Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Interview with Carol Snow

Carol Snow is the author of SWITCH, and her newest book which will be out next week, August 25, SNAP! She is visiting us today with a wonderful interview. Enjoy!

What was your inspiration for SWITCH?

SWITCH was an “Aha!” kind of book. In the summer of 2006, my family spent a week in Carpinteria, California, a tiny, laid-back beach town about ten miles south of Santa Barbara. For the past couple of months, I’d been trying to come up with an idea for a teen book. One day, I was walking along the beach and thinking about the kinds of situations that I’d found compelling as a kid. Body switching came to mind. But who, I wondered, might a protagonist switch with? To my right was a rock wall; above the rocks were multi-million dollar houses. I wished I could go inside those houses. Why not let my character? Also, since every teenage girl wants to be beautiful, I decided to let my character see the world through the eyes of a knockout.
The first chapter poured out of me (if only writing were always that easy). During the week, I thought constantly about the plot and characters. I wrote a few chapters and made lots of notes. By the end of the week, I had the entire plot arc in my head (it took me about six months to write the first draft). I needed a name for my mythical beach town. I looked out the window of our rented condo and saw a street sign that said, “Sandyland Drive.” And so, I named the town Sandyland.

Is there a specific reason for the choice of a beach setting for SWITCH and SNAP?

For me, the beach has always been a magical kind of place. Time slows down, and the real world seems to disappear. Growing up, I spent all of my summers on Cape Cod. My family would drive up from New Jersey on the last day of school, and we wouldn’t return until Labor Day.
Sandyland, the setting for Switch and Snap, looks and feels a lot like Carpinteria, CA, but it is not meant to be that or any other real town. I wanted to create a place that was slightly mystical and unreal, where dead grandmothers raid the freezer, girls swap bodies, and strange figures appear in photographs. Also, I hoped to capture the universal aspect of sleepy beach towns, which share a similar spirit whether they’re in California, Massachusetts, or South Carolina.

In SWITCH, Claire’s spirit involuntarily switches into a different body. If you had a choice to switch into anyone’s body for a couple of days who would you choose?

I would never choose to switch into anyone’s body. I mean, come on: that’s creepy! But if I had to switch, I’d pick someone incredibly athletic and strong. I’ve always been small, slow, and weak – the exact opposite of Claire.

What is the most important message you want to convey to your readers through your books and writing?

Honestly, I never set out to convey any kind of message; I just want to tell a good story.

Where is your favorite place to write?

I can write anywhere that’s quiet and where I won’t be interrupted. Mostly, I write in my house while my children are in school. I despise the telephone because every time it rings it takes me at least twenty minutes to regain my concentration.

You write both adult and teen novels. Do you have a preference to which you enjoy more?

I like switching between the two; it keeps things interesting and lets me explore a broader range of characters and situations.

What do you think is the most important component of a story?

Plot! You can have fascinating characters and beautiful prose, but without a good story, why would you want to spend any time with them?

What are your hobbies?

For years, my main hobby was writing. Now that it’s my job, I need to find something new!

How do your hobbies and the things you love influence your writing?

Aside from writing, my longtime hobby is photography, which is the centerpiece of Snap. I also love the beach, food and cats. They all show up in my work.

What are some things your readers probably don’t know about you?

I not only write for teenagers – I have a teenage daughter (as well as a nine-year-old son). And guess what? She hates to read.

To see my review for SWITCH, click here. And I will be posting the review of SNAP tomorrow!

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