Book Nerd Interview
Megan McCafferty’s newest two-book series–BUMPEDand THUMPED–was described in Publisher’s Weekly as “sharply funny and provocative…set in a world where only teens are able to have babies, and are contracted by adults to carry them to term.” She’s currently adapting these novels for film.
She is also the author of sloppy firsts (Three Rivers, 2001), an ALA Top 10 Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers, an ALA Popular Paperback, and a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Its sequel,second helpings (Three Rivers, 2003) was also selected to the NYPL list, and was a Booklist Editor’s Pick for one of the best novels of 2003. charmed thirds(Crown, 2006) was an instant New York Times bestseller and a NYPL pick. fourth comings (Crown, 2007) and perfect fifths (Crown, 2009) also made the New York Times, USA Today, Publisher’s Weekly, Booksense, Barnes and Noble, Borders and other national bestseller lists. She is working with writer/director Anna Christopher and Taurus Road Productions to bring sloppy firsts to the big screen.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Extrovert. Introvert. Complicated.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
My first attempt at writing a novel was SLOPPY FIRSTS. I started writing it at 26 and it was published when I was 28. That sounds so quick and easy, doesn’t it? But I’ve been writing ever since I could pick up a pencil. I was always working at it, even when it didn’t feel like work. Decades of journal entries, angsty poems, abandoned short stories, term papers, school newspaper assignments, magazine articles etc. etc. etc. all contributed to creation of that first book.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I have zero interest in being famous. I just want to make a living doing what I love.
Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
Everything I’ve ever experienced has influenced my writing in every way.
Where did you get your idea for Thumped?
I always saw the story being told in two parts. Two narrators, two books. The first documenting a conception, the second documenting a birth.
What was your inspiration for the series?
REAL LIFE. Consider how OBSESSED certain politicians are with controlling women’s bodies. Or the limitless selling-out of certain “celebrities” so desperate to stay famous. Everything in BUMPED and THUMPED is already happening somewhere in the world. Especially the most disturbing parts. Anyone who thinks otherwise isn’t paying attention.
Aside from Melody and Harmony, which of your characters do you feel has grown the most since Bumped?
Jondoe’s true self emerges in THUMPED. He—like all of the characters—hasn’t totally figured out who is is or who he wants to be, but his journey is well underway.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
It would be interesting to see how Jessica Darling would respond in the world of BUMPED and THUMPED. I’d like to think she’d be a crusader for contraception.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in any of your books?
I’ve spent the last six months adapting BUMPED and THUMPED into a screenplay. In the process, I’ve changed the story quite a bit to make it more interesting for a visual medium. Sometimes I wonder if the screenplay represents the “true” story I wanted to tell in the books.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
“How are ya?” The real answer is far more complex than a simple, “Fine thanks, how are you?” I’m not very good at small talk.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Be yourself always…which can be hard when you’re still figuring out who you are.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Be yourself always.
What is your most memorable travel experience?
The summer before my senior year in high school I won a scholarship to study college-level Spanish in Mexico. I’d never been out of the country before. I missed my connecting flight and ended up arriving in Mexico City at 2am. The welcoming committee had long departed and I had to navigate my way to a smaller city several hours away with my rudimentary Spanish language skills. That unexpected arrival kick-started the six most autonomous, thrilling and frightening weeks of my young life.
What’s the worst job you’ve had?
Senior Articles Editor at the most orgasmic magazine on the planet. It was a toxically competitive work environment and my personality was not suited for it. I almost longed for summers I worked as token exchange girl at Lucky Leo’s Arcade on the Seaside Heights boardwalk. However, my time there helped me determine the type of writer I wanted—and didn’t want—to be. And without that experience, I wouldn’t have met the co-worker who introduced me to the agent who negotiated the deal for SLOPPY FIRSTS.
What's the loveliest thing you have ever seen?
My husband and son nerding out together.
What was a time in your life when you were really scared?
My son was born six weeks early. He spent a week in ICU before he was well enough to come home. It was terrible and terrifying to watch him struggle. That week changed me forever.
Where can readers stalk you?
@meganmccafferty on Twitter
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Megan-McCafferty/53129595664 on Facebook
It's been thirty-five weeks since twin sisters Harmony and Melody went their separate ways. Since then, their story has become irresistible to legions of girls: twins separated at birth and living different lives, each due to deliver sets of twins . . . on the same day! In a future where only teens can "bump," or give birth, babies mean money, status, and freedom.
Married to Ram and living in religious Goodside, Harmony spends her time trying to fit back into the community she once loved and believed in. But she can't seem to forget about Jondoe, the guy she fell in love with under the strangest of circumstances.
To her adoring fans, Melody has achieved everything she always wanted: a big, fat contract and a coupling with Jondoe, the hottest bump prospect around. But this image is costing her the one guy she really wants.
Cursed by their own popularity, the girls are obsessively tracked by their millions of fans, who have been eagerly counting down the days to their "Double Double Due Date." Without a doubt, they are two of the most powerful teen girls on the planet, and there's only one thing they could do that would make them more famous than they already are:
Tell the truth.
Thumped is Megan McCafferty’s follow-up to her clever and gripping novel Bumped. It is set in a mysterious and distressing dystopian future where teenagers are encouraged to get pregnant. The story interchanges between perspectives of two sisters, Harmony and Melody. The sequel delivers all the elements that make a great book: a unique plot, unforgettable characters, and an ending that packs more punch than Mike Tyson’s right hook.
Teenage pregnancy is a major subject in this book and Megan has skillfully managed to carry this important matter, while keeping the mood of the story light and fun. I love howMegan keeps the message intact and keeping it away from being preachy. The characters Harmony and Melody are crafted with care and lots of thoughtful consideration. Even if they are identical twins, the sisters are so different from each other, which is evident with the dual perspectives inscribed within the pages.
Megan McCafferty’s Thumped is truly a unique story and a great follow-up to Bumped. The world of a troubled society obsessed with teen pregnancy is quite disturbing but terrifyingly realistic. She offers a lot to think about where our society is heading and how people would react when it comes to that point. I was captivated from the first book and still mesmerized with the second. The ending, fulfilling and a great finish, prompted the message in this book: sex should be significant and not be influenced by outside forces.Megan is a brilliant writer and thinker. She is a master of passing meaningful messages without having to beat it to your head. Bumped is truly satisfying and I am sure she will continue to satisfy with her upcoming works.
You can purchase Thumped at the following Retailers:
And now, The Giveaways.
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