What's Fresh with Kim Flores's Gamma Glamma
With one fateful science project, Luz Santos risks losing her best friend, her crush, and her reputation on national TV . . .
Tres unpopular students plus . . .
My freshman year at Gamma High was totally going perfecto until I was summoned to enter the regional science competition, which is taking place the same weekend as the Homecoming Dance-the same dance where I was going to get Swen, the guy I'm hopelessly in love with, to notice me. This calls for major damage control. My plan? Devise a scientific experiment that will be so outrageous it'll knock me out of the competition and onto the dance floor.
Tres brilliant makeovers . . .
Enter Project Gamma Glamma to the rescue! My experiment will help three unknowns climb up the Gamma High popularity food chain by giving them the ultimate makeovers. But instead of eliminating me from the competition, my teacher actually loves mi loco idea.
Equals one recipe for disaster . . .
Gamma Glamma is a tragic hit, turning my closest amigos overnight into the most popular kids at school but making mi vida a toxic chemical reaction: my best friend is now too cool to talk to me; my biggest enemy is moving in for the social kill; and my reputation stands to be obliterated on TV's hottest reality show. Now I've got to set things right. But can I make the scientifically impossible happen twice?
Hello Kim, it's great to chat with you! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?
Kim: My background is a little unusual. I started making stories and films when I was ten. In high school, I did a lot of theater productions and wrote for things like the annual staff and newsletters for the clubs I was in.
After graduation, I attended college and I thought about pursuing a degree in theater and/journalism. But when I took my first film class, I was hooked.
I’ve worked in the film industry for quite a while and I’ve directed and written short films and even a feature film with my partner Mike. Today, we still direct commercials together and he’s also a brilliant director of photography.
Our feature film that we produced ourselves helped open all kinds of doors and opportunities for us. One of them was to pitch shows to television networks. Gamma Glamma was one such show but at the time, the network wanted to look at another show I had presented and passed on it.
At the same time, I met my brother’s friend who happened to be a literary agent in NYC. He asked me what I was doing in town and I told him about Gamma Glamma. He then asked me if I could turn my show into a book. Since I had written films before, I was like, why not? After six months, I had a novel. I had lived with all these characters for a year so I knew them very well. Plus, I used all my potential TV episodes and combined them to form a story.
I was very fortunate to generate interest and I sold my book to Kensington Books. Right now the plan is for Gamma Glamma to be a series of books.
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.
Kim: It’s funny, because I didn’t know what was expected of me when I started writing a book. I was quite green and I still consider myself a student of the literary world (and the rest of the world, come to think of it!)
I didn’t know how many pages you were supposed to write in a day and so I looked up an author that I liked and I Googled her. In an interview she said that she wrote 10-20 pages a day.
So, I was like, “Oh, I guess that’s how much normal people write”. So that’s what I did and still do. I write really fast because of my background in film, I see the story like a movie. And because I can’t Tivo my brain, I write fast so that I don’t forget anything.
Now, here comes the disclaimer - it doesn’t mean that all of my writing is fabulous at that point. But for me, I just have to spill the story out of my brain so I can look at the big picture and then go back and rewrite.
After the first 100 pages or so, I give it to Mike, my better half. He reads it and gives me brutal honesty. (His critiques are the equivalent of being broken up with times a million!) After I wake up from my coma/pity party, then I hit the keyboard again and start re-writing.
I usually write from home and make sure my office is all Feng Shui and light a candle (not because I’m strange and artsy but my three stinky dogs like to be in the room with me) - then I can start. But if I need a change of location, then I head to my nearest Border’s and nab my favorite section that houses an electrical outlet.
I am quite fond of this Borders because there are lots of medical students that study there and it feels like study hall (in a good way, that is - if you LIKE to study.)
When I am writing, I usually listen to music without lyrics. Sometimes if I am writing a tough scene, I will listen to songs that do have lyrics if it fits that scene. It’s the same as scoring music to a movie.
Other things I do which I don’t know if other writers do or not, is dress like some of my characters –but mostly my main ones. It could be a t-shirt, a ring, a hair thingy. This probably comes from my acting days.
However when I am rewriting, it’s a whole different world and experience. I stay at home and I read out loud at my desk or at my kitchen (where the acoustics are better). I supposed I could read aloud at Borders but the medical students would probably clobber me with their medical books. And they are HUGE and FAT. Not the medical students but their books.
haha! Please tell us about your novel GAMMA GLAMMA and what we can expect from your characters.
Kim: My first novel is GAMMA GLAMMA. It’s from Kensington Books and was released in February.
It’s about two girls - one named Luz Santos and her best friend Bridget Joiner. They have just started their first year at Gamma High - a magnet school with a special science cluster - because they’re both really gifted in science.
Trouble starts when Luz is summoned by her teacher to participate in a science competition that could take her to the regional contest.
Normally she would be flattered by this kind of attention, especially as a freshman, but she’s afraid that if she wins, she would have to attend Regionals - and she would miss the Homecoming dance which is the biggest social event of the year.
Then she discovers that Homecoming is going to be extra special this year as it’s now going to be televised nationally on a reality show called High School Rules.
Luz brainstorms what she thinks will be a ridiculous project to transform 3 social unknowns and propel them up the Gamma High popularity chain. And she’s certain that her science teacher won’t go through with it. But when he does, Luz now risks losing her best friend, crush, and reputation all on national tv.
Expect fashion, friction, friendship and fun with Gamma Glamma.
Fun! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.
Kim: I am now working on rewrites on my second novel called American Twirl. It’s a much darker book because it explores some difficult teen issues that I dealt with myself. But like Gamma Glamma it always comes down to a focus on friends and family and the heart of what is most important to us in life.
Next I’ll start working on another Gamma Glamma book while working on some TV pitches for a May/June trip to NY with Mike.
Thanks so much for joining us, Kim! Would you like to close with a writing tip?
Kim: There is no right way to write a book. You know yourself better than anyone. So, my tip is to make it fun. If all you write is a paragraph that day (and I have those days, too) then celebrate that paragraph by taking a walk or soaking in a bubble bath.
Don’t worry about getting stuck. Your subconscious mind can still be working on the story while you’re doing other things like cleaning your room, playing with your dog or whatever.
Learn to be your own cheerleader and always, and I mean ALWAYS carry a pad of paper and a pen with you. Because you never know when an idea is going to say, “Howdy” to you.
I carry a spiral and pens with purple ink. And stickers.
An award-winning filmmaker and producer, Kim Flores wrote and co-directed the film Vocessitas/Little Voices, which went on to win an ALMA (American Latino Media Arts Award) for best independent film and played in virtually every Latin film festival in the country. She directs commercials and projects for such companies as Nickelodeon, Time Warner, Dr. Pepper, Midway Games and Mountain Dew, and develops television shows through her production company. Kim and her and her lifelong crush Mike spend time between New York City and Dallas writing, pitching, taking pictures, crafting designer toys and hanging out with their rescued dogs, Rabbit, Shortie and Nelson AKA Waggles. Gamma Glamma is her first novel. Visit her at www.kimflores.com or www.myspace.com/thekimflores.