Always funny and listening to Madonna, M. Apostolina is back and he tells everything ! The Truth about one of the most mysterious YA authors… and some hot news about his next books ! Ready?
Good morning, Veronika. Or is it evening where you are?
Hi, M.! Yes, evening already. So, ready to answer my questions?
Sure. I’ve never done an interview by IM before. This should be interesting!
Wow! An IM newbie! It won’t be long, we already talked a bit about you on the first interview, so now it will be very “Dark Cindy”!
Yes, that’s me. Cool.
So, now, be careful, I’m recording, everything you will say will be used against you
Uh. Ok, I stand warned! Thank God I’ve already had my espresso!
I was thinking about it and wondering if I should ask you about it or not
I can’t start my morning without it.
Talking about morning, could you tell us about your Type-Day? From the start…til the very end, to see how hard a writer works?
Sure. Usually I wake up by 7:30 on weekdays and generally go to an 8:30 yoga class Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Then it’s back to the apartment to begin writing…I usually write until about 1 o’clock, and go out for lunch. Usually about two hours and with friends. Then it’s back to writing until around 6:30 or 7 pm, depending on how good it’s going. Nothing too exotic!
So, authors are little bees
I guess so. Little worker bees.
I remember a type-day by Michele Jaffe, it’s the same thing : busy little bees
It’s really just about focusing on the work at hand – whatever that might be
Soooo, here is “Dark Cindy”, not too sad to put an end the “Cindy vs Meri” Trilogy?
I was very sad to finish it. I’m very much in love with the characters, but…
The trilogy felt like a natural conclusion. I don’t want to be one of those authors who extend a series unnaturally. Sometimes I feel like YA authors go on and on with a series purely for money. And I get it – we all like money – but I want to be true to my audience and my characters.
Even if your publisher asks you to find something because the readers can’t get enough of Meri and Cindy?
I’m not saying that another Cindy v. Meri book is out of the question – I’d like to continue with them – but creatively I feel I need a break. And please, Meri can’t possibly be done torturing Cindy. And I do leave the door open at the end of “Dark Cindy”…In “Dark Cindy,” Cindy comes to realize that in order to fight an evil person in great shoes, you’ve got to act – and dress – the part!
A fashion transformation, then, sounds cool
So she transforms herself. No longer will she be the “good girl.” To fight a bee, she’s going to sting like a bee. Oh, yes, a huge fashion transformation. But more importantly, a transformation in her mind.
Ok. Talking about surprises and little scandals, there was a juicy one some time ago. Do you remember?
Ha! That was me.
Want the readers to know the real you or let them discover by themselves?
To be honest, I never thought it would be a scandal. Several readers had emailed me at MySpace asking me to put my picture up…I was resistant at first, since I don’t think I photograph well – even writers are vain! – but I eventually posted my picture. And then – whoa! – all hell broke loose. Readers were shocked to discover that I was a guy!
That’s true that a man writing about sorority girls is kind of strange. You ask yourself how you can find ideas and know girl’s psychology!
Is it? Men write about women frequently, and vice-versa. I mean, Flaubert was a man, and he wrote Madame Bovery, right?
Well, right, another male author took the same example
But I think what surprised people in my case is the fact that the Meri v. Cindy books are written in first-person from Cindy – as her diary. Maybe that “directness” led people to assume that a woman was writing the books. But I take it as a compliment that people thought the writer was a woman. It must mean I did something right.
There is a question I wanted to ask you since I read “Meri Strikes Back”. How old are the girls you’re writing for? Do you have an age limit? Because let’s be frank, some of the talkings and scenes are really trashy
That’s a difficult question. When I wrote the first “Hazing Meri Sugarman,” I assumed the audience would be adults, so I didnt hold back anything. And then…when the book was bought by the teen division of “Simon & Schuster,” I assumed I’d have to tone things down – like the language, the sex. But I didn’t have to! So obviously, I knew who my target audience was when I write the next two, but…I decided not to tone anything down. I don’t want to talk down to teen readers, or dillute anything. So I just wrote what I really wanted to write. Which meant that I didn’t hold back on the sex! LOL.
Is “Dark Cindy” as direct as Meri Strikes Back?
More so, I think, because Cindy is really dealing with issues that relate to being herself – in her mind, sexually – in all aspects of her life.
Readers, you’re warned
Ha! And of course, there’s also the fact that, this time, you get to read Meri’s diary entries, as well, and of course, being Meri, things get a little kinky!
Warned twice (M.Apostolina flashes a big smiley smile)
So, you’re having a break with Meri and Cindy, but are you writing something else? Or are you coming back to the big screen?
I loved writing Meri’s diary entries. That was the most fun of “Dark Cindy.” Yes, I am.M. I’m completing a new novel called “Shake it Down,” and working on a television program.
Is it a secret or can we have a scoop? (the scoop, the scoop!)
Well, I usually don’t like to talk about a book until it’s almost about to be published, but…since it’s you….”Shake it Down” is a story about the conflict that develops between two Mexican sisters living in Texas. The older sister, who’s beholden to her Mexican roots, is a dancer, while her sister – who rejects the old ways and changes her hair from brown to blonde and wears blue contact lenses – is determined to be a rock star.
It is, very. Lots of action – and a huge surprise twist at the end!
And the television program? I know, I ask too much question, but that’s why I’m nicknamed Veronika asks.
This you may already know about. It’s called “Pussycat Hustle.” It’s a half-hour animated comedy about jewel thief lesbian cats!
Wow, I see you don’t seem to want to change your style
I like to try all different sorts of things, actually. “Shake it Down” is very different for me in a lt of ways. Very dramatic in part, suspenseful, and hopefully very realistic and surprising.
I heard a story about Walmart…
Oh yes. Ugh! I’m banned at Walmart! My Meri v. Cindy books are too racy for them! Which is kind of silly, I think. Even stranger, some book stores in the U.S. refuse to put me in the teen section, and instead put me in the adult section. But my readers find me!
Lol, you have so many fans…Over 8000 friends on MySpace…How do you do that?
If someone wants to be my friend, I always say yes, since they’ve usually gotten my site from the books. It’s fun to hear direct feedback from readers, which before MySpace, auhtors didn’t regularly get. As for the number of readers, that changes. It goes up, it goes down. It’s also fun to talk to people who want to be writers, which a lot of friends do, so I’m always there to offer advice.
Yep, I noticed you regularly post Writers for Young Writers blogs
Yes, and I’ve gotten terrific feedback from those. One reader said she learned more from my posts then she had in two years of creative writing classes, so that’s very nice. But I could NEVER teach! I would not have the patience!
There are so many groups for Romance and Teen writers…do you belong to one of them? Or do you have yours?
I’ve been invited to join many groups, though I don’t always have time to participate in them. Basically, I interact with readers directly on my MySpace page through comments, emails, andblogs. Whn I first joined MySpace, it was so overwhelming, it almost took time away from my writing! But “Meri” put a stop to that! Ha!
(Note for readers: M.Apostolina sends profile comments faster than anyone else)
It’s only polite.
And that ‘s cool
If someone takes the time to comment, I feel I should be kind enough to respond.
Well, now we talked about your news, your upcoming projects… do you have something you’d like to add?
Hmmm. I’m not sure, except that I love writing, and I’m looking forward to entertaining readers for MANY years to come. I can’t believe how much fun it is to do! Oh, by the way. Great, I’m sure the readers will love to spend time with your books for looong looong years
I may also be writing a middle-school series, so on that one I’ll have to tone down the sex and language. Ha!
Aw, aw, I remembered a question! Would you like to see Meri on screen?
I would, yes! That would be a lot of fun!
Have some suggestions for the cast?
It changes on a daily basis for me, but I’m open to any suggestions readers might have!!
Should do a contest like that
Who do you think would be a good Meri?
Hey, who is asking questions?
Well, let’s see… Rachel McAdams, why not
She’d be great, of course. She’s a very good actress.
To be frank, I’m more interested in discovering who’ll be Keith!
But I’m disappointed you’re not recommending a great French teen actress. Yes, perfect Keith. Ha!
A french teen actress? I didn’t really think about it
Sure, why not? I’m obsessed with Isabelle Huppert, by the way.
Ah, I knew it, so is Meri
She has to be the greatest living actress in all of cinema! Yes, Meri and I share that in common.
And gourmet food
Yes, yes! Hehe. I guess three’s more “Meri” in me than I’m willing to admit. Uh oh!
So, I think that I asked everything that might interest your readers, I’d better let you work, little Apostolina bee, to have a new great book by you on the shelves soon!
Thanks, Veronika. It was great talking to you. And so fun in this IM way!
That’s for sure. So, readers, run to the bookshop and pick “Dark Cindy”, it sounds really great!
Yeaaaa! But warning – read the first two in the series first. Otherwise you might get confused. Ok, time to make more espresso! Have a good night, Veronika.
Bye M., have a nice day and thanks for answering my questions
You’re welcome! Ciao!
You can visit M. Apostolina’s site http://www.mapostolina.com