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Kids' Q&A

Rosemary Clement-Moore

Describe your new book.
Prom Dates from Hell is about a high school senior who, just before graduation, discovers that something sinister and supernatural is stalking the school's ruling clique. Maggie Quinn is smart and resourceful, kind of sarcastic, and slightly psychic. Her granny always said so, but Maggie never believed her until she's the only one who can see that the "accidents" befalling the 'Jocks and Jessicas' are anything but. So she has to get her girl detective on, solve the mystery, and figure out how to stop all Hell from breaking loose at the Senior Prom.

I was inspired by reading the Nancy Drew books, who in a way was a precursor to TV heroines like Buffy Summers, Veronica Mars, and (my personal favorite) Kim Possible. These are girls who are good at solving their own problems. I wanted to tell a story abut a girl who pretty much had her act together, and then something happens to turn everything upside down, and she has to adapt to that...and also, save the world.

  1. Prom Dates from Hell

    Prom Dates from Hell

    Rosemary Clement-Moore

If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
I could say in Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, where the heroine can go in and out of books and live in whatever story she chooses! That would be awesome.

I might pick Jane Austen's Emma. Balls and gowns and tea and manners and romance. I'd pick Emma over Austen's other books because it's the only one where the heroine, Emma, doesn't have to worry about money. She's comfortably provided for, and so didn't have to fret about anything but matchmaking and falling in and out of love. It would be nice to have that be your biggest problem.

And if I got bored, I'd go to the Nancy Drew novels, where I could drive around in a sporty roadster, have great clothes, travel around and solve mysteries.

Though I have to say, I wouldn't mind living in Harry Potter's world, as long as I was a witch and not a muggle. There are a lot of chores I'd love to do instantly with a swish of my wand.

Describe your most memorable teacher.
I had Mr. Allen for both seventh and eighth grade English. He was full of energy and personality, and always seemed so excited about the intricacies of language. His sense of humor made diagramming sentences (almost) painless. He came up with very creative writing assignments, too, encouraging students to think about things from different angles.

Offer a favorite sentence or passage from another writer.

"Then you should say what you mean," the March Hare went on.

"I do," Alice hastily replied; "at least — at least I mean what I say — that's the same thing, you know."

"Not the same thing a bit!" said the Hatter. "Why, you might just as well say that 'I see what I eat' is the same thing as 'I eat what I see!'"

(Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Chapter 6; Lewis Carroll)

I love the way Carroll plays with words, how he turns things on their heads as the Hatter does here, and makes them mean something completely different.

What is your favorite literary first line?

Oh! for a muse of fire, that would ascend
The brightest heaven of invention!

(King Henry V. Prologue, Line 1; William Shakespeare)

What better way to start a play than with an invocation to the Muse?

What was your favorite story as a child?
My favorite book was Little Women. I read it when I was in the third grade — a major undertaking. I identified strongly with Jo March, even when she was being pigheaded and stubborn. I loved the image of her family, sisters who fought like cats but still came together with love. And of course, Jo was a writer, which I knew even then was what I wanted for myself. Her through story is a coming of age tale, of discovering who she really is, versus who she thought she wanted to be.

My favorite fairy tale was "Beauty and the Beast." Beauty always seemed a lot more proactive than some of the other fairy tale heroines, depending on which version you read. I liked that she came to love the beast despite his appearance and manner, and that she came back to him in the end, even though she was only bound to him by her word. Robin McKinley (one of my favorite YA authors) has a beautiful retelling of this story in her novel Beauty.

Tell us about your pets.
I have a new puppy right now. She's only four and a half pounds and probably won't get a whole lot bigger than that. I've always had big, useful dogs, and this is my first foofy little toy dog. But she curls up in my lap while I write, and I'm pretty much sold on the whole concept of useless lap dog.

Who are your favorite characters in history?
Real: Cleopatra. Michelangelo. Joan of Arc. Elizabeth I. Thomas Jefferson.

Fictional: Sherlock Homes, Elizabeth Bennett, Jo March, Anne Shirley, Nancy Drew. spacer

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