Wednesday, 11 February 2009

Interview - Karen Tayleur

Karen Tayleur is Persnickety Snark's spotlighted author this week. Today we shine the light on her novel, Chasing Boys - character names, the infamous scar and the story behind the name switcheroo.

1.The reader is given clues about Ariel's journey to her current living circumstances. How difficult is it to balance the line of too much or too little information in the reveals about her family?

I didn't find it difficult. I love the idea of the unreliable narrator. I think we are all unreliable narrators of our own story.

2. How did Gaston/Dylan's scar come to be?

It was a childhood accident, falling off a stool while pinching something out of the fridge. I love that the reader never finds out. The scar thing came about from a boy at high schhol that I was crazy about for five minutes when I was fifteen. He had a scar and I never found out how it happened. I think it added to his Byronic appeal. I went off him when I got to know him. Fickle teenage girl.

3. Does the humour come to you naturally or is it something you are constantly finessing?
What humour?

4. How did the idea, of using a Hans Christian Anderson character to influence your character, arise?
This fairytale always resonated with me as a young reader. I used to think it was unfair that Ariel couldn't have it all. Later, I thought it was a reminder that you shouldn't try to be something that you aren't. To remain true to yourself is the most important thing.

5. Did you have an Eric when you were a teen?

Of course. But his name wasn't Eric.

6. Gaston's name was replaced for the American publication, what was the reasoning?

I spent ages on getting my names for this story. Gaston means stranger in French, he was the new kid in school, it worked for me. The US publisher thought it too Disney, shades of Beauty and the Beast. Although they didn't seem to twig that Ariel and Eric were a direct lift from Little Mermaid. The bones of the story were that Ariel loses her identity when she tries to be something she isn't (ie Little Mermaid by Hans C. Anderson) and it is only when she is herself that she is truly happy. I fought really hard to keep the name but in the end I wanted it published in US and they held the cards

Also, Dylan!?!

7. I loved the inclusion of Radio SPN, where did you draw that idea from?

Two things:

Firstly, when I was in my early 20s I thought I might write for radio, so did a radio course and found myself in a radio studio, which was hilarious because I couldn't say anything except testing testing. This can go on for only so long. I spent the rest of my radio studio time singing into the microphone instead of making an announcer demo tape because I thought no one else was listening. I got the Popstar Wannabe Award at the end of my course. I never did get into radio...

Secondly: In a mirror of the Disney Little Mermaid Story, I wanted Arield to 'lose' her voice. In a way she does because she fails to speak out against an injustice, just to keep on side with Eric. I use her job on radio SPN to highlight the way she shuts down her personality, ditches the accents and jokes, just to be the girl Eric would like to go out with.
Come back on Friday to see the last post for this week's Karen Tayleur spotlight, the guest blog!


Shooting Stars Mag said...

Psh..I hate that other publishers make you change things. I like the name Dylan, but it would be cool if they kept it Gaston. I think this book sounds good though. Nice interview!!


Taren said... did you catch her on a bad day or something? Geez Louise.