Thursday, June 6, 2013

0 Character Bucket List: Nora from How (Not) to Find a Boyfriend by Allyson Valentine

As a writer I am constantly evaluating my characters’ wants versus their needs. Yes, she wants to have the highest Popularity Quotient possible, but what she needs is to come to terms with why she feels so inadequate. Then, my job is to track the arcs of want versus need and make sure that each rises and falls in correlation with the other, and in a believable way that will satisfy the reader. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to create a Bucket List for Nora! It allows me to step away from the page and wonder about her wants without attachment and without wondering how I as a writer am going to make them happen.

So, Nora. What’s in your Bucket List?

I’m going to make enough money that I can have a freezer at home stocked with a never ending supply of Molly Moon’s ice cream. Theo’s Coconut Kiss for me, Earl Grey for Adam and some Vivace coffee (with a side of fudge sauce) for Krista.

If Chelsey gets into Louisville I’m going go there at least once to watch her cheer.

After high school Krista and I are going to London to spend an entire day in the cosmetics department at Harrods giving ourselves fabulous makeovers.

I want to take my little brother Joshie to the Woodland Park Zoo this summer to see their bug collection and then surprise him with tickets to Zoo Tunes afterwards. Adam will have already settled in with a blanket and a picnic dinner and we’ll snuggle in close as the night air turns cool and Adam will lean in and—oh wait, we’ll have Joshie with us. Never mind.

The Teapot and I have made a pact that when she gets a role in a Broadway play Adam and I will buy front row seats to opening night. I’ll wear something that says “stylish yet understated” and Adam will be blown away by my sophistication and grace.

I don’t know when, but one of these days I am going to show up on my dad’s doorstep in Boston and challenge him to a game of chess. I wonder who is going to win?



About the Book

Sophomore Nora Fulbright is the most talented and popular new cheerleader on the Riverbend High cheer squad. Never mind that she used to be queen of the nerds—a chess prodigy who answered every question first, aced every test and repelled friends at every turn—because this year, Nora is determined to fully transition from social pupa to full blown butterfly, even if it means dumbing down her entire schedule. But when funny, sweet and very cute Adam moves to town and steals Nora’s heart with his untra-smarts and illegally cute dimple, Nora has a problem. How can she prove to him that she’s not a complete airhead?

Nora devises a seemingly simple plan to barter her way into Adam’s classes that involves her classmates, friends—and her older brother Phil’s award-winning AP history paper. But soon, Nora can barely keep track of her trades, and struggles to stay in control of her image.

In the end, the only thing that can save Nora is a chess tournament—that she has to compete in wearing her cheerleading uniform. Can she prove to everyone that she can be both a butterfly and a nerd?

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About the Author

Allyson Valentine is a writer! And a mom. And a wife. She cooks meals, romps with the dog, cleans cat barf off the carpet. She has brown hair and brown eyes and usually wears glasses because contacts make her eyeballs itch.

She worked doing technology stuff but when her kids came along she found herself telling stories. All the time. She started wondering what the difference was between oral and written storytelling, and began taking writing classes. She published in kids magazines. She published non-fiction books. She kept taking writing classes. She did a certificate program at the University of Washington. She completed a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Writing for Children and Young Adults at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. And she started writing novels.

For Allyson, writing is therapy. When the world is crashing at her feet she can sit with her laptop or her journal and go away to a world where things are better, or at least different. And when her own world feels mundane, her writing brings her to a place where there's WAY more fun going on. When life is a heaping bowl of red-ripe cherries, writing brings her a profound sense of peace and accomplishment. Even if what she's just written turns out, upon later reflection, to totally stink. The joy is in the act of writing.

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