Sweet Sixteener Erin L. Schneider recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Marci Lyn Curtis about her YA contemporary debut novel, THE ONE THING (September 8, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion).
Marci Lyn Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons.
Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.
Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.
Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met. Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.
But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.
Erin: How did you come up with the idea for THE ONE THING?
Marci: Actually, I think the story came up with me—just stampeded into my head out of nowhere, characters and all, and then badgered me until I had no choice but to start writing. 😉
Erin: Your main character, a former soccer stud named Maggie that lost her sight due to meningitis, is rebellious and full of snark. How are you like / unlike Maggie?
Marci: Let’s see. Similarities: Maggie and I are known to be a smidge sarcastic (though not in a mean-spirited way), we have a deep love of quirk, and neither of us is particularly worthy in the art of Being a Girl (i.e. shopping, high heels, gossip, etc. etc. etc.).
But soccer? Nope—nope—that’s where our likenesses end. I’m not, and never have been, talented on the soccer field. Or on any field, actually.
Erin: Revision is often the most challenging part of novel-writing. What was your revision process like for THE ONE THING?
Marci:Looking back, I can say that my revision process wasn’t all that bad. Sure, I was seriously lacking in sleep and occasionally went through the “I’m completely overwhelmed” thing, and the “I’m a terrible writer” thing. Those parts weren’t easy. But even so, my editor’s suggestions were so spot-on, so perfect, they slid right into the story as though they had been there all along. And I guess there’s just this huge relief that goes along with that, this Okay, she gets me. She gets my story. She gets my characters. So during that time I chose to focus on that instead.
Translation: halfway through the day, when I passed out from exhaustion on top of my laptop, I had a crooked almost-smile on my face.
Erin: What’s next in the works for you as an author?
Marci: Right now I’m writing a story about an orphan pickpocket forced to live with the uncle who betrayed her family. It’s a twisty little story and a tough one to nail down, so let’s just say that it’s been an experience, and leave it at that. 😉
Lightning Round Questions:
Favorite writing snack (I know one of mine is now Marble Fudge cake!)?
Multi-grain Tostitos dredged in avocado.
If you could go back and tell your sixteen-year-old self one thing, what would it be?
Never compromise who you are.
Favorite piece of advice for writers?
Just write. Write what’s in your heart. Write for nobody but yourself. Write like it’s the last thing you’ll ever do. Just write.
What three people (alive, fictional, or from history) would you invite to a dinner party?
Luna Lovegood, Gandhi, and Ellen Degeneres.
What were you reading when you were sixteen?
Oh lord. I was completely obsessed by the SWEET VALLEY HIGH series. (Shhh…it’s a secret so don’t tell anyone.)
What are you reading now?
THINGS WE KNOW BY HEART by Jessi Kirby.
About the Interviewer:
Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and although Hawaiian, should never be allowed on a surfboard. After twenty years in corporate merchandising – marketing everything from fashion apparel to technology – she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal, a rowdy German Shepard, two crazy cats, and a baby boy on the way! She’s a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers (yabuccaneers.com).
Her debut YA contemporary novel, SUMMER OF SLOANE (May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion), focuses on seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre and her discovery around her boyfriend and best friend’s ultimate betrayal just before leaving to spend the summer in Hawaii; while nursing a broken heart, she meets a boy who is equally troubled, but just might be the key to learning how to forgive — and live.