You will not believe how hot it is down here! I am literally melting off and all I want to do is go down to the pool and just swim. I don't even care if I won't be able to read for hours. I just need to cool down in this freaking heat!
But to make my day a bit cooler, I am having the lovely Deirdre Spark on the blog today! Not too long ago, she sent me an ARC copy of her book, SUGAR, and I am so very excited to read it! Just by reading the synopsis, I can kind of relate to the main character so I am intrigued to see how it all turns out. A huge thank you to Deirdre for sending me a copy! :) Don't forget to leave some love for her down in the comments below and to also enter the giveaway!
Author: Deirdre Riordan Hall
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: June 1st, 2015
BUY LINKS: | Amazon |
I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.
Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.
When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.
Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.
Hi Deirdre! I am so happy to have you stop by the blog today! Before we get the interview started, would you like to tell us a little bit about yourself?
Hi Talina, Thank you for having me by! Happy, happy blogiversary. I'm so happy for you and grateful you're sharing SUGAR! Hmm. A little about me. I'm a chips and salsa loving, surfing, Harry Potter super fan, and of course, author. Even though I'm on summer break with my kids home, it's hard not to have a few irons in the fire aka writing projects in the works ;-) I'm also an avid reader and am taking some time to shorten the stack of to-be-reads on my bedside. Some titles include: Adi Alsaid's Never, Always, Sometimes, Top Ten Clues you're Clueless by Liz Czukas, and Kissing in America by Margo Rabb.
1. What gave you the idea to write Sugar? Was it a long time idea or did it just come to you randomly?
The idea to write Sugar came in two parts. One was related to my own health and dealing with my emotional relationship to food. I became sick several years ago and had to eliminate foods like dairy, gluten, sugar, and caffeine from my diet to determine allergies and sensitivities. Thankfully it helped tremendously, but it also called up how attached I was to certain foods, how they comforted me in times of stress, often to an extreme. The second part was studying the question of what would happen if we all learned to love ourselves. Sugar, in the beginning, doesn’t love or even really like herself or anything about her life, but what if…
2. What was the most difficult part in writing it? The easiest?
One of the big challenges was writing Mama, Skunk, and the bullies; putting the character Sugar through that caused me to relive some of the bullying I endured when I was younger, though Sugar's was much worse. The easiest parts were the scenes with Even. I so wanted Sugar to experience light and hope and kindness, so that was a joy and gift to write.
3. Are there any parts in the book that you feel particularly close to? If so, what would it be?
Great question! I'm close to Sugar overall. I think aspects of her life inhabit all of us, for better or worse and serve as opportunities to learn and grow. Whether we find holes in our self-esteem, people in our lives who are toxic—but we're tethered to them in some way—or lacking in positive relationships. Conversely, we might have been insensitive to the struggles of others, judgmental, or harsh because of their appearance, socio-economic background, or our assumptions about them. This is an exceptionally hard thing to admit, but in doing so we offer peace to the world and ourselves. The good thing I've learned is that life fluctuates, nothing is permanent, which gives us the hope that unpleasant or painful situations can change and we can all contribute by being sensitive and kind.
4. During the cover design process (I bet that’s always the fun part!) where you able to voice what you wanted/pictured?
I had a loose vision for the cover that involved either the title, SUGAR, written in table sugar or an image like the one later in the book where she writes with lipstick on the mirror. I'm not a graphic designer or visual artist, so I'm thankful it was in the hands of the pros! However, I did have the good fortune to offer my input. The cover designer came up with several mockups including an original idea, which was an early iteration of the present cover. After a few rounds of revisions, that's the one we went with. I think it is stunning!
5. Do you have any upcoming projects? If so, can you let us in on a sneak peak?
I sure do! My next young adult novel, PEARL, will be published by Skyscape in the spring of 2016. It's about friendships that become sisterhoods and breaking the cycle of addiction. I'm super excited to share it with readers!
Other than that, I'm revising several other YA contemporary novels and I have a few middle grade projects up my sleeve. Stay tuned for more, subscribe to my newsletter to get the latest updates, or of course, connect with me on social media.
What a fun interview! Thank you once again for stopping by Deirde and congratulations on your amazing book!
Thank you! Cheers!
Deirdre Riordan Hall is the author of the new adult contemporary novel, To the Sea. Deirdre studied at George Washington University. She enjoys writing, reading, surfing, and yoga. One of the best things about those activities is they're all done barefoot. Although she loves shoes, she doesn't like to wear them. Deirdre writes upper young adult and new adult fiction.
She spends her days with her family, at the custom-made desk her husband crafted—writing (what else?) or seaside, pretending she's a mermaid.
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