Chat With an Author

28 Days of Winter Escapes: A Q&A with Delia Ephron

Today, we have the proud honor of being the official Book Blog Partner on Harper Teen’s 28 Days of Winter Escapes Tour! First, we give you our joint review of our participating title, The Girl with the Mermaid Hair by Delia Ephron. Then, we bring you an exclusive Q&A with the author and a chance to win a copy of the book (and an iTouch).

In the second part of our official spotlight on The Girl with the Mermaid Hair, we have an exclusive Q&A with talented author (and screenwriter and producer extraordinaire), Delia Ephron!

Please folks, give it up for Ms. Ephron and her truly exceptional young adult novel, The Girl with the Mermaid Hair.

1. Sukie is always conscious of her appearance—how does this awareness affect her experiences?

Delia: Since she’s excruciatingly self-conscious, always snapping “selfies,” photos of herself with her cell phone, she is thinking about herself most of the time and worrying about how she doesn’t measure up. Which makes her a very lonely girl. When she looks in the full-length mirror that her mother gave her as a present, if she isn’t trying to decide, say, if one thigh is larger than the other, she fantasizes into the mirror. She has wild and passionate experiences with Bobo, the boy she’s hot for. She visits with her friend Issy in the mirror. Sukie’s life in the mirror grows more interesting than her real life until the mirror starts to crack. And then everything in her life, at school and at home, begins to crack as well.

2. Sukie’s ideas about romance don’t quite match her experiences. What would you tell a friend who is disappointed in love?

Delia: I would just listen and sympathize. I remember the first time my heart was broken, my dad was so sweet. I was eleven years old and he told me he had worn only black for days when his heart was first broken. He didn’t say, “Get over it” or “There’s more than one fish in the sea,” or all those things that don’t help at all when you’re sad. Frannie, my heroine from Frannie in Pieces, is also in this book, and one reason she becomes such a good friend to Sukie is that she listens with her heart. Of course then there is the situation when your friend is involved with a guy who’s self-centered or isn’t nice to her. Then you might point out that he isn’t “boyfriend worthy.”

3. Where did you go on your very first date ever?

Delia: Good grief, I have no idea. But what I do remember most is that the first time a boy kissed me, I stepped on his foot and was too embarrassed to take my foot off his. So I just left it there. Aha, now I’m remembering a very fabulous beach date with a guy who was my boyfriend for my seventeenth summer. Not a first date, but a great date.

4. Can you share some funny details about the worst date you ever went on?

Delia: Only one detail. A guy I was fixated on took me sailing on his very small sailboat, and I got seasick, and he never spoke to me again. And by the way, you can’t pay me to go on a boat even now, I was so traumatized.

5. Sukie finds her escape in the mirror . . . where do you go to escape?

Delia: Movies and books. There’s nothing more absorbing than a good book. I don’t even hear when people talk to me when I’m reading. I think I write books for teenagers because I remember loving to read so much when I was a teenager. I also love the movies. I write movies as well as books — I was lucky enough to write the movie adaptation of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Movies are like dreams. I sit in a dark theater and let it take me over. When I was fifteen I remember going to see a movie called The Long Hot Summer. It was so romantic I sat through it twice, nearly hypnotized.

About Delia Ephron:

I live in Greenwich Village, the prettiest part of New York City, with my husband Jerome Kass, who is also a writer, and my dog Honey. My favorite things are writing, walking, and cooking, although I also do yoga and the use the treadmill. I absolutely hate the treadmill, but use it because it is good for me. While I am on it, I watch the Food Network or reality shows. I love reality shows. My favorite is Project Runway.

I have always loved to read, and among my most powerful memories are coming home from school, getting a whole bunch of chocolate chip cookies out of the cookie jar, and reading while I ate the cookies slowly: the cookie part first, then the chips, allowing myself two per page. I remember Anne of Green Gables, the Betsy-Tacy books, Homer Price, and Ballet Shoes. These books are on the shelf next to my desk to give me inspiration. I love to write for teenagers and kids because of these happy memories. I hope to give someone else the same joy of escaping into stories.Although the main reason I write is probably because it’s who I am, and I feel very fortunate to have been able to make my living by my imagination.

I have three sisters, Nora, Hallie, and Amy. I’m the second oldest. I grew up in Beverly Hills, California, which was kind of a sleepy town then—not all fancy and famous and snobby the way it is now. My parents wrote screenplays, so I come from a writing family. All my sisters are writers, too.

My favorite city in the world is New York City, but my second favorite is Paris. It is so beautiful there, and I feel sad that my stepson hates Paris and only wants to go to Ireland, but I have learned over the years that you can’t force your kids to like what you like. My stepson Adam Kass, a storyboard artist and illustrator, lives in Los Angeles. My stepdaughter, Julie Kass, lives outside of Seattle, Washington.

Thank you to Delia Ephron and to Harper Teen for the wonderful opportunity! You can read more about Delia and her work (both books and movies – which include the critically acclaimed novel Frannie In Pieces and genre classic films like Sleepless in Seattle, You’ve Got Mail, and The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) online HERE.

Make sure to stop by the official 28 Days of Winter Escapes site for a chance to win The Girl with the Mermaid Hair today by answering the official poll.

And make sure to keep checking the 28 Days of Winter Escapes website throughout the moth for a chance at other daily giveaways, and a grand prize of an iTouch. You can also follow the Book-A-Day-Giveaway event on Twitter (using the #28daygiveaway hashtag) and on Facebook.

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