Author interview time.
Say hello to Yvonne Collins and Sandy Rideout.
Do you see yourself in any of your characters?
Yvonne: When I was a teenager, I was a lot like Kali in terms of relationships with guys, because I preferred the thrill of the chase to the routine of the catch! I was great with start-up, but whenever a relationship looked like it was going to take off, it wasn't long before I took off too. Luckily, I always managed to turn these guys into good friends.
I also identify with Syd's love of dogs and art, and much like Zahra, I can’t stand conflict in any relationships, romantic, or otherwise.
Sandy: I’m definitely most like Zahra, but I’d love to have Kali’s carefree confidence and Syd’s fierce independence.
Have you always wanted to be an author?
Yvonne: No, although I’ve always loved being creative. I began writing when I was looking for a non-fiction book for my nieces to answer their questions about relationships with boys, friends and family. When I couldn’t find a book with the right, light-hearted tone, I called Sandy and suggested we write one. That led to Totally Me: The Teenage Girl’s Survival Guide. It was a natural fit, since Sandy and I have spent our entire (very long) friendship talking about relationships with boys, friends and family.
Sandy: Yes, I’ve always wanted to be an author, but didn’t put enough work into writing until Yvonne suggested writing Totally Me. After that, I couldn’t wait to try fiction.
In one word, how would you describe your book? And why?
We’d sum up Love, Inc. with the word “Framily”: The book is about friendships that are as strong as family.
Zahra, Syd and Kali experience the breakdown of their own families, followed by deception and heartbreak in their romantic lives. This helps them appreciate how friends can support you through the tough times. They learn to celebrate their differences and leverage them to create a successful business. Together, they’re greater than the sum of their parts.
Would you ever consider using the services of Love, Inc?
Hell, yeah! We’d love to be able to call on Love, Inc. to tidy up a few relationship problems even today. But as teens, it would have been so great to have Syd teach some scoundrels a lesson. And it would have prevented a whole lot of heartache to have Kali set us up with the right kind of guy the next time around.
If you could be one of your characters for a day who would you like to be?
Yvonne: Syd, definitely. I’ve always played too much by the rules. It would be fun to let loose with some spray paint and leave behind some clever graffiti, a la Banksy. And if anyone gave me a hard time about it, I’d channel Syd’s ability to tell them exactly what I think of them!
Sandy: I’m a Syd wannabe, too. I grew up hearing, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” Syd isn’t constrained by nice-girl rules and she doesn’t let fear hold her back. I admire that in a character!
Did you find writing as a team difficult?
After 10 books, we’ve worked out the kinks in our writing method. The hardest part has always been shooting down ideas in a way that isn't hurtful. If you eavesdropped on us brainstorming at Starbucks, you’d hear the word “or” a lot. As in, “That could work. OR... we could try this.” The “or” is code for “your idea sucks,” but it’s a mutually understood technique for keeping things flowing. You can’t get too stuck on one idea when you’re working as a team.
What is the first novel that you can remember making an impact on you?
Yvonne: The entire Little House on the Prairie series. Laura Ingalls Wilder brought her experience to life so vividly. I still shudder thinking about the dark clouds of locusts that destroyed their crops one year.
Sandy: I read each and every book by L.M. Montgomery, and Emily of New Moon is the one that made me want to be a writer.
Check out loveincbook.com for more information!
My review for Love Inc can be found here