Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Awesome Authors: Robin Wasserman

Today is the first Awesome Authors post, and we're lucky enough to have Robin Wasserman visiting with us. She is the author of the Seven Deadly Sins series, Hacking Harvard, and Skinned. You can find out more about her—and her random obsessions with Neil Patrick Harris, Gossip Girl, cupcakes, and Robert Downey Jr—on her website, www.robinwasserman.com, or her blog, robinwasserman.livejournal.com. She is, for the record, very good at keeping secrets.

Blogs are a central part of the Bradford Novels universe. If you have a blog, why did you start blogging, and how did you come up with the name for your blog? My blog is called The Procrastinator, which I suppose is self explanatory (and explains why I keep at it). I started blogging a year or two after my first book came out, because I was really enjoying the blogs of other writers and figured I would give it a try. I quickly discovered that it was the perfect place to prattle on about all the stuff—TV shows I love and hate, articles that make me angry, random stuff I desperately wish I could buy, bizarre absurdities, etc—that I stumble across when I should probably be working. I’ve always dreamed of having a newspaper column, but until someone drops one of those in my lap, blogging has turned out to be an excellent substitute.

What's your favorite thing about blogging? I love having the freedom to write an exceedingly long rant about something relatively ridiculous (my love for Neil Patrick Harris, why you should watch Battlestar Galactica, the embarrassing thrill of shaking hands with Mandy Patinkin)—and I especially love when someone I don’t know comments on the post to say, “I know exactly how you feel!” There’s something oddly gratifying about connecting with strangers over shared passions for minutiae.

What's the difference between a blog and a diary? For me the big difference is that I’ve written more than three posts. I’ve owned a lot of diaries in my life, and every single one of them contains two or three entries . . . and then a lot of blank pages. I’m not sure why it’s so much easier to keep up with the blog than with the diary, but I suppose the big difference is the awareness of having an audience. With the diary, I was always writing for some hypothetical future me who might want events recorded for posterity. That’s some serious delayed gratification, and I’m impatient. With blogging, on the other hand, you don’t have to wait for an audience. They’re out there 24/7, waiting for you.

Spencer Grace Kelly, the main character in GoldenGirl, is named after her distant relative, the Princess of Monaco. What’s your favorite Grace Kelly movie, and why? High Society, because a) the only other Grace Kelly movie I’ve seen is Rear Window, and I didn’t like that one at all, b) I love Bing Crosby, and c) the soundtrack is excellent, and how can you not love a song called “High Society Calypso?”

GoldenGirl is full of scandals and exposed secrets. What was the biggest scandal at your high school? Did your classmates discover any of your deep, dark secrets? Seeing as how my high school life was intensely boring, I didn’t actually have many deep, dark secrets (except for the secret that I hated every minute of it and was just waiting for college, and that was no secret at all). The biggest scandals I can remember all involved things like people cheating on physics tests by inputting the equations into their graphing calculators . . . which, while dramatic at the time, probably wouldn’t make for a very good book.

What’s the worst thing you ever did to a friend? Are you still friends with her or him? I once accidentally-on-purpose sabotaged a friend’s blind date by revealing a detail about the guy that I knew she really wouldn’t want to know. (I realize this is rather cryptic, but if I go into any more details, I’d get in trouble all over again. We’re still friends, and I’d prefer to stay that way . . . )

What are your most recent books? What new projects are you working on now?
My latest book is Skinned, about a girl who nearly dies in a fatal accident and gets reborn in an artificial body. On the up side, she’s pretty much immortal . . . on the down side, her friends and family treat her like a total freak, her boyfriend doesn’t want to touch her, and she’s not sure she’s the same person she used to be, or even a person at all. It’s about memory, identity, life, death, and the question of what makes us human. The sequel, Crashed, comes out next September.

Thanks for stopping by to chat, Robin! Hope it helped you procrastinate a bit!


  1. Just want to get the conversation started by saying that SKINNED was so, so good, and Robin is indeed, very awesome. She came to speak to my writing class this past semester and was great--very inspiring.

  2. Skinned sounds really cool. Like if Robert Heinlein wrote YA! Have you ever read the book of essays "The Minds Eye"?

  3. I'm happy to offer Robin a hearty "I know exactly how you feel" after reading the interview. I've had the same problem with diaries. Somehow writing for no audience seems like such tremendous work. It took a while for me to pick up speed with my blog but now I post regularly and I love responding to other people's blogs. I don't even have a steady audience per se but there's a sense that somewhere out there someone's reading.

    I must read Skinned. The premise as Robin presents it suggests a very metaphysical (or physical) study of the issue of identity, a sort of 'what if' with huge philosophical implications. I'm no YA lit maven but I feel like many books in the genre deal with these issues on a more metaphorical or personal level (as in the case of 'Punk Rock' in which Ari is trying to figure out 'who he is.' Sounds like Robin is bringing a bit of Borges to the world of young adult reading which I think adults young and old will find fascinating!

  4. See, and here I have SUCH respect for all of you bloggers who post so regularly! Even with the audience, I have a hard time--despite completely embracing the idea that blogging is an integral part of the authorial process (certainly these days).
    SKINNED is FANTASTIC! We read a bunch of books that were similarly themed for a discussion as part of my MFA residency, and SKINNED was my favorite by far. Very grabby and gripping but still with strong, quality writing and a real philosophical heft. Not to be too scary fan-girl, but Robin is definitely one to watch.
    (Dave--I'd lend you my copy but I've already passed it along).

  5. I obviously need to start following your blog because a)I am a champion procrastinator, b) I also love NPH, and c) I think I actually dreamed about Mandy Patinkin last night.

  6. Robin: Glad to see you here! I think I told you this before, but if not: I literally ran into Mandy Patinkin once as he and I both came around the corner of an aisle simultaneously.

    Micol: Rockin' the bash, lady!

  7. I need someone to explain this Mandy Patinkin thing to me, already!

  8. "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya, you killed my father, prepare to die." Mandy-love needs no more explanation than that! (Although I tried my best!)

  9. Her book Skinned is amazing! I am desperate for the sequel!

  10. I know--NO FAIR that we have to wait for it!