Thursday, May 17, 2012

Author Interview: Lisa Burstein of Pretty Amy

Hello folks! Today I'm honored to have Lisa Burstein for an interview on B's Book Blog as a part of Pretty Amy blog tour! Pretty Amy is her debut book, and it's a really great one. You can check out my 4-star review on Pretty Amy here.

Without further ado, here goes the interview!

Best: Hello, Lisa! I'm glad to have a chance to interview you. I really like your debut book, Pretty Amy. May I ask what inspired you to write such a great book? 
Lisa: I write YA because I felt like I still had all these things to say from when I was a teenager that I never got a chance to say. I also feel like teens need books in a way adults don't. At least I know I did, I looked to books to help me make sense of what I was feeling. I guess I hope teens will use PRETTY AMY in the same way. In terms of a book that influenced in the writing of PRETTY AMY, I would have to say Catcher in the Rye. Not that I would even compare PRETTY AMY to the masterpiece that is Catcher in the Rye, but I wanted to write a book about a girl that *might* be a modern, funnier Holden Caufield. I was arrested during my senior year of high school, not for the same reason Amy was, but that was where the kernel came from. I also knew I wanted to write a "shocking" book from a teenage girl's point of view. I feel like you can get away with your character being a murderer, or a jerk, or just a smart ass more easily if your book isn't contemporary and I wanted to try to break that mold with PRETTY AMY. I also wanted to write a contemporary YA book that was about what real teens go through. I feel like teenage girl's lives are complex and I hoped to show that in PRETTY AMY.
Best: It's stated in the "About the author" part of the book that you didn't go to your prom. Why? Do you regret not going? (I didn't go to mine either because I didn't feel like going, and I don't regret a thing!) 
Lisa: No one asked me, sad right? I do wish someone did ask me, I would have loved to go to prom. I don't regret not going, but I think I would have had a great time.
Best: Do you read readers' reviews on Pretty Amy? Do you think you'd be bothered by negative reviews? (Hypothetically speaking, because right now I haven't seen any yet! :-)) 
Lisa: I do read reviews, but I am thinking of stopping. It is great to see when someone loves and is touched by your book, but when you see the opposite, which is bound to happen because not everyone can love everything, it hurts. A lot. I am not able to separate myself from the book in the way I need to, to not be when I read them.
Best: What is your favorite book and why? 
Lisa: A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. It is so smart, so compelling. Dystopian before dystopian was cool.
Best: Now, the last question. What question(s) is most asked so far on the tour, and what question(s) are you most fond of answering in interviews? 
Lisa: It is the same, what do you hope your readers will take away from reading PRETTY AMY? The answer is: I was a lot like Amy. Just like her I had such a desire to belong, to fit in, to have people who understood me. I wanted that so badly and I guess I never felt like adults understood that. It was most of the reason I wrote PRETTY AMY. If I'd had it when I was in high school I feel like I would have been able to understand my feelings better. I wouldn't have felt so alone. That feeling was something I never admitted to anyone, not even my friends and I want to let teens know it's okay to feel lonely even surrounded by friends and family.
Thank you so much Lisa Burstein for joining us on the blog and for this lovely interview! 

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein

Amy is fine living in the shadows of beautiful Lila and uber-cool Cassie, because at least she’s somewhat beautiful and uber-cool by association. But when their dates stand them up for prom, and the girls take matters into their own hands—earning them a night in jail outfitted in satin, stilettos, and Spanx—Amy discovers even a prom spent in handcuffs might be better than the humiliating “rehabilitation techniques” now filling up her summer. Worse, with Lila and Cassie parentally banned, Amy feels like she has nothing—like she is nothing. 

Navigating unlikely alliances with her new coworker, two very different boys, and possibly even her parents, Amy struggles to decide if it’s worth being a best friend when it makes you a public enemy. Bringing readers along on an often hilarious and heartwarming journey, Amy finds that maybe getting a life only happens once you think your life is over.

About Lisa Burstein 

Lisa Burstein is a tea seller by day and a writer by night. She received her MFA in Creative Writing from the Inland Northwest Center for Writers at Eastern Washington University and is glad to finally have it be worth more than the paper it was printed on. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her very patient husband, a neurotic dog and two cats. Pretty Amy is her first novel. She never went to her senior prom. She wrote her first story when she was in second grade. It was a Thanksgiving tale from the point of view of the turkey from freezer to oven to plate. It was scandalous. 

She was a lot like Amy when she was in high school.

She is still a lot like Amy

You can find Lisa here: Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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