Full disclosure (which you would find out soon anyway): I know A. S. King, knew her as “Amy”, in fact, when she was the not-at-all-”twerpy little sister” of a friend of mine in high school, back in the town that is thinly disguised in Please Ignore Vera Dietz. Now, she is who I want to be when I grow up.
Knock Knock Pizza delivery. I’ve got one mushroom, onions and block olive with soy cheese here for the awesometastic Steph Wardrop…
A.S. King has not gone off her meds or her rocker. This is just a little bit of fun to promote her newest novel. (Official Rules here, if you’re the curious type.) A few weeks ago, my book Please Ignore Vera Dietz came out. It’s a pretty exciting time, but more exciting when you can traipse around to your friends’ blogs and answer some really interesting questions. And for those of you who came over here but have never heard of Steph before, let me introduce you: She is an awesome writer, one of the smartest people I know and a hip hip hip hip lady. When I was like twelve, she was a high school friend of my older sister, and she was the kind of person I wanted to grow up to be. I know. Vomit, right? But it’s true. So deal with it. Now on with the show.
SW: WHEN DID YOU KNOW YOU WERE GOING TO BE WRITER AND WAS THAT THE SAME TIME YOU DECIDED YOU WANTED TO BE A WRITER? IN OTHER WORDS, DID YOU HAVE THE DESIRE BEFORE YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD ACTUALLY MAKE THAT HAPPEN AND WAS THERE AN EVENT OR A MOMENT WHEN YOU RECOGNIZED “YEP, THIS IS MY DESTINY”? (DO YOU THINK ONE IS BORN A WRITER OR SOME PEOPLE JUST BECOME WRITERS, FOR WHATEVER VARIETY OF REASONS?)
ALSO, ISN’T IT CLEVER HOW I AM SNEAKING IN MORE THAN MY FAIR SHARE OF QUESTIONS? (I WOULD ALSO BE CURIOUS IF EXETER TWP, IN ANY WAY PREPARED OR ENCOURAGED YOUR LIFE AS A WRITER)
ASK: In order: I first wanted to be a writer when I was 14. I was standing in the lunch line in Jr. High (I know you can picture this…I was right outside the window that looked into the metal shop) and I’d been obsessively reading Paul Zindel books for a year at that point and I had this yellow legal tablet and I figured I would start writing a book “to help teenagers and their parents understand each other better.”
Which, coincidentally, is kinda what I do now.
I shared this I-want-to-write-books idea with an adult in my life who claimed that writers all have to work at newspapers. And that really bummed me out, man. I did not want to work at a newspaper. So, I gave up on the idea until I was out of the country a decade later. That time, I was voraciously reading about two books a day and after closing Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses I said, “I have to try this.”
I wrote three really horrible novels over the next two years. I did feel like it was my destiny, but at the same time, I pretty much knew that I was never going to get anywhere where I was (Ireland, broke, and sucking at writing novels.)
I have no idea if writers are born writers. The longer I write, the more I know I was born to do it.
And yes, I think it is very clever how you are fitting more than one question into the question.
YES YES YES where I grew up, Exeter township, is a HUGE influence on my writing. It’s probably wider than that. More like Berks County or even Pennsylvania as a whole. I write about characters from the area, I know them intimately because I’m from here. (Oh, hey, while we’re on the subject, let me be clear. NO REAL PEOPLE FROM BERKS COUNTY ARE IN MY BOOKS. NONE. ZERO. NADA.) After spending most of my adult life in Ireland, moving back to PA has really re-introduced me to the characters I was writing all along, and that was a HUGE change for me. A boost, even. And dude. I got to write the pagoda into a book. It talks. How cool is that?
As for preparation, I had a few really great teachers who I owe a lot to. I wasn’t a great student, but they didn’t seem to care. They were encouraging and kind and smart and they influenced me greatly.
(Photo credit: Matt Smith)
SW: WHAT IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST THING ABOUT BEING A PIZZA DELIVERY PERSON AND WHAT ARE ANY SURPRISING PERKS (BESIDES SMELLING LIKE PIZZA ALL THE TIME)?
ASK: I found getting lost was the absolute worst thing. I delivered pizza before GPS, handheld computers and cell phones. So, getting lost was a major drag. Also, assholes. Assholes suck in any job, though. But I figured I should give them a mention. Close seconds: smelling like grease and pepperonis, not liking pizza anymore after about a week, and having to wear a baseball cap.
The absolute best thing about pizza delivery was spending huge chunks of time in my car listening to loud music all by myself, smoking as many cigarettes as I wanted (boo! do not smoke cigarettes) and spending my tips on Twix bars and Kit-Kats. Not sure there was anything all that surprising. Though at the time, for me, the best things that came out of working at that pizza place were the beginnings of my love affairs with lettuce and Philip K. Dick.
SW: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE OPENING LINE FROM ANY BOOK, YA, ADULT NONFICTION — ANYTHING?
“To the as-yet unborn, to all innocent wisps of undifferentiated nothingness: Watch out for life.”
–Kurt Vonnegut, Deadeye Dick
Steph, asking for soy cheese was daring, which means you get a TRUTH OR DARE bonus question. (Yep–it’s just like truth or dare.)
SW: HOW DOES THIS WORK? DO I DEMAND THAT YOU CONFESS TO HAVING A MAJOR CRUSH ON MR. SHANK OR YOU MUST AGREE TO FILL THE ROBESONIA POOL WITH JELLO? HOW ABOUT TELLING THE TRUTH ABOUT A YA WRITER YOU THINK IS OVERRATED OR YOU HAVE TO EAT AS MANY OREOS AS YOU CAN IN A MINUTE?
Yes. You’ve got the gist of it. Um. No, I didn’t have a crush on Mr. Shank, BUT, I did give him and my favorite class with him, Modern Social Thought, a nod in Please Ignore Vera Dietz and I thought he was really boss. And sadly, I cannot fill the pool with Jell-O. And I sure as hell can’t talk about overrated YA books or writers. So, it looks like I’m eating the Oreos, which is completely possible in my house because Mr. King is an Oreo addict.
I think This calls for a vlog.
Thank you so much for having me around to you blog! Before I go, I hope you don’t mind if I tell your readers what the book is about!
SW: Sure thing, A. S. (Do I have to call you that now?) Vera Dietz is a great book, dear readers, even if her creator is a total wuss in the Oreo eating game. Come on, Amy — five? Five Oreos? And no crumbs?
is a Junior Library Guild selection for Fall 2010
18-year-old Vera’s spent her whole life secretly in love with her best friend, Charlie. And over the years she’s kept a lot of his secrets. Even after he betrayed her. Even after he ruined everything. So when Charlie dies in dark circumstances, Vera knows a lot more than anyone. Will she emerge and clear his name? Does she even want to?
“Brilliant. Funny. Really special.” –Ellen Hopkins, author of NYT bestselling Crank, Glass and Tricks
Next Stop on the Pizza Delivery Blog TBA on my blog at www.as-king.info