Wednesday, February 17, 2010

An Interview with Kristin Walker

Kristin Walker is the hilarious author of the recently released A Match Made in High School. My review will be up tomorrow, but let me just say that I loved it and laughed throughout the whole thing.

Here's a description straight from goodreads, in case you need it:

When the principal announces that every senior must participate in a mandatory year-long Marriage Education program, Fiona Sheehan believes that her life can’t get any worse. Then she marries her “husband”: Jerky jock Todd, whose cheerleader girlfriend, Amanda, has had it in for Fiona since day one of second grade. Even worse? Amanda is paired with Fiona’s long-term crush, Gabe. At least Fiona is doing better than her best friend, Marcie, who is paired up with the very quiet, very mysterious Johnny Mercer. Pranks, fights, misunderstandings, and reconciliations ensue in an almost Shakespearean comedy of errors about mistaken first impressions, convoluted coupling, and hidden crushes.


And here's the awesome interview:

1) Your book is HILARIO. Was there ever a time where there were unfunny things in the book? How did you decide what was funny and what was just lame so you could get rid of the lame stuff?

First of all, I'd like to officially lay claim to having coined the word "hilario." I only have rock-solid proof back to July 2008, but I know it was earlier, and I'm sure it was me. I remember distinctly being too lazy to finish the whole word. But I can't imagine how it spread. Hold on, I did use it in an email to Mandy Hubbard around that time, and we all know how that girl can talk. Luckily, most of what she says is super-smart though, so when she talks, I generally take notes. Of course there's always the chance I accidentally stole hilario through cryptomnesia, which apparently is a real thing. Who knew?

And B. Sure, there were many times un-funny things were happening. Some of them needed to happen, lots of them got the axe. The one thing I never did was sacrifice a joke, though. If I thought there was anything mildly amusing about a passage, I did everything I could to "make it work." *bows in silent reverence to Tim Gunn*

Actually, I think some jokey bits did get cut in the first revision I did for Razorbill, but I made up more. And I can always recycle the scraps of funny.

2) How did you come up with the genius pranks in the book? Are you some sort of evil mastermind?

Yes, well, I am a genius and a mastermind, thank you for noticing. Did my giant, bulbous forehead give me away?

Okay, no. You know what's great about writing, though? You can take like three days to think up the best come-back for someone and then bam! put it in the scene like it was a spontaneous burst of brilliance. You never have to say, Oh man, I wish I'd thought to say that! Your adversary will politely wait as long as it takes for you to pen the perfect zinger and rip him back.

3) Did you have some awful fake-marriage experience in high school that inspired this book, or was it something you heard about and wanted to write about?

No, no experience in high school like that. The idea came to me and I said, well I know a bit about marriage, being married and all. So I went online and searched to see if marriage education is even a thing, and guess what? It IS. There are programs schools can buy. But I made all the "Trying the Knot" stuff up.

4) What would you hate the most about being fake-married to someone?

Definitely the doing things together outside of school, like a job or an activity. When the familiar, shared environment of school isn't there, things get really weird.

5) My favorite scenes to read were the ones with both Todd and Fiona involved because hilarious shenanigans would always ensue. What were your favorite scenes to write and why?

I loved working on the dance scene. It took me a long time to come up with that prank. In fact, I think it started out as something not quite as humiliating, but it got ratcheted up a few notches in later drafts. I would never, ever have had the cojones to do what Fiona did, though. So it was really fun to make her do it!


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