Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Women Who Rock Wednesday: Danielle Joseph!

Welcome to Women Who Rock Wednesday! Thank you to everyone who left comments last week on my interview with my mom, which was one of the most fun interviews I've ever done. I hope all you moms out there had a great Mother's Day and you kids were all good to your moms. The winner of a copy of I Wanna Be Your Joey Ramone signed by me and my mom is... Michelle Kuo from blogger! Michelle conveniently left her email address so I'll be in touch for your address Michelle unless you contact me first at stephanie at stephaniekuehnert dot com.

Now on to today's Woman Who Rocks, Danielle Joseph!!! Danielle is a fellow MTV Books author and when I read about her book, Shrinking Violet, I went straight to my editor begging for an ARC. Shrinking Violet hit stores last week and I highly, highly, highly recommend that you buy it! Of course, you will also have the opportunity to win it right here by commenting at the end of this interview and either leaving an email address or (preferably cause there will be another great interview) checking back next week to see if you've won.

Anyway, let's meet Danielle!

Q: As you know, I adore Shrinking Violet and I'm summing it up as "A Cinderella story for anyone who felt shy or like they didn't fit in at high school," but I'm sure you can give us a better description. Tell us about the book and what inspired you to write it. 

Danielle: Well, I really like your description but I will add to it by saying the book is also about reaching for your dreams and not letting any obstacles stand in your way. It’s about finding your voice and using it. I was inspired to write this book because I love music and think it is such a powerful tool in helping people not matter what stage in life they are. I wanted to write about a girl who blossoms through music and does not let her own short comings stand in her way.

Q: One of the things I love most about Shrinking Violet is all the fake bands and musical artists you create. Somehow you manage to describe them in a way that makes them feel accessible to fans of any kind of music. I didn't necessarily think, oh this is this real life band.... But now I'm going to make you talk about some real bands. What are five real songs that you would put on a Shrinking Violet soundtrack and how do they relate to the book? 

Danielle: I do have a Shrinking Violet play list on my website and here are five of my song choices:

Stupid Girls by Pink because Tere is not going to be consumed by the media and how they portray girls.

Pictures of You by The Cure. I listened to The Cure a lot in high school and they remind me of my group of friends. I think they are a band that Tere could really relate too.

Dani California by The Red Hot Chili Peppers because their music is great and they are definitely a band that Tere would appreciate for their amazing talent. Also, this song helped me develop her voice as I was writing.

Kiss Off by the Violent Femmes. I imagine Tere listening to this song on a particularly bad day with her mom. I see Tere storming up to her room and blasting Kiss Off on her iPOD.

Love Like This by Natasha Bedingfield. Tere would listen to this when she is crushing on Gavin.

Q: I think Tere from Shrinking Violet can be a real role model for girls. She's someone they can relate to and she manages to find her own way despite her shyness. Helen Keller is one of her inspirations. Is Helen one of yours or did you just research her for the book? And who are some of the other women who have inspired you over the years? 

Danielle: I have always had a fondness for Helen Keller but I was even more amazed with her accomplishments when I researched her more in depth for this book. Some of my other inspirations are Amelia Earhart, Anne Frank, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and so many other strong women.

Q: I'm a sucker for how did you become a writer stories. What's yours? We you always an aspiring novelist or how did your path toward writing unfold?

Danielle: I have wanted to be a writer since I wrote my first book in first grade. My teacher had us illustrate it. Then she typed up our words and laminated it. From there I was hooked, realizing I could write whatever I wanted! I wrote in some form or another over the years from angst poetry to humorous observations to books of notes back and forth with my close friends. I also studied creative writing in college but didn’t become really serious about getting published until after I had my first son seven years ago.

Q: I know SV just came out, but what is next for you? What are you working on now? 

Danielle: My next novel, Indigo Blues, will be released from Flux in Fall 2010. It is another music-centered novel but this one is told in two points of view. It’s about a song writer who breaks up with his girlfriend and writes a hit song about their breakup. It chronicles what happens when they are both instantly thrust into the limelight. I am also working on something new now that involves love, humor and spirits—something totally different for me!

Q: Now for my two standard questions for my rockin' ladies. The first is a two-parter: What was the first album you bought and the first concert you attended? 

Danielle: I believe the first album I bought was a Duran Duran cassette tape and my first concert was Paul Young in the eighth grade. My friend’s older brother asked if we wanted to go and I was so excited even though I had never heard of Paul Young before. The girls in the row behind us were screaming their heads off when he stepped on stage in super tight corduroys.

Q: Please dish about your biggest rock star moment. It could be a big moment of success in your career, a time where you met someone famous and had the Wayne's World "I'm not worthy" experience, or where you got the total rock star treatment? 

Danielle: My biggest rock star moment was this past weekend at my book launch. I got a new outfit (and two back-ups), then got my hair and nails done. The weather was perfect, the house was packed and we were at one of my favorite bookstores. When I looked up from my signing table and saw all those people in line waiting for me to sign my book for them, I felt like a superstar!

Well, hopefully that pumps you up to read Shrinking Violet because I really do love it and think Danielle is an amazing and very cool writer! Comment away on her interview or maybe tell us if you were shy in high school (I totally was though I tried to cover it up!) and you will be entered to win Shrinking Violet. The winner will be drawn next week when I interview Ciara Griffin, the kick ass heroine from Jeri Smith Ready's books Wicked Game and Bad to the Bone! That should be an interesting one....


Summer said...

I always feel shy, I just fake my way through life. Great interview!

Just Your Typical Book Blog said...

I adore the cover for the book, and think it fits the description so well! I was pretty shy in high school - only really outspoken with my inner circle of friends and being a music lover, I think I'm going to enjoy reading this book. Awesome interview and that playlist rocks!!


Chelsie said...

There is nothing on this earth that could make me any more excited to read this... trust me, I'm dying. Thinking I may order it this weekend after I get my paycheck :)

And also, I am finally starting to come out of my shy shell. That's what happens when you get a job, I guess... as soon as I started working, I guess I just learned how to be loud and let my opinions be known (and to meet new people). However, I guess I still am kind of shy...

<3 Chelsie

Justine said...

i'm so psyched to read this book!
i just wish a had a little extra to spend on it, but i'm saving up for Green Day tickets. :D (super ecstatic for that too!)
-i'm insanely shy! i basically have social anxiety.
i think maybe that's why i try to come off as such a hardass...

Steph Su said...

I've heard brilliant things about this novel. Nothing but good things, really. Haven't read it yet, but soon hopefully, no? :)

Llehn said...

Oh, I was totally shy! And I still am to a certain extent. At one point it got so bad, I wouldn't even meet anyone in the eye for over a year!

Shelly B said...

I love how her teacher instilled a love of writing in her by making that first book so special. I always try to do that with my students.
Great interview!

shelcows AT gmail DOT com

Ashley said...

Ooh please enter me! I've been dying to read this book.

I'm currently in high school, and I'll admit that yes, I'm pretty shy.


Paradox said...

Love the interview! I want to read Shrinking Violet because I'm sort of shy and like to read books where people overcome shyness. Plus, the cover is so cute!

paradoxrevealed (at) aim (dot) com

Thao said...

I just got this book and cannot wait to read it. Indigo Blues sounds great too. I hope it comes out soon. So nice both the interviewer and the interviewee today write about how music inspire the young adults : )

sweetmelissa818 said...

I was shy in high school...until I wasn't. It was kind of like I just burst out of my shell!

ellie_enchanted said...

I'm still in high school, so... yeah.
I'm kinda shy - like, if I'm calling someone who I don't know well on the phone, it takes me ages to actually dial and I'm all nervous.
I like to think that I'm more introverted than shy, but who can say?