Sunday, March 28, 2010

Author Interview: Yvonne Prince

Here is my latest author interview that I conducted with the super cool author Yvonne Prince. She is the author of The Vinyl Princess. I sent her some questions via email and she was nice enough to send back some great response. Check out the interview. It is a fun read. Please be sure to check out her novel as well.

I wanted to start off by telling you that I really enjoyed your book, Vinyl Princess, which I have stated to you via email, but wanted to share those thoughts again. I am loving the nostalgia it is bringing back by bringing me down many paths of music. I appreciate you taking the time to answer some questions. As I always tell the authors which I am lucky enough to interview, feel free to answer all or just the ones that you want to.

Growing up, when I was reading books I never really even considered authors to be human. I never gave a thought to actually talking to them or sending them letters. Now authors do interviews (like this), Skype conferences, blogs, email, etc. How does the utilization of all the latest technology and internet help you as a writer? Do you think it helps you or is it more of problem trying to fit it all in?

It’s really not a problem for me to fit them in and I really like the contact with my readers. I was like you when I was a kid, I thought writers were untouchable rock stars. I’m glad that the internet has changed all that. Still, I’d like to go back in time and exchange E-mails with John Steinbeck, and Ernest Hemmingway and Truman Capote.

You mentioned in another interview that Frank Portman’s King Dork novel helped you come up with the idea for this book. What are some other books that you have read that others might enjoy?

I don’t read a lot of YA. I find so much of it is filled with unnecessary histrionics that I start reading and then I fling the books across the room. I do like Frank’s new book “Andromeda Klein” a lot. I just recently fell in love with “My Abandonment” and “Last Night at The Lobster” and “A Friend Of The Family”. I read a lot of Cormac McCarthy, Lorrie Moore, Dan Chaon, T.C. Boyle, Tobias Wolfe, A.M. Holmes, stuff like that. Good stories with good dialogue.

This novel leaves the reader with a lot to think about at the end in terms of being comfortable in our skin, remembering what it is like to grow up(or what is like growing up for the younger audience who is still in that phase of life). I remember closing the book and just reflecting on how I always turned to music growing up through middle school(New Jack Rap), high school(Grunge), college(Jam Bands), and even now as an adult(depends on what my mood is). What are some records that you turned to growing up?

My record listening career was launched with the Beatles, Abbey Road. Then the White Album, then I got deep into bands like Pink Floyd, The Stones, David Bowie, The Velvet Underground, the New York Dolls, I dabbled in Steely Dan and Little Feat and then I went for singer songwriters like Warren Zevon, Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Joe Henry, Elvis Costello, Tom Waits, Ry Cooder,

Looking at your website you are busy in the music scene with Amoeba records, your blog, writing, etc. Is your novel that you are currently working deal with music or are you going down a new path?

I think there will always be a music backdrop in anything I write but the next book “All You Get Is Me” is a sort of modern day To Kill A Mockingbird with Mexican Migrant Farmworkers. I’m a food person and you can’t really get into food without eventually asking yourself where it comes from. I became a supporter of family farms and started exploring migrant farmworkers and Fair food. This is a topic I’m very passionate about but the story at the forefront is about Roar, a very reluctant farm girl, and her relationship with her dad, a human rights lawyer, and how it changes after they witness a terrible accident.

What surprised you most as you were writing this novel?

I was surprised at how much I loved writing about music and musicians and music lovers. I’d been away from the epicenter of music for a bit and this book forced me back in. It really was so fun to take a musical journey with those characters.
If one of my students were interested in beginning to enter the vinyl lp world, what would be some introductory suggestions and what should they look for when starting to collect?

They should go to my blog and get everything. Seriously.

I recently read a book titled, Six Word Memoirs, which has a website. If you had to write your memoir in six words, what would you write?

Hand me the bread and butter.

If you had to create a mix tape right now what songs would you put on it?

I just made this for a friend who asked for some music for Demi Lovato to listen to:

1. Frank's Wild Years- Tom Waits

2. One Note Samba- Bebel Gilberto & Vinicious Cantuaria

3. The Only Living Boy in NY- Everything But The Girl

4. My Number- Tegan and Sara

5. I'm Shipping Up to Boston- The Dropkick Murphys

6. Look at Miss Ohio- Gillian Welch

7. Somewhere Down the Road- Feist

8. Little Wing- The Jimi Hendrix Experience

9. Prettiest Star- David Bowie

10. Sister Rosetta Goes Before Us- Robert Plant and Alison Krauss

11. Run Chicken Run- The Felice Brothers

12. Baby You're My Destiny- Taj Mahal and The Hula Blues Band

13. Alcohol- Gogol Bordello

14. It's alright to Fall- Cat Power

15. Brooklyn- Jesse Malin

16- Redemption Song- Joe Strummer

17. I feel Like a Fading Light- Kim Taylor

10- I Walk The Line- LIVE

19- To Ohio- Low Anthem

20- Do The Hokey Pokey- Tom Waits

21- Carmelita- Willie Deville

Coming up in a few weeks I will be posting a new Great Nerd Debate topic for my students to answer. I am curious to hear your response. The Great Nerd Debate is the following question: What is the all time greatest album?

The Clash- London Calling

I realize that many of these questions don’t deal particularly with your novel, but I have to admit that in the book you reference Dave Matthews as not being good music when using it to describe a character. I am a huge DMB fan! Anyways, are there any other artists or music that you just cannot get in to?

VP does not like Dave Matthews. I think he’s fine, a bit boring, but a nice man. Same for Jack Johnson, nice person, good heart. He just doesn’t move me musically. I hate L’il Wayne, most hip hop and anything Miley Cyrus does. I’m not crazy about speed metal.

Here are some additional random questions that you could answer if you feel like it (though not really necessary, but students always want me to add when I interview authors). These come from a new set of questions that students have been crafting for an upcoming challenge on my blog. They thought it would be cool to hear answers from an author.

Answer the following questions with Single Word answers.

Your Cell Phone? quacks

Your Hair? Ridiculous

Your Mother? baffling

Your Father? Musician
Your Favorite Food? French
Your Dream Last Night? Forgotten
Your Favorite Drink? French Chardonnay
Your Dream/Goal? memorable
What Room Are You In? Bedroom
Your Hobby? Cycling
Your Fear? Failure
Where Do You Want To Be In Six Years? Europe
Where Were You Last Night? Bookstore
Something That You Aren't? unkind
Muffins? never
Wish List Item? boots
Where Did You Grow Up? Canada
Last Thing You Did? spoke
What Are You Wearing? bathrobe
Your TV? off
Your Pets? goldfish
Friends? good
Your Life? interesting
Your Mood? peaceful
Missing Someone? sometimes
Vehicle? sportscar
Something You Aren't Wearing? Headphones
Your Favorite Store? Atomic Garden
Your Favorite Color? Blue
When Was The Last Time You Laughed? today
Last Time You Cried? Yesterday
Your Best Friend? Alex
One Place You Go To Over And Over Again? Movies
Facebook? begrudgingly
Favorite Place To Eat? Italy

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