Bev Katz Rosenbaum pays me a visit and talks about her first young adult novel, “I Was a Teenage Popsicle”! Ready to take a trip ten years into the future? Let’s go!
Hi Bev! Nice to meet you! Could you introduce yourself to our readers?
Hey, readers. I’m Bev. I’m really excited about my first young adult novel that’s coming out in October. It’s called I Was a Teenage Popsicle, and it’s about Floe Ryan, a cryo-preserved Venice Beach teen who’s the first human to be ‘thawed’. She has to live with her younger, now older, sister, and you’d better believe payback’s a beyotch. There’s also a thriller type plot line, and a guy—of course.
Sooo, you’re a Sagittarius. People say they are impulsive, cheerful but blindly optimistic. Could you say you’re a typical Sag?
Hang on, I think my hubby’s fallen down on the floor, he’s laughing so hard. I am neither impulsive, cheerful, nor optimistic (especially not ‘blindly’ so!). I tend to weight options for hours, days, months, years, before making decisions, am usually extremely tart-tongued, and am decidedly cynical about the human race. So, no, I guess I’m not your typical Sag—though I hear they’re creative, which I am. Oh, and Sag’s sign is the Centaur, right? I like horses—does that count for anything?
If you had to describe yourself with three words…
Sensitive, compassionate (despite my cynicism and tart tongue), creative.
Let’s talk about your first novel, “I Was a Teenage Popsicle”. How did you get the idea?
My husband had been following the Ted Williams controversy, Ted Williams being the famous baseball player who said in his will he wanted to be cryo-preserved. One of his children wanted to honor the will, the other didn’t. This was going on at around the time I was starting to think about writing YA fiction, but I wanted to do something completely different, something nobody else had done. Aha! I thought—teen chick lit/sci-fi with a cryonics plot line!
Why this love for Popsicles? Which flavor is your favorite?
Here’s a little secret. I, um, don’t like popsicles. It was just a great title. Basically, I think any sugary treat that isn’t chocolate is a waste of a snack. If you count a Fudgsicle as a Popsicle, I’m there!
I heard there will be a sequel to “I Was a Teenage Popsicle”. Could you tell us more about it?
I’m really excited about the sequel, called Beyond cool, which is due to be released in August 2007. I’m still working on it, but I think in it, Floe, my heroine, who had to adjust to a whole new world and save the cryonics center from going under in Book I, will think, after all she’s been through, that dealing with normal teen problems (guys, school, learning to drive, etcetera) will be a cinch. Of course she will be proven very, very wrong. And yeah, there will be a thriller type plot line in this one, too.
You worked as an editor at Harlequin Books. Could you describe this work a bit? We want to know!
Well, we all worked in red satin nightgowns and snacked on bonbons all day… No, seriously, everything I learned about writing I learned at Harlequin. People have this misconception about romance writing—that it’s easy, trite, lacking in plot, etcetera. I’m here to tell you that the best of the genre (and since it’s so competitive these days, it’s all really good), are extremely well-written. The romance authors I worked with helped me learn how to properly research, structure and write a novel. Having said all that, I will admit that I laughed hysterically upon seeing some of the covers…
I read that back in elementary school you wrote short stories. So your love of writing started really early? How do you write? Do you have some tips?
Yes, I was an avid writer in grade school, but it never occurred to me that I could be a professional writer one day. It didn’t seem like something real people did. Saying you wanted to be a writer was like saying you wanted to be God or something. It wasn’t until I got a job at a publishing house (Harlequin) after obtaining a degree in language and literature, that I thought, Hmm, maybe I can do this. How do I write? I treat it like a regular job. I put my butt in my desk chair every single day and write until I have a good chunk done. If you want to be a writer, the best advice I can give you is…write! Don’t think about writing, don’t talk about writing…just write. You learn by doing. Practice makes perfect, and all that jazz.
I understood you’re into classics (Austen, Bronte, etc.). What do you like about them? Which one is your favorite?
Like everybody, I love Austen for the way she wrote about women and economics—a pretty serious subject—with such wit, grace and style. I love all her books, the heavier ones (like Mansfield Park) and the lighter ones (Emma) equally. There are only six books altogether, I think. She died very young. Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre is another fave. Jane’s story is so deliciously tragic and well drawn. Who can help but be caught up in it? This is one of those iconic stories; Jane is the ultimate tragic heroine.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: You’ve just found $100.00 in your pocket. How will you use that money!
Ah, but it does have to do with books because that’s what I’d spend the dough on!
“Tea or Coffee?”
Saturday night. Going out or reading a book ?Go out. I read so much, I have to get out now and then!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Beach. I like to hike, but not mountain climb. That’s a little too much work for a vacation.
Country or City ?I like to live in the city (preferably within 2 minutes of a Starbucks), but spend one week per summer in the country!
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?I like all different genres. As long as it’s interesting/entertaining, I’m there!
Shy or Easy-going ?Shy at first. Then easygoing.
Serious or Funny ?Both, depending on the circumstance.
Traveler or not ?I’d love to travel more than I do!
Sporty or not ?Um, not. But I love to dance. Does that count?
The leader or not?I’m the quiet observer nobody notices.
TV show: Gilmore Girls
Movie : Pride and Prejudice (the BBC version, though I didn’t mind the recent Hollywood version as much as I thought I would)
Book : Devil in the Details by Jennifer Traig. It’s a memoir about growing up with a rare form of obsessive-compulsive disorder that’s unbelievably touching and hysterically funny at the same time.
Music : Jazz, baby!
City : New York City (to visit—don’t think I’d wanna live there)
Favorite place to write: My cozy (i.e. small) home office, overlooking a postage stamp size but still lovely backyard filled with trees and squirrels.
Quote or motto : ‘We are all failures. At least, the best of us are.’ J.M. Barrie said that, and it’s what I tell myself when my editor rejects a new book idea.
You can visit Bev’s website http://www.bevkatzrosenbaum.com