Friday, February 20, 2009
Erin Dionne Interview
MODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES by ERIN DIONNEis here and ready to treat you to a great story about thirteen-year-old Celeste Harris. This girl is no string bean, but comfy sweatpants and a daily chocolate cookie suit her just fine. Her under-the-radar lifestyle could have continued too, if her aunt hadn’t entered her in the HuskyPeach Modeling Challenge. To get out of it, she’s forced to launch Operation Skinny Celeste—because, after all, a thin girl can’t be a fat model! What Celeste never imagined was that losing weight would help her gain a backbone . . . or that all she needed to shine was a spotlight.
Our author in the spotlight has lived on two coasts and in four states. Her debut novel, MODELS DON’T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES, was inspired by events that occurred in seventh grade, when she wore a scary peach bridesmaid dress in her cousin’s wedding and threw up on her gym teacher’s shoes (not at the same event). Although humiliating at the time, these experiences are working for her now.
Now Erin lives outside of Boston with her husband and daughter, and a very insistent dog named Grafton. She roots for the Red Sox, teaches English at an art college, and sometimes eats chocolate cookies.
Hi, Erin and welcome. It's always fun to talk to writers and let their readers get a better idea of who they are. Hope my questions will give people a brief glimpse of the person behind the "pen."
Of all your favorite books, which one do you wish you had written?
So many choices...ummm...I'll have to say THE GIVER, by Lois Lowry. That book is simply amazing. AMAZING. I use it nearly every semester when I teach.
The story of Jonah is amazing. I remember how beautifully Lois Lowry revealed the truth to him. I can see why you chose this book.
What fictional character do you wish you could be?
I love villains, and was kind of a "good girl" growing up...so I'd like to be someone bad. Like Bellatrix LeStrange. Bad and crazy!
That's very revealing, Erin. Now your readers have something to think about when they see your name on that book cover--a writer with an interesting "bad" side to her. My next question is kind of silly, but what writer hasn't had THE BLOCK?" We have to talk about that.
After chocolate what do you eat to make the writer's-block pain go away?
Chocolate chip cookies, actually...so a little chocolate in my baked goodness.
Now I have to ask this. What if anything about Celeste Harris, your overweight eighth grader, comes from personal experience? I feel I can ask this question because if anyone could have won the Miss HuskyPeach beauty pageant in high school, it would have been me.
So much of Celeste comes from me, in varying degrees. Like her, I was an outcast in junior high. Like her, at different times I've been "chubby." Like her, I seek refuge in books and had celebrity crushes growing up (okay, maybe as an adult, too!). Like her, I've had to learn how to assert myself. The list could go on...
Some of the situations she finds herself in are also familiar to me, too, including the whole "puking on the gym teacher's shoes" things.
I'd love to talk to your former gym teacher after she reads your book.
If there was one piece of advice you'd give to a "chubby" teen, what would it be?
I'd tell the teen to embrace what they like about themselves, and focus on those positive elements. What makes you feel good about yourself? THAT'S what's most important.
Ignore other kids who are teasing or bullying you, but make sure to tell a trusted adult about their behavior. They need to be stopped. And never, EVER resort to drastic measures, crash diets, etc, to lose weight. They don't work, they're not safe, and the weight is just going to come back. Instead, if you're after weight loss, be smart and make little changes that you can sustain for a long time.
Amen to all that you've said. I hope readers drop in here and have a look at this answer.
Great Questions, Lee!!
Thanks, Erin. Great answers too. Thanks so much.
And readers, you can findMODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES near you. Or look at Amazon.
Erin's tour doesn't end here. You can catch more about her and MODELS DON'T EAT CHOCOLATE COOKIES atR.J. Anderson's Blog next week.