Friday 18 October 2013

Friday Feature: Author Interview with Bridget Tyler

One of my favourite contemporaries of a red hot year has been Bridget Tyler's Drummer Girl. I was thrilled to get an interview with her for the Bookbag a few months ago, but haven't had a chance to upload it here after the blogging break I took - here it is!

  •  When you close your eyes and imagine your readers, who do you see?
Bridget Tyler: Interesting question! I happen to know a lot of people of all ages and types who've read the book (and I hope there are many, many more I don't know) so I hope that it appeals to lots of different sorts of people. The amazing thing about the beautiful design job that Templar did on the book itself that it feels like it has a character all to itself when you hold it in your hands. You open the pages and you can FEEL Lucy and her friends. The book makes you want to hang out with it, and I love that.
  • I was hooked on Drummer Girl from the awesome opening pages, which see Lucy find her friend Harper dead in a swimming pool. Did you always know you were going to open with that scene, or did you ever consider starting at the beginning of the story?
BT: Actually, that scene was much longer when I started writing it. We saw Lucy show up at the house with Lucy and Iza and talked to the police before she actually saw Harper. But as I worked, I realized that we didn't need all of that. A big piece of this book rests in the developing relationship between Lucy and Harper who is equal parts mentor, friend and enemy for her. Starting with the moment that Lucy realizes that relationship is lost just felt right.
  • While Drummer Girl is your first novel, you've got a strong background in writing - particularly as a writer for hit TV series Burn Notice. What's the main difference between writing a novel and writing for TV?
BT: The words! In a novel, the words are incredibly important. They paint the world around you, create the emotions, set the pace and give the characters life. The words are important when you're writing TV as well, but in an entirely different way. The words in a TV script aren't the medium of the art form - they're a sketch that lets the cast and crew create the painting that is the show.
  • Music is at the centre of Drummer Girl, of course - but did you listen to any when writing it? If so, what's the soundtrack?
BT: Oh yes, I always listen to music while I write. For Drummer, that was a lot of rock and roll (naturally). Everything from the Beatles to No Doubt to Kate Nash to White Stripes – basically, anything with lots of energy. I love movie soundtracks too. Lately I'm very into the Avengers soundtrack, and when I'm writing intensely I pretty much just put the soundtracks of Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice on loop – it's fantastic.
  • BB: Which of the five girls from Crush is most like you?
BT: I think I'm a mix of Iza and Lucy, or at least I was when I was a teenager. I was a little on the shy and academic side, in High School, but I wasn't as reserved or sheltered as Iza is. I was more like Lucy in that respect – comfortable with who I was, even though I still didn't really know what I was capable of. That's the nice thing about looking back on high school - you realize how very much more you can be than your high school self ever expected.
  • One of my favourite characters from Drummer Girl was Alexander, the producer who becomes something of a mentor to Lucy. Which person in your life would you say has taught you the most about writing?
BT: Well I've never met him in person, but Christopher Vogler wrote a wonderful book called The Writer's Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers that really inspired me when I was in college and shaped a lot of how I look at writing and story telling. When I first read the book I emailed Mr. Vogler to tell him how much I liked it and how interested I was in the ideas he was laying out. He very kindly emailed me back with further reading suggestions. I never forgot the fact that he took the time to email me, and I've always tried to be equally open and helpful to young writers who ask me questions about the craft or my work.
  • If you could host a dinner party, which four musicians and four literary people (authors or characters) would you invite?
BT: Oh goodness, there are so many to choose from! Musicians… I'd say Paul McCartney, Beyonce Knowles, John Williams and Chopin. As for literary figures… Ann McCaffrey, William Gibson, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dashiell Hammett.
  • I'd say about three quarters of my favourite books recently have been written in first person - Drummer Girl is one of the relatively few third person reads I've really loved, partly because it jumps around so many different points of view. Who was your favourite character to write about?
BT: It's funny, I actually considered writing Drummer Girl in first person. But the other girls were all so interesting that I just had to tell their story as well as Lucy's. I think my favorite character to write was actually Iza. Her story is so full of those lovely moments of discovery and romance that it was just a joy to write. I think the scene that most affected me was Harper's finally scene, which was wonderful to write but in a totally different way.
  • What should fans of Drummer Girl be reading while they wait anxiously for more from you?
BT: I've been enjoying Kiersten White's Paranormalcy series – they're contemporary fantasy novels about a girl who discovers that she may have more in common with the “monsters” she hunts than the people she works for. They're SUPER fun, and, like Drummer Girl, they portray a very real teenage girl struggling with very ordinary teenage things, despite her extraordinary life. That's why I think Drummer Girl fans will like it!
  • What's next for Bridget Tyler?
BT: As I type this I'm in the production office for my pilot, Horizon, which we're shooting in the hopes of making it into a television show for USA Networks next year. I'm also working on my next novel, which hopefully you'll be able to read soon!

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