What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?
The hardest scene to write was Eva’s goodbye to her campers. I had no idea how to write it, where to set it, and the depth of the emotion necessary. I knew I wanted readers to feel it, and Eva had to feel it, but I tend to shy away from truly overt, sappy moments. It had to ride the line of being moving but not cloying. I’m proud of the scene for sure, but really I’m most proud of the last few pages, as those are always the strangest and most terrifying to write.
What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?
Girl, by Blake Nelson. The Basic Eight, by Daniel Handler.
How long did you work on DON'T EVER CHANGE?
It started out as a collection of stories that I wrote a few years ago. They were just personal writing exercises that I never imagined I’d revisit. Once I dipped back in, it was about a year until completion, but only after reworking, re-ordering, expanding, altering, and on.
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
Eva is my forever writing voodoo doll. I created her to work out my own problems with writing – that obsessive desire to be super epic and memorable and unique and yet still write from a personal place that’s soulful to my own experience. She was a perfect creation to exorcise the pretentious demons and the judgmental demons and the overly critical demons. Also she makes me laugh at myself, which helps.
What do you hope readers will take away from DON'T EVER CHANGE?
I just want Eva to connect with readers who aren’t solely searching for a protagonist that saves lives, saves the world, fights the paranormal, dies of harsh diseases, etc. She’s just an actual flawed, arrogant, funny weirdo, and I hope there’s a place for her among the current YA heroines.
How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?
The writing, the editing, the killing of darlings and taking of constructive criticisms is always long and hard, but my agent, Ann Behar, is incredible and she fought for my first novel, Drain You, until she got a yes. And there were No’s for sure. This is my second book, and there’s absolutely a full novel cozy on my laptop that no one’s seen.
Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?
I still don’t know what the key to writing a novel is. Some of my favorite writers wander and poke around and it’s incredible. They can be so competent while seeming aimless; that’s what I aspire to cultivate in my style. But mostly I’m a minimalist and I use descriptive language sparingly. So my AHA moment comes when I’ve omitted all my needless words and paragraphs and I’ve gotten to the rightest, tightest bits.
What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?
I can’t listen to a single sound or look at a single thing other than the blank page, and that includes the internet, my phone, my boyfriend, my lunch. I sit completely still and try not to even pee! I can’t be in public at all because I have to talk out loud to myself and sometimes pace. I wake up, sit at my desk, thumb through my beat-up thesaurus and go until I need a tiny bit of food or a nap, then get back at it until dinner.
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
Don’t take yourself too seriously while writing. Laugh at your own words, see the funny in the sad, be touched by cleverness and wit. And always start in the middle.
What are you working on now?
My first feature film, LADYWORLD, set to shoot this August in Los Angeles.
ABOUT THE BOOKDon't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom
Sometimes the only way to learn about yourself is to try to change everything about you.
Eva has always wanted to write a modern classic—one that actually appeals to her generation. The only problem is that she’s starting to realize she can’t “write what she knows” because she hasn’t really lived. So the summer before heading off to college, Eva is determined to live a life worth writing about.
But soon Eva’s story starts to go in unexpected directions, like growing apart from her best friends, working at a job she is completely unqualified for, and even falling for the last person she would have ever imagined. Like anyone, though, it will be up to Eva to figure out how she wants this particular chapter in her story to end.
Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell, Don’t Ever Change is a witty, snarky, and thought-provoking coming-of-age novel about a teen who sets out to write better fiction and, ultimately, discovers the truth about herself.
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ABOUT THE AUTHORM. Beth Bloom is a novelist and a screenwriter. Her fiction has appeared in StoryQuarterly and Dave Eggers's Best American Nonrequired Reading series. She is also the author of Drain You. M. Beth lives in Los Angeles.
What did you think of our interview with M. Beth Bloom, author of DON'T EVER CHANGE? Let us know in the comments!
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