Elizabeth Rudnick is the debut author of Tweet Heart which is available now from Hyperion books.
KBB: Why did you decide to write a book all in tweets, emails, and blogs?
ER: Because I’m a masochist? I’m kidding. Sort of. If I had known how hard it was going to be, I might have thought differently but I was drawn to the innate challenge that came with working in such a new medium. I have also always been drawn to popular culture and how it reflects the world and molds it at the same time. In college I was an American Civilization major and much of what we studied revolved around trends and why they arise and decline. To me, the act of tweeting is one such trend. A trend that exploded and continues to grow at an insane rate. Writing a novel that not only spoke to the trend–the advantages, and disadvantages–that come with such an instant form of communication–but also spoke in that trend, was just too good to pass up.
I will say though, that my original intent was to ONLY right in tweets. But I quickly learned that that was easier said than done. After all, we are talking about 140 characters only. That works for dialogue and for quick banter or snippets of information, but to move a novel along? Not so much. Out of that realization was born the e-mail and blog portion. They serve to move the story along, while the tweets are really the dialogue of the book.
So part of Tweet Heart I decided on, the rest, as happens often with writing, grew out of necessity and where the story took me.
KBB: Have you read all the books mentioned in Tweet Heart? If so, which would you recommend most?
ER: I have 🙂 I’ve always been a big reader and wanted Claire to be as well. She seemed like someone who would escape into the fantasy and worlds created by the written word. She is, after all, a hopeless romantic who believes in the prince charmings and happily ever afters. Which I applaud her for–and wish I could do myself! I would say that they are really all favorites of mine. I LOVE Jane Austen. That probably started with Pride and Prejudice because, well, I thought that I was Elizabeth Bennett, but when I read Emma, well, I was completely hooked. She writes such interesting female characters. They are flawed but lovable. They are, simply put, human. So I would say Emma would be an easy recommendation. But I also fell head over heels in love with the novel Half-Life of Planets by Emily Franklin and Brendan Halpin. It is such a unique love story–about a girl with a reputation and a boy with asperger’s who find themselves and realize that their unique qualities shouldn’t keep them apart but rather make them stronger as individuals…and as a couple. It is a new novel, out this summer, and I would urge everyone to read it. Hank is just a delight and the banter between characters is amazing. I think it proves that you don’t need paranormal to write a successful novel about longing and living in worlds that might not normally co-exist.
KBB: Which one of the characters is most like you and in what way?
ER: That’s a tough one! I really fell in love with all my characters and am very attached to each and every one. But I would say that I’m somewhere in between Claire and Bennett. I would never have the guts to be as brazen as Lottie and I’m not quite as introverted as Will. But Claire and I are similar in that we both get lost in imagination, are prone to falling hard over the wrong guy, and we keep everything close to the heart. I’ve loved boys from afar and wished they would notice me, but in all honesty, I’m probably not as strong as Claire. I don’t think, if my real-life version of JD ever showed interest in me, I’d be able to turn him down. But maybe now that I’ve written this book, I could. 🙂 And Bennett is like the inner 12 year old boy in me. I have a totally immature sense of humor at times which I’m often teased about. But heck, who doesn’t like a good ork or elf joke every once in a while?
KBB: The pictures really add to the book. Did you choose the characters pictures? If not, is there one that you would have changed?
ER: I LOVE how the pictures add to the book! For the first few versions of the book, it was literally just words and @ signs and RTs. No pics to help bring the story to life. But then my editor and I sat down and looked at some images of people she knew and I was immediately drawn to the kids who would “became” Claire, Will, and Lottie. I always knew I didn’t want Bennett to have a real photo. He is so set in my head, and I wanted him to be open to interpretation in the readers’ heads, that I couldn’t put a face to him. It was ironically JD that I had the most trouble with. I kept trying to find someone who would be universally dreamy and I just couldn’t. Because JD is just so…JD. You know what I mean? Great and perfect and handsome and yummy. It wasn’t until my amazing editor found the picture of the dog that we had anything. And when I saw the dog, it was perfect. Because JD in the book is named after my own dog (I know, I’m so strange!) and there is a great scene where “he” talks about dogs so it just fit. I wouldn’t change any of them!
KBB: Can you tell us anything about what you are writing next? Is there another tweet novel in the works possibly?
ER: I would absolutely love to do another tweet novel if there was interest from fans–and my publisher! I’m working on a concept for that but can’t go into too much detail–except that I think the focus would be more on Lottie and Bennett and they are still in high school. So keep your fingers crossed! I also just decided to write full time so now I have all the time I need to sit down and flesh out the four or five ideas that have been roaming in my head for years. There is everything from a compilation, to a paranormal story, to a full-fledged fantasy. I guess I’ll have to see which one bites me and go from there!
KBB: Thanks so much for the interview, Liz!