Wednesday, October 21, 2015

FFBC: Welcome to the club, Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul

Underneath Everything
by Marcy Beller Paul
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: October 27th 2015
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, GLBT, Realistic Fiction
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Mattie shouldn’t be at the bonfire. She should be finding new maps for her collection, hanging out with Kris, and steering clear of almost everyone else, especially Jolene. After all, Mattie and Kris dropped off the social scene the summer after sophomore year for a reason.

But now Mattie is a senior, and she’s sick of missing things. So here she is. 

And there’s Jolene: Beautiful. Captivating. Just like the stories she wove. Mattie would know; she used to star in them. She and Jolene were best friends. Mattie has the scar on her palm to prove it, and Jolene has everything else, including Hudson.

But when Mattie runs into Hudson and gets a glimpse of what could have been, she decides to take it all back: the boyfriend, the friends, the life she was supposed to live. Problem is, Mattie can’t figure out where Jolene ends and she begins.

Because there’s something Mattie hasn’t told anyone—she walked away from Jolene over a year ago, but she never really left. 

Poignant and provocative, Marcy Beller Paul’s debut novel tells the story of an intoxicating—and toxic—relationship that blurs the boundary between reality and fantasy, love and loyalty, friendship and obsession.

Favorite Book?

Since this question is basically impossible, I’ll break it down into categories. Favorite nonfiction: THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING by Joan Didion, Favorite adult fiction: THE SECRET HISTORY by Donna Tart, Favorite Young Adult Fiction: BONE GAP by Laura Ruby

Favorite TV show?

When I was a teenager: My So-Called Life. Now: Friday Night Lights

Favorite movie?

Wet Hot American Summer

Your Favorite Song?

For this book: Jolene by Dolly Parton, For me: These Days by Fountains of Wayne

Favorite Food?

I love to start each day with a fresh vegetable juice. My favorite has kale, lemon, cucumber, cilantro, and cayenne pepper

Who is your perfect fictional boyfriend?

Akiva from Laini Taylor’s exquisite DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE trilogy. Strong, smart, serious, thoughtful, superhuman, tender. What more could a girl ask for?

Favorite Quote? 

Just as my fingers on these keys 

Make music, so the self-same sounds 

On my spirit make a music, too. 

Music is feeling, then, not sound; 

And thus it is that what I feel, 

Here in this room, desiring you, 

Thinking of your blue-shadowed silk, 

Is music.

--Peter Quince at the Clavier, by Wallace Stevens

What do you find yourself “Fangirling” over?

I’m a huge fan of comedy, and I’m pretty sure if I ever met Louis C.K. I wouldn’t be able to speak. Ditto for Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. And there are so many authors that awe me on a daily basis it’s impossible to list them all, but a few are: Laura Kasischke, Nova Ren Suma, Jandy Nelson, Laura Ruby, and Joan Didion. 

If you could meet one author, dead or alive, who would it be? 

Toni Morrison. Not only are all of her books unique and mindblowing, but every interview she’s given spouts so much wisdom I can barely take it all in. She is the definition of class.

Something to say to our Book Addicts? 

UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING is the first book I ever wrote and answers a question about female friendship I’ve been asking myself for 20 years: why did she do all those things to me? Why did I let her? Mattie’s answers aren’t mine, but her story is one I could have used in high school. I wrote this book for all the girls and women who may be asking themselves these same questions. I hope this book helps them find their answers.

Can you tell us a little about “Underneath Everything?”

UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING is the story of two girls bound by an obsessive friendship: Mattie, a map-collecting senior who quit her school’s social scene; and Jolene, the imaginative beauty who rules it. 

If you could describe Mattie in 5 words, what would they be? 

Searching for herself in others.

Is there a specific scene that you had the most fun to write?

“Fun” is a tough word for this book. Most of the crucial scenes were painful for me to write, but in the best way. I was forcing Mattie—and myself—to confront really difficult truths about who she is and why she’s doing the things she’s doing. But if I had to pick? I really enjoyed writing the flashbacks between Mattie and Jolene. And if any scene could be described as “fun” it would have to be the party scene toward the end. Who doesn’t love the game I Never?

What is harder to write the first line of a story or the last?

The first. Finding the story is the hard part, at least for me. Figuring out where to begin. Once I have that locked down it is easier to move on. Not that the endings are easy. In my first draft of UNDERNEATH EVERYTHING Jolene was not a main character, so the ending didn’t have anything to do with her. Once I realized I was writing Mattie and Jolene’s story, though, the ending was clear. That’s not to say I didn’t work hard on the ending. I had to revise it more than a few times. But that last line stayed through each revision. 

What’s next for you?

I’m working on a couple of new projects now that I’m very excited about. Both are contemporary young adult stand alones. Both are dark and edgy. Both have female protagonists. Otherwise they’re very different in both language and feel. But right now I’m trying to be present for this book, which I’ve worked so many years on. I’m so excited to finally share this story.

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Marcy Beller Paul is a young adult author, former editor, and full-time mom who still has all the notes she passed in seventh grade (and knows how to fold them).

She graduated from Harvard University and lives in New Jersey with her husband and two children. Underneath Everything will be published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, in Fall 2015. It is her first novel.

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