Thursday, April 24, 2014

Q and A with Amanda Maciel

Today I have Amanda Maciel stopping by for a Q and A about her book Tease. Here is a little about her debut novel, Tease.

Emma Putnam is dead, and it's all Sara Wharton's fault.

At least, that's what everyone seems to think. Sara, along with her best friend and three other classmates, has been criminally charged for the bullying and harassment that led to Emma's shocking suicide. Now Sara is the one who's ostracized, already guilty according to her peers, the community, and the media.

During the summer before her senior year, in between meetings with lawyers and a court-recommended therapist, Sara is forced to reflect on the events that brought her to this moment—and ultimately consider her role in an undeniable tragedy. And she'll have to find a way to move forward, even when it feels like her own life is over.

In this powerful debut novel inspired by real-life events, Amanda Maciel weaves a narrative of high school life as complex and heartbreaking as it is familiar: a story of everyday jealousies and resentments, misunderstandings and desires. Tease is a thought-provoking must-read that will haunt readers long after the last page.
Amanda was kind to answer a few questions about her novel, it's subject matter, and why it's important. 

1. Describe Tease in three words.

Honest, heartbreaking, humbling

2. What type of research did you do while writing your novel?

Precisely because the story was somewhat based on true events, I wanted to fictionalize my version as much as possible—which meant a careful balance of knowing what happened in South Hadley in 2010, but not reading about it too much. I also used my husband’s legal advice with the details of Sara’s prosecution.

3. Tease is a novel with an important message that I think high school students should totally read. What book do you think should be in high school classrooms?

Thank you! And I actually think there could be more room in school curriculum for student-chosen reading. I know some schools do this, but it’s so important to connect with a book that you have picked yourself—even if it’s something that wouldn’t necessarily be considered a classic or academically sanctioned. Reading should help us learn, of course, about literature and the world around us, but in order to develop lifelong reading skills, you have to love it, too—it has to have some entertainment value. I totally sound like I work in publishing, don’t I? Clearly this idea led me to my current day job. But all that said, I remember The Bluest Eye having a huge impact on me in school. More books by women authors, about diverse experiences, would also be great.

4. What was the hardest part about writing Tease?

Finding the time to do it—I have my day job, and a family, and a life I generally try to keep well-balanced. And writing a story that potentially affects so many people on a really personal level—trying to balance the idea that friends might have a strong reaction to the subject matter. It never left my mind that people would read Tease and might not know I had the very best intentions writing it. But a writer’s intentions aren’t really the point, once a book is published, so I tried to not get bogged down by that.

5. If you could travel to anywhere, during any time period, when and where would you like to visit?

Can I be wealthy and privileged? If so, you could really go anywhere. But I think early 1900s New York City would be my choice. The Teddy Roosevelt era seemed particularly charmed, and seeing a world that was growing so fast but also so isolated would be fascinating!

A huge thank you to Amanda for taking the time to answer my questions. Do check out my review of Tease which also posted today.

If you're wanting to pre-order/purchase Tease, are are some links where it is currently available.


Amanda Maciel has worked in book publishing since graduating from Mount Holyoke College and is currently a senior editor at Scholastic. She spends her free time writing, running, or riding the subway with her young son. She lives with him, her husband, and their cat, Ruby, in Brooklyn, New York. Tease is her first novel.

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