The plot is so, well, twisty that I'll let the jacket flap explain. . .
Don’t Get It Twisted [Kensington Books/Dafina for Young Readers] finds Mina scheming to go on a date with her crush, Craig, to The Frenzy, a coveted party thrown by the school’s football team. As she draws her friends into the plans, a newcomer throws an unexpected monkey wrench into her blossoming relationship with Craig.
The same newcomer has JZ sweating his spot on the Varsity basketball team and soon, both Mina and JZ are on the ‘by any means necessary’ road to trouble.
Don’t Get It Twisted is about the consequences and repercussions of the choices we make when we set out to get the things we really want.
Sounds juicy, eh? Just like my e-interview with Paula herself. . .
Elizabeth: You walk into a bookstore and make a beeline to. . .
a) chick lit
b) YA lit
e) a big stack of gossip mags and a cappuccino
f) the ________ (please fill in) section
. . . and why?
Paula: I'm always curious to see what new books are out in the field that I write and if any of my books or books by authors I know are on the shelf.
Elizabeth: Tell me about your childhood. What kind of book do you wish you'd had to change, save, or, okay, make a big wallop your life?
Paula: I wish I'd had a Jason & Kyra when I was a teenager.
I grew up reading a lot. And at the time, it didn't bother me or even dawn on me that most of the books I read were devoid of African American characters. I was used to only seeing Black characters in historical fiction and inner city street stories.
Jason & Kyra wouldn't have saved my life, but possibly, it would have opened my eyes to the possibility of being a writer, earlier. As it stood, as much as I enjoyed Mildred Taylor's books, I never had much desire to write about that particular period. But since those were the bulk of books with African American characters, it never occurred to me that I could write a Sweet Valley High or Forever with a Black protag.
Elizabeth: Tell me about your childhood, part 2: Where did you grow up and what kind of role does that setting play in the books you write?
Paula: I grew up in Annapolis, MD and Del Rio Bay is very much Annapolis’ twin, though by no means is Del Rio Bay an exact replica of the city. I’ve taken quite a few creative liberties because I wanted the DRB to be a more walkable environment. Which is the point, I created a city that was conducive to teen life. I’ve noticed that lots of books/TV shows these days take place at private boarding schools. It’s because you want an environment where your characters can be somewhat self-sufficient, not so reliant upon parental transportation etc… I’ve made all the right things within walking distance of my characters – the school, the place they hang out, the beach. Annapolis isn’t really like that but it should be. It’s a small town with big city infrastructure issues. I made Del Rio Bay the way I wish Annapolis was.
Elizabeth: What do you love about Mina, the star of "Don’t Get It Twisted?"
Paula: She’s very open, emotionally. If she’s angry, sad, happy, excited or whatever you know it. She wears her emotions on her sleeve and isn’t ashamed of that. Some people could say that’s a weakness. But I find Mina vulnerable in a sweet way. Because even though she can be an emotional tornado, she’s also very independent and headstrong. It’s something endearing about a character that can roll with the punches without putting up constant fronts about how they’re feeling.
Elizabeth: Finally, which Chick with Sticks are you? If you haven't read my book, please refer to this handy quiz.
Paula: Big surprise, I was Amanda. That cracks me up because I felt my answers were quite diverse. But you just can't hide from your inner diva.