Today, we have a fantastic interview with YA author Nico Medina! And best of all, one lucky commenter is going to win a copy of Fat Hoochie Prom Queen, Nico's newest release that came out May 6! It looks absolutely HILARIOUS, and I already bought my own copy. I recommend you do the same!
First off, I adored The Straight Road to Kylie (where a gay teen goes back INTO the closet for killer tickets to see Kylie Minogue—hilarious premise!). You've got a wicked sense of humor and characterization, and it shows in your writing. Can you tell us a little about your newest release, Fat Hoochie Prom Queen (love that title, by the way!) and what inspired you to write it?
Okay, well, first off: Thank you! I really appreciate it. As for my dear second child, Hoochie, I can tell you that it’s about a fat, foxy, and fabulous girl named Margarita “Madge” Diaz. Madge has friends all over the school and completely loves herself and her body, but there’s just one girl who really ruffles her feather boas: top-’o’-the-cheerleading-pyramid–type Bridget Benson. I won’t give anything much away except that these two girls have one UGLY history, and during a heated argument at a house party, they decide there’s only one way to end their rivalry: be named prom queen, and other backs off for good. Throw in Madge’s adorable sidekick and right-hand homo Lucas; a cute love interest who looks really good in big polo shirts and Bass Pro Shop hats; and crazy misadventures involving seven-foot drag queens, pickup-truck water-skiing, nerve-wracking stakeout missions, and a lot of fast food, and you have Fat Hoochie Prom Queen!
That sounds like a fascinating combination of elements. haha. So, what's your writing process like? Show us a day in the life of Nico Medina.
Well, lately a day in the life of Nico Medina involves little or no writing whatsoever! Just commuting from Brooklyn into the city for my day job (I copyedit children’s books for Penguin), maybe a little dinner or happy hour after, then hanging out in our yard and playing with the pug and/or some cable.… It’s been a busy couple of years with these two books, so I’m taking a breather. (A breather that is actually ending soon….)
But as for my process…hrm… It’s sort of all over the place. First, I brainstorm. Either solo or with my boyfriend—he’s always full of good ideas and really helps get my creative juices flowing. Then I scrawl out a very loose outline in my journal, using indicators and weird little hints that I feel like only I can decipher. (Sometimes, later, even I can’t decipher them!) At first, I only outline the first few chapters, and see where the writing (or typing, rather) takes me. As I get more of the story down, that’s usually when I outline all the way to the end, to keep myself on task. But then comes the writing group and revision, and then all that crap changes!
You know, lots of people who write about high school have really crazy stories they remember (e.g., I once ate 6 hot dogs at a band camp gathering—yeah, don't ask). Can you tell us an amusing anecdote from when you were in school?
Don’t ask? How can I not ask?! Did you have to soak them in water first, to get them down the ol’ gullet? Hopefully there was no vomit involved….
Anyway, high-school anecdotes? Well, since the craziest stories I remember off the top of my head mostly took place in college, I’ll tell you about something that happened the summer between graduation HS and starting college and just count it as a high-school experience. Um, okay, so this was in my semi-goth days. (Well, to be fair, I always enjoyed my black clothing and spike necklaces, but I also had a weird assortment of Hawaiian, vintage, and ringer shirts, and all sorts of weird-material wide-leg pants…so my fashion “sense” was sorta all over the place.) Anyway, so two of my friends and I were bored one day and decided to make a music video to Marilyn Manson’s “Sweet Dreams.” Our shooting locations included a cemetery, my friend’s apartment-complex parking lot, and an abandoned house in the woods about forty minutes outside Orlando. Looking back on it, it was totally stupid, trekking through the woods and going into an abandoned house full of broken windows, spiders, and BATS (!!!)—but I’ll give us credit for coming to our senses and getting the hell out of there when we were on our way up to the third floor and saw someone’s jacket on the staircase! Um, can anyone say “ax-wielding psycho transient”?!?!? God, that was stupid. Don’t try this at home…. It was totally creepy, though, especially considering on our drive out there, we saw a car on FIRE off the side of the highway. Ugh. So take bats flying through a house, embarrassing fishnets and other Hot Topic atrocities, and a burning car, and you have a pretty decent amateur music video. I still have it. I’m gonna destroy it now, so no one ever sees it.
Hah, you wish--I must see that video! So, what "group" did you hang with in school? Do you think hanging with that group influenced your writing?
I’m not sure we were a defined group. I think it was just that group of fifteen or so girls who accepted me as one of their own! Haha! I mean, I wasn’t out (or completely aware that I was gay) till freshman year of college. But all my closest friends were girls (I had a few guy friends but not many) and we were pretty run-of-the-mill—not top-tier popular or bottom-rung losers. We weren’t cheerleaders, jocks, computer nerds, or anything like that. I mean, we all did various sports or clubs, but we were pretty much just a group of kids who liked to hang out—day trips to the beach, excursions to the theme parks, hotel-room parties on spring break, dinners, movies, slumber parties, Taboo!, making funny videos…y’know. Normal-kid stuff. Is that normal-kid stuff? J
I think normal's overrated, anyway. haha. What was your favorite cafeteria meal—did you dig the unnaturally square pizza as much as I did?
Anytime I got lunch money from my parents, I’d make it through the school day with a bag of chips (usually Cheetos) and a can of soda, then I’d get home and have ramen and a salad and watch Rosie O’Donnell and get really excited about the two or three bucks I’d just “made.” Cafeteria food at my school scared me, but when I actually did get cafeteria food, it was a Subway sandwich, which I don’t think really counts.
Yeah, I agree with you. So, are you working on any projects right now? When can we expect another book? (Read: Rhonda is greedy for more tales. Haha)
Funny you should ask—there’s a new project I’m supposed to be working on right now! Hahaha. Procrastination is my best friend lately. Anyway, I can’t divulge much info at this point, but my boyfriend (writer-poet Billy Merrell) and I are collaborating on something. It’s gonna be pretty different from my first two books, but in a good way. The plot, the setting, and the process are all gonna be major challenges, but we’re up for them. Stay tuned…
I sure will! Okay, time to dish--what's something you can share with the Fictionista readers that no one else knows about you?
That I probably gained ten pounds during the writing of Fat Hoochie Prom Queen. I was on a post-advance-money high, and it was a period of particular excess. It was also winter, so there was the winter-fat factor. And there was also the fact that the book’s protagonist was all about treating herself to what she wanted—so that leaves the question: Was this art imitating life, or vice versa? Haha!
And last but not least, where can we find you online?
At http://nicomedina.com. I’m also at http://www.myspace.com/nicomedina, but I try to only accept friend-requests if I get a message first. Just something that tells me that a) that you’re not trying to sell me ringtones or nudie pictures, and b) that you’re not just out to beef up your friend count. (If you can’t tell from this, I’m kinda sick of MySpace—so I also have Facebook...but don’t bother “poking” or “super-poking” me. I think that’s kind of crass.)
Thank you so much for stopping by, Nico! We appreciate your time!
Readers, don't forget to comment today to get your name in the drawing for a chance to win a copy of Fat Hoochie Prom Queen!