to find out for sure.

Hey Tricia, thanks for chatting with us at YA Fresh! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Tricia: I wrote my very first book--a thrilling page-turner featuring my best friend and the boy who "cherished her every step," Rob Lowe--in seventh grade. Like most things in seventh grade, the story was better left forgotten, and I didn't write another until college. Creative writing classes were so great I couldn't believe I actually received credit for them, and I remembered this after graduating and while trying to figure out my next Big Life Plan. After some serious confusion and a few cross-country moves, I started an MFA program. THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN began as a writing assignment, turned into my MFA thesis, and was just published by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster as part of their new line for 'tweens--MIX.

How wonderful! 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.

Tricia: I'm still shooting for typical! The day job limits how much I get done during the week, but I try to squeeze in a few hours...and since my brain seems to function better just out of bed rather than preparing to get in it, I usually write for at least two hours every weekday morning. Most of my writing gets done on weekends, though, during highly caffeinated marathon sessions.

Please tell us about your novel THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN and what we can expect from your characters.

Tricia: THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN was just released last month by Aladdin/Simon & Schuster. Maggie Bean is a smart, funny 12-year-old who, after hiding in her room and eating lots and lots (and lots!) of chocolate every night to avoid her cranky dad and stressed-out mom, packs on some pounds and hardly recognizes herself. Her best friend convinces her to try out for the school's synchronized swim team, and never one to back away from a challenge, Maggie goes to extreme measures to try to exceed everyone's expectations--including her own.

Can't wait to check it out, Tricia. What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Tricia: I'm currently working on a Maggie Bean sequel, in which Maggie's more comfortable in her skin than perhaps ever before, and deals with the ups and downs (in life and on the scale!) of her first post-skirted-swimsuit summer. There will be old friends, new friends, the careful balancing of both...and, of course, a boy or two.

Thanks again for sharing, Tricia! I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Tricia: Write to write. Write because you when you sit down and immerse yourself in the world you've created, you think the hours that fly by are hours well-spent. Write because you love your characters--for their flaws as much as their positive attributes--and because you think someone else might, too. Write because everything makes more sense when you do, and because you don't know what you'd do if you didn't.

Then revise.

And THEN think about whether you want to pursue publication.

Tricia Rayburn's first novel, THE MELTING OF MAGGIE BEAN, was just released by Aladdin/Simon and Schuster as one of the launch titles for MIX, a new line for 'tweens. MAGGIE BEAN STAYS AFLOAT, a sequel, will follow in Spring 2008. Tricia holds a BA from Middlebury College and an MFA from Long Island University. A recovering chocoholic who enjoys the occasional relapse, Tricia lives near the beach at the end of Long Island.

4 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Your novel sounds wonderful, Tricia! I'll add it to my To Be Read list.

And another great interview, Kelly.

stephhale said...

I'll second that, Tricia!


Kelly Parra said...

Glad you guys enjoyed the interview! :)

Tricia said...

Thanks so much, ladies!! And thank you again, Kelly, for inviting me to participate! :)