Carolyn Mackler is the author of highly sought after titles such as Vegan, Virgin, Valentine, Guy-a-holic, The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things, just to name a few. In the month of February celebrates the release of Carolyn’s new book, Tangled. It’s our Book of the Month for February and as part of our monthly promotion, Carolyn answered a few of our questions for your reading pleasure. Enjoy! I should probably warn you folks, there are some spoilery type moments throughout the interview.
Firstly, I just want to say congratulations on Tangled. It’s an excellent book and I really enjoyed reading it.
CM Thank you!! I really enjoyed writing it.
With that in mind, I thought we’d get straight into some questions about the story itself…
Skye is one of those fortunate people that seem to have everything: the beginnings of fame, money, respect from those around her, yet it is obvious from the onset of her story that she suffers quite badly from depression. Was it a conscious decision of yours to write Skye in as the depressed character, or did she just come out that way?
CM: As I got to know Skye, though the course of writing Jena’s story and then her own story, I realized she was suffering from depression. But it’s not obvious – I had a dig a little deeper into her to figure that out.
Depression is a serious mental health issue that often goes unnoticed or is confused as teen angst. If there is one thing that you wanted readers to take from Skye’s story, what would that be?
CM: Get help. Tell someone. Get help. You are not alone in depression, and never should be.
Archetypes like Jena show up in your stories often. Although both Dakota and Owen label her as hot, Jena doesn’t think of herself that way. Why do you think so many teenagers, like Jena, have serious self-esteem issues?
CM: Because the world often tells us we’re not right the way we are – billboards, movies, shows, videos – and we internalize those messages, those images of what beauty is. And it’s so not true! Beauty comes in all different shapes, sizes, and hair colors.
How did you find writing Owen and Dakota’s respective points-of-view? I’m always interested in authors who tap into the minds of the opposite gender…
CM: Loved it! It was a refreshing break after writing about girls, to see how a guy thinks and sees the world.
Jena is much more confident in her pursuit of Owen than she was with Dakota. What exactly changed in her for this to happen?
CM: Hmmmm….she got her heart broken by Dakota and became stronger because of it, learned that taking risks is a good thing. Also, once her beloved grandmother had a stroke, Jena decided to believe her grandma’s wise words that she is, in fact, luscious!
The tone of Tangled is much darker than most of your previous novels. Did you set out with the intention to write something edgier, or did it just happen that way?
CM: It just happened that way as the story evolved in my head.
Whose story came to you first, Jena, Dakota, Owen, or Skye’s?
CM: I knew it was four from the beginning – though at first the second guy character, Owen, was going to be a friend of Dakota’s. Then I decided a brother would be much more interesting.
Do you have any quirky writing rituals or habits?
CM I wish! With a five-year-old and an infant (both in the background right now), I just want TIME to write these days. And coffee.
What is in your To-Be-Read pile right now?
Going Bovine, Punkzilla, American Born Chinese, and a book I’ve been asked to blurb. Oh, and Goodnight Moon for the baby. And Harry Potter for my kindergartener. Time! I want time to read/write/sleep right now.
Do you have an all time fave novel?
About a million. Seriously. Check out my website www.carolynmackler.com for a list of my favourite authors.