Thursday, June 21, 2018

0 Demetra Brodsky, author of DIVE SMACK, on a puppy starting off her life as a storyteller

We're excited to have Demetra Brodsky join us to share more about her debut novel, DIVE SMACK.

Demetra, 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 title scene is Dive Smack was hard to write but also the most fun. When a diver hits the water going 35 MPH there is definitely a lot of pain involved, but how that scene unfolds from that moment is one of my absolute favorites. I'd tell you more but there are too many spoilers.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Anything by E. Lockhart, Stephanie Keuhn, Megan Abbot, Jennifer McMahon, or Chris Crutcher

How long did you work on DIVE SMACK?

I started writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK in December of 2011. I was following a lot of different blogs run by agents and decided to go to THE BIG SUR writing workshop run by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I workshopped my early pages and went back home and revised the whole book. I finished writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK April 10 2012. I’ve probably written 20 drafts of DIVE SMACK and easily received over a hundred rejections from agents and editors combined. I guess that makes my journey with Dive Smack seven years long. We've been through quite a lot together, Theo Mackey and I.

What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?

I found I could scare myself. My mind is a dark place.

What do you hope readers will take away from DIVE SMACK?

I want readers remember to trust their gut. If something feels off, it's probably off. That gut reaction is a survival tool. Don't ignore it.

How long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before this one, and how many never got published?

I started writing the first draft of DIVE SMACK in December 2011. I was following a lot of different blogs run by agents like Jenny Bent, and at one point decided to go to THE BIG SUR writing workshop run by the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. I worked on my early pages there then wrote and revised the full first draft when I got home. I finished that first draft on April 10, 2012, four months later. I’ve written 20 or more drafts of DIVE SMACK and easily received close to a hundred rejections from agents and editors combined. I hired Michelle Zink, author of Prophecy of the Sisters Trilogy for Editorial and rewrote again. During that time, I also received full editorial notes from Lois Duncan, author of I Know What You Did Last Summer and Killing Mr. Griffin to name just two. I've written five books, Dive Smack is the second book on that roster.

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 had several, none of which is particularly unique, so I'll tell you the funniest. When I was in third grade, I brought a puppy home and told my parents that I won it in a spelling bee. Of course, the truth was my classmate's dog had a litter and they were trying to get rid of the pups. But my parents, being Greek immigrants and unfamiliar with American schools and how they worked, believed me. The look on their faces, how enraptured they were with my tall *cough, cough* tail, was the moment I understood that I could tell a believable story.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

I usually need an obscene level of silence. But I do make a playlist for every book that I listen to when I'm not writing. This is the link to the Dive Smack Playlist on Spotify:

But, when there are times when I feel like I need a little more scene motivation, I'll listen to the film score of a movie within the same genre.

What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?

I’d like to pass along the advice given to me by fellow author Tera Lyn Childs when I first started writing and querying and was getting encouraging rejections. She said, “Perseverance is the name of the game.” And she was 100% right. Never give up.

What are you working on now?

At the moment, my projects are slightly under wraps, but I can say I’m working with my editor at Tor Teen on a thriller proposal about siblings, and maybe the end of the world as we know it. I’d tell you more, but . . . you know how that saying goes. We’re thriller writers, after all. But please, stay tuned for things to come.


Dive Smack
by Demetra Brodsky
Tor Teen
Released 6/19/2018

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A's and solid friends, he's only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make Theo question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone―including himself.

Purchase Dive Smack at Amazon
Purchase Dive Smack at IndieBound
View Dive Smack on Goodreads


Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned writer. She has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut novel, is dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why. She is a first generation Greek-American and a member of International Thriller Writers. Dive Smack is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection.


Have you had a chance to read DIVE SMACK yet? Do you scare yourself with your writing? Are you able to keep in mind that “Perseverance is the name of the game.”? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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