Wednesday, June 29, 2016

FFBC Blog Tour, Interview, & Giveaway: Change Places With Me (Lois Metzger)

Change Places with Me
by Lois Metzger
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy

Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.

Who is your favorite character in the book?

Clara, who appears about halfway through the book. Strange to say, it’s her unlikeableness that I like about her. Clara wouldn’t approve that I’m writing about her here. She doesn’t like to be noticed. She wears drab flannel shirts and overalls and keeps her bangs long so you can’t see her eyes. If you ask her a question, you might need to repeat it, because she’s so off in her own world she might not hear you. She had a best friend, Kim, when she was younger, but when we first meet Clara she has no friends. She calls her stepmother, Evelyn, “Evil Lynn,” which gives you a good idea of how Clara feels about her. If Clara ever put a slogan on a t-shirt, it might say: Leave Me Alone, which of course would defeat the purpose since that would call too much attention to her.

Which came first, the title or the novel?

Definitely the novel. Titles are tricky, and often it takes several rewrites of a book before the final title settles in. I always write my novels in three parts (beginning, middle, end), and each part has its own title. At one time or another, in the case of Change Places with Me, each of these mini-titles was the title for the whole book—“Forget-Me-Not,” “The Glass Coffin,” “You Are Here.” But after one critical scene that occurs about two-thirds of the way into the book, the line “Change places with me” stuck, and held.

What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?

At one point Clara agrees to let her old friend, Kim, put stage make-up on her; Kim is practicing for the school play. Kim makes Clara up as an old, scarred woman. When Clara sees herself in the mirror, the reflection has a profound effect on her. It’s like she’s seeing her future self or, more precisely, her present self, because that’s how she feels on the inside. I like this scene because it brings out the essence of Clara for the reader and for Clara herself.

Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

A piece of advice I got about writing: “There’s always a way.” Whenever you feel lost or hopeless about what you’re working on—and it happens way too often—it really helps to know that whatever you want to say, you can say because, no matter what forbidding thoughts you’re thinking at the moment, it can be said. 

What do you like most about the cover of the book?

I’m insane about the cover! I think it’s just perfect. My favorite part is the tendrils and leaves that swirl and reach and find their way off the cover and onto the flaps and the title pages. Also, when you take the cover off, there’s an imprint of a rose on the book itself. It’s beautiful.

Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Rose, who we meet at the very beginning of the book. Rose is happy, too happy; she feels like every day is like a gift you don’t need to unwrap. Usually this type of person would irritate me no end, so I had to find a way to make her tolerable. And it’s this: something is wrong and you sense it from the start. Rose’s happiness is illusory, and for me it was a fine line to walk, to make Rose interesting to the reader (despite her over-the-top happiness) and also make it clear that her happiness is built on a far less solid foundation that she thinks.

Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?

No hesitation with this answer—revising! My favorite part of writing is when something is nearly there; you just need to tweak and polish and cut what’s not necessary. Sometimes it’s when you think you’re almost finished that something huge comes out of nowhere and all kinds of things come together in ways you hadn’t seen. Then you have to go back through the entire book and prepare for it, and this makes the book more “all of a piece.” That’s the best, when that happens.

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Follow the Change Places With Me by Lois Metzger Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.

Lois Metzger was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of five novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.

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1 comment:

  1. I do love the cover! I want to read this because of the message behind this book. Plus I'm a huge fan of this author!