This is an interview for A Cornucopia of Dystopia event going on all this month. I was lucky enough to get a copy of BUMPED by Megan McCafferty early to read and review. On top of that, I got to interview the wonderful Ms. McCafferty about her novel. I hope you enjoy!
1) Will you describe BUMPED in five words?
Only teens can get pregnant.
2) I love novels with dual perspectives. Why did you decide to tell BUMPED through both Melody and Harmony?
When I was developing the premise, I realized that there wouldn’t be just one solution to the global infertility epidemic, there would be many approaches depending on where and how a girl was brought up. I thought about our own culture and how conversations about controversial subjects like teen pregnancy tend to be dominated by voices on opposing ends of the spectrum. With two narrators, I could explore what happens when a society gives into extremes and crowds out more moderate opinions.
3) I really identified with Melody but when I originally read that back, I thought it would be Harmony. Did you find one girl easier to write than the other?
Growing up as a suburban overachiever, I had more in common with Melody. But what I didn’t understand about Harmony’s evangelical background I made sure I learned through extensive research. I read books about different religions, watched teens’ testimonies on YouTube, lurked on Christian blogs. I also thought a lot about my best friend in middle school, a minster’s daughter who chafed against her religious upbringing. Now I know both characters equally well and can easily shift back and forth between the two.
4) One of my favorite aspects of the novel was the lingo. If one phrase caught on and everyone was saying it, what would you like it to be? (My personal favorite was when someone would get so mad they'd go "terminal")
Thank you! Language influences culture—and vice-versa. I doubt any slang will catch on because it’s all a reflection of the commoditization of teen pregnancy specific to the world of BUMPED.
5) BUMPED deals with teen sexuality. What are some of the questions you hope people get out of the novel?
How do the pressures Melody and Harmony are under compare with those experienced by today’s teens? What factors have the greatest influence on the twins’ choices (parents, friends, religion, societal expectations, pop culture)? In real life? What changes could be made to encourage healthier attitudes about sexuality in both worlds?
6) Were there any scenes or characters that got cut during editting that you miss? Reversely, was anything added that you love?
At least ¼ of the first draft got thrown out entirely. There was a whole ridiculous tangent that involved a 35th Anniversary Legends of TRL Tour hosted by a sixty-something Carson Daly. There was a Battle of the Blondes (Christina vs. Jessica vs. Britney) and an All-Star Man Band with geriatric members of NSYNC, BSB, O-Town and 98 Degrees. (The irony is, I wrote this before the creation of NKOTBSB.) It was funny but had absolutely nothing to do with the rest of the story so it had to go.
7) If the world of BUMPED was real when you were a teen, do you think you'd would have been Harmony, Melody or someone else?
I’d like to think that I would’ve bucked the system as a reproductive freedom fighter.
8) Do you listen to music when you write? Is there one song or band that represents BUMPED for you?
I always listen to music as I’m writing. For BUMPED it was a lot of LCD Soundsystem. Maybe I needed electronica to help get me into a futuristic state of mind.
9) Have you read anything that you loved lately?
I’m reading ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis. Wow. That first chapter is a doozy. Terrifying and unforgettable and oh so human.
10) Are you currently working on anything new? Can you tell us anything about the sequel to BUMPED?
I can only write one book at a time, so right now my priority is finishing up the sequel to BUMPED. So much can change between a first draft and final book, but I think it’s safe for me to reveal that the sequel picks up 32 weeks after BUMPED ends. I know triologies are the big thing right now but there won’t be a third book. Two sisters. Two narrators. Two books. That’s how Harmony and Melody’s story was always conceived. (Ha. No pun intended.)
Make sure not to miss this exciting and hilarious new novel coming out April 26, 2011 from Balzer & Bray.
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