aka YA Literature

Friday, May 11, 2007

Interview with Julie Blattberg

Interview with Julie Blattberg, author of Backstage with Beth and Trina: A Scratch-and-Sniff Adventure

We here at A True Reality are very excited about our first author interview. Although all communication took place via email, I found Julie Blattberg to be very sweet and accommodating and her interview responses funny and interesting. You can find Sheryl's review of her book here. I would like to add that we got such a kick out of Backstage with Beth and Trina when it arrived at our library. We (meaning Sheryl and I) immediately passed it around to all our coworkers to see their reactions (especially to the page with the scratch-and-sniff condom). One of my coworkers loved it so much that she purchased it that same day! So thanks, Julie, for livening things up at the library. Without further ado, here is the interview:

You said in an earlier interview with Jeffrey Yamaguchi that you wanted to create a scratch-and-sniff book for grown-ups. Were adults your intended audience when you wrote this? Do you think adults would experience the book differently from teens?
Yes, I set out to create a cool book for adults—as opposed to children. It struck me as unfair that little kids have all the fun--like scratch-and-sniff books and stickers and glitter! So I started with the format, then; came up with the characters: two cool chicks whose quest would lead them backstage at a rock-and-roll show; and the story, which had to be funny.
If you’re an adult and you pick up Backstage with Beth and Trina, I’d hope that you’d have the same reaction as a young adult: “This book is really cool, but it is fiction--and I probably should not try that at home.” Some may look back a decade or more into their own pasts to see a bit of Beth and Trina in themselves--and some might look as far back as last weekend to see how much fun the culture (I think we can call it culture) of live rock shows can be.

How did you pick the names Beth and Trina?
Beth is named after a song by Kiss. Though I was never a huge Kiss fan, this particular ballad, “Beth,” is one that every classic rock aficionado just knows. If you haven't heard it--it's on their Destroyer album (and while you're there, check out "Detroit Rock City" and "Shout It Out Loud," too). With all due respect to all of the charming and lovely Trinas out there (and I know that there are some out there!), that name came to me when I pictured the semi-trashy girls from my high school days who wore lots of makeup and were a little loud and fast in everything they did. "Trina" struck me as a great groupie name.

Is Beth and Trina's experience really your idea of the "best night ever," or is it more tongue-in-cheek?
For me personally, yeah, it would be super-cool to hit a club with my bestest friend and, uh, "get to know" the hot, hot, hot lead signer of my favorite band. (But I wouldn’t want my night to include burning hair and alleyway vomit.)

What is your most memorable backstage experience?
Sharing drinks and stories backstage with INXS (many, many moons ago) and seeing a pair of tight black jeans with white skulls all over them approaching slowly from a distance. Before I saw his face, I knew that it had to be Michael Hutchence. He was so incredibly beautiful, I couldn’t breathe. Or standing 8 feet away from David Bowie. OMG! But then again maybe the most memorable time was at the 2000 Millennium party at MTV where I did kiss a very handsome (and very wasted) lead singer of a very great band (who probably does not remember). Let’s not tell the guy who brought me to the show, OK?

Have you experienced any backlash or objections to your book?
None at all. Even my mom thought it was pretty funny. And I was thrilled beyond when I learned that it was an ALA Quick Pick. But then I read your A True Reality post about your library system and was a little heartbroken. Books serve many functions in our world. Of course there’s education and inspiration, and literacy and fantasy, but entertainment is important, too, and getting a person to pick up a book, despite the all of the other distractions out there… Some folks might find the content “racy,” but Beth and Trina practice safe sex and they don’t drink and drive. What more can I say?

Do you plan on writing more books? Will they be similar to Backstage or do you want to explore other types of writing?
Absolutely! I've got a few book ideas percolating right now—fiction and nonfiction. Topics include: nerds, Shakespeare, rock icons, photography, and ghosts. They won’t all be scratch-and-sniff books, but they are all a little visual and a lot of fun. Some are for teens, some are for adults, and some are for kiddies.
And, of course, I’d like to publish more adventures with Beth and Trina! Oh, the places they’ll go…


Sheryl said...

Hey, nerds and Shakespeare - - - I can't wait!

Children's Librarian Extraordinaire said...

Forget John Green, I think Julie Blattberg is our new hottie YA author. Hmmm...maybe we should have "YA Author Hottie of the Month" contests! LOL

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