I’ve been treasuring this book for awhile now, and I’m excited to finally share my post with you! I truly enjoyed this book. I was expecting some Freaky Friday vibes, but it went above and beyond. It’s a whole new story all on its own and well worth the read. In fact, I have an extra special surprise because I got to interview the author! Thank you so much Sylvia for taking the time to let me enter your world for a moment. This was a blast!
What inspired you to become a writer?
The love of story, both the reading and writing of it, lead me to enjoy creating it. When writing goes well it’s so dreamlike and zen; you live in a world of your own and wake up to having written a chapter. And you get paid for this?
What is the hardest thing about being a writer? Easiest thing?
Currently the most difficult thing about being a writer might be to accept pot shots at our work over the Internet. Whether the reader loves our writing or not, we work on our books for years, they’re our children. Perhaps these children won’t shortlist for any awards or make any ten best list but how can you tell us these children are ugly? The easiest thing about writing for me are the friendships between fellow writers. I can cross the country and know I have friends in every city. In places where I don’t know writers through facebook or from encounters at festivals or workshops, I can find new friends quickly through the library or bookstores. There are always writers meeting somewhere.
Why did you decide to write middle grade and young adult books?
After writing adult short stories, I took the last course I swore I would ever take: Writing for Children, given by a YA writer Paul Kropp. As preparation for the class I read everything that Kropp had written and fell in love with his first person humorous and heartfelt narration, all from a young teen’s point of view. I felt that even though it was a simple writing style, it was a powerful connector. More importantly I thought it was something I could do too.
What inspired you to write Body Swap?
I’d been exploring regret through various of my stories, specifically regret about dying foolishly. Best Friends Through Eternity and Dying to Go Viral depict retakes of the characters’ last week of life. Body Swap evolved from that premise except that 15 year-old Hallie doesn’t think staring at a cell phone while walking through a parking lot causes her death. Instead she blames 82 year old Susan’s reflexes. Something I did too, when I read about the true story about such a fatal accident. A friend challenged me on my ageism so I tackled my own flaw in thinking through this story.
If Body Swap were a movie, who would you want to play Eli, Hallie, and Susan?
To keep it authentic, I would want less known actors perhaps. Canadian television actors Eric Peterson (Corner Gas) and Jean Yoon (Kim’s Convenience) should play the two main male/female halves of Eli. Another film actor Ryan Reynolds can play the carnival operator Eli. Quevenzhané Wallis (youngest Oscar nominee for Hushpuppy in Beasts of the Southern Wild could play Hallie. While Meryl Streep is too young to play Susan, perhaps makeup artists could age her enough to pass for 82.
What do you hope readers take away from reading Body Swap?
Readers should try to look outside themselves a little, to be empathetic to others. It’s too easy to see ourselves as the main actor in the story of the world and not listen or accept other points of view.
Did you get to choose the cover? (It’s gorgeous by the way!)
Thank you. I didn’t get to choose my cover. In fact I had a different visual in mind: one of a teen holding a cell phone with the image of an older woman covering the screen. But I was consulted. What I really didn’t want was a stylish bunch of letters floating on a cover, telling you nothing about the story. First draft, picture the current Body Swap cover without the fairground. I liked the colours instantly but it was a stylish bunch of letters revealing nothing about the story. Very quickly the editor showed me covers with various fairgrounds added and the designer Laura Boyle did an excellent job of shaping one in with the circular title and colours so that we are all happy with it
What are your thoughts on technology use in today’s society?
It’s pretty funny to see a whole bunch of people standing somewhere, say at a bus stop, staring at their screens. I know I can get obsessive about checking social media on my phone especially when I’m discouraged about my work. “Show me a sign, Eli, that I should keep writing!” So I self-google, check Goodreads, Instagram,a nd twitter. But I know I’m better off stepping away from it all. I hope the world learns a better balance soon. Imagine how many more books we could read if we saved all that Facebook/twitter/instagram/linkedlin checking time.
Can you tell me a little about other books you’ve written?
Crush, Candy, Corpse is the story of a 17 year old accused of manslaughter of an Alzheimer’s patient. It was based on my own experience of wanting to feed my mom her favourite foods as she was dying of Alzheimer’s. I was told she couldn’t have blueberries, she might choke to death. An odd book I wrote was a middle grade historical fiction Revenge on the Fly based on a 1912 fly-catching contest. They were held all over the world that year because scientists blamed the spread of microbes and therefor disease on the fly.My 12 year old character William Alton’s mom and sister die of typhoid and summer complaint and when he hears that flies could have caused their death, he seeks revenge and victory at the same time. I love dogs so I write a lot about them. The Great Mistake Mysteries, The Best Mistake Mystery, The Artsy Mistake Mystery and The Snake Mistake Mysteries feature rescue dogs Ping and Pong and their young dog walkers Stephen and Renée who count their mistakes and solve crimes.
What has been your favorite book you’ve read this summer?
Black Chuck is an intense debut novel (buying first timer books is always lucky!!) by Regan McDonnell. There’s a murder, a pregnancy and a love triangle and the plot twists around these aspects till you find out how and why.
And, SURPRISE!! To celebrate the release of this book, I’m giving away TWO COPIES! Head to my instagram @livereadandprosper to enter!