M. Apostolina tells us more about “Hazing Meri Sugarman”, “Meri Strikes Back” and “Dark Cindy” in a hilarous interview! Enjoy!
How would you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hi everyone! Hope you’re all having a great day!
Pisces are known for being sensitive, intuitive and idealistic. Are you a typical Fish?
Yes, and no. I can be sensitive, intuitive and idealistic when I’m writing – especially when I get pulled into the lives of my characters – but in my “normal” day-to-day life, Im more cut-and-dry. In other words, typical Pisces people, as I understand it, might stand you up for a lunch date because they spaced out or something. I would never do that.
If you could describe yourself with three words…
Optimistic, empathetic, focused.
Now tell us more about “Hazing Meri Sugarman” and the sequel, “Meri Strikes Back”… and about “Dark Cindy”, too!
They’re dark comedies about Cindy Bixby, an innocent girl who joins a sorority and has no idea that the house president, the beautiful Meri Sugarman, is really a diabolical psychopath. Uh oh! They’re fun. The first in the series, “Hazing Meri Sugarman, introduces us to the struggle between good-girl Cindy and bad-girl Meri, while Meri Strikes Back and Dark Cindy chart Cindys increasingly difficult attempts to stay one step ahead of Meri, and more importantly, to find her own sense of self worth.
Why should we read your books?
They’re fun! (I hope), and suspenseful, too, since you never know what Meris going to pull.
I wanted to do a coming-of-age story, and the best way to do that, in my mind, was to put the main character in a very tense, pressure-cooker situation and milieu, which would therefore bring the main characters issues to the surface faster. From that point, I began researching sororities, and it seemed a perfect match of content with theme for my purposes.
Younger, were you a Cindy or a Meri?
Ha! You think Im going to answer that one? Well, okay, Id have to say that I was more like Cindy, but then in a lot of ways, Im still like Cindy. Im still surprised when people behave in an openly nasty way. On the other hand, theres quite a bit of Meri in me, too. I share Meris love for Isabelle Huppert, for example, as well as her appreciation of gourmet food.
You’re also a screenwriter. Is it easier to write a book or a screenplay?
The differences are mainly technical. Ultimately, a good, solid story that grips an audience requires the same skills, whether its for TV, film or for a novel.
How did you get “Hazing Meri Sugarman” published?
It took quite a bit of time, but ultimately I was lucky. Most publishers were not interested in the novel at all; they found the satirical tone, over-the-top humor, and dark undertones troubling. But Simon & Schuster understood it, thank goodness. And the positive response from readers has been wonderful!
How do you work, in general? Where, when, how…
I work at home on my computer every weekday, and some Saturdays, from 9 am to 6 pm. I cant work at cafes like some writers do. Its just too distracting for me.
What about the “after-Meri”?
Yes, I do, though I dont generally like to talk about works-in-progress, mainly because they can change so radically as Im writing them.
I read on your MySpace profile that you were looking for the perfect expresso… what?
I love a good espresso, but as the years go on, it seems like cafes dont know how to make them properly anymore. Even in Paris, where I lived for three years, it was hard to get a really good espresso. Blame it on Starbucks, I guess!
And now, the nothing-to-do-with-books question : You’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money?
Buy books and CDs!
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ? Go out. I read so much during the week.
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ? The beach!
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ? Either one, if theyre good. I dont really care about genre. I just want to see a good movie.
Leader or Follower? Both. It depends on the circumstance.
Shy or Easy-going ? I can be shy and reserved when I first meet someone, but once I get to know you, Im pretty easygoing.
Country or City ? City. I like taking two steps outside and having the world at my feet.
Serious or Funny ? Both!
Traveler or not? I love to travel. I especially love to travel somewhere and live there for awhile and really get to know the people and the place. Im hoping to do that in Italy next. I just wish I were better at learning languages.
Sporty or Couch Potato? Yoga is about as sporty as I get lately, though I love to ski.
TV Show: currently, American Idol. Its very silly and relaxing.
Movie: too many to list, but I love the work of Brian DePalma, Michael Haneke, and David O. Russell.
Book: also way too many to list, but my current favorite is Truth & Beauty by Ann Patchett.
City: New York City
Music: I love all kinds of music!
Place to write: in my apartment, wherever Im living at the time.
Motto: Just throw it up on the page and clean it up later.
Thank you, M.!
You can visit M. Apostolina’s site http://www.mapostolina.com