Thursday, July 31, 2008

Interview with RITA Finalist Rosemary Clement-Moore

Rosemary Clement-Moore's PROM DATES FROM HELL is nominated for the "Best First Book" Rita. But because it's a YA book, we are including her in our interview series. :)

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I guess the most interesting thing about me is that I come from a theatre background, which influences the way I write. My method, as it were. I'm a total girly girl, but you wouldn't know it because I live in jeans and tees and flip-flops. It's sort of an effort over inclination thing. I love books (duh), Guitar Hero (and Rock Band, because I like to play the drums), embroidery and crossword puzzles, Sci-Fi movies and the History Channel, embroidery, sailing, horses and whatever shiny thing has lately caught my eye.

AB: How did you get the inspiration for your Rita-nominated book?

RCM: I'd been reading this book called "No Plot, No Problem" by the guy who started the NaNoWriMo phenomenon. There are a lot of tricks in there for turning off your inner editor and just writing a book. One is to make a list of your favorite things in books, whether they're favorite themes or elements or tropes. No matter how silly or clich├ęd they might seem, write them down. (For example, I adore stories about a girl who has to disguise herself as a boy and go to war or avenge her father, or whatever, a la Zane Grey novels, or the movie Mulan.)

Anyway, besides the Mulan thing, my favorite things in books are smart, sassy heroines, the "girl detective" motif (a la Nancy Drew and Veronica Mars), and stories where supernatural things hide just under the surface of seeming very mundane events. (Like the evil law firm in "Angel" is really run by demons.)

Ta da! Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil was born. Sassy girl detective investigates supernatural mysteries. (She doesn't have to disguise herself as a boy, though. At least, not yet.)

AB: What authors do you read?

RCM: I'll read just about anyone, and as a new author myself, I try and grab up other new authors in my favorite genres, which are primarily fantasy and romance of the suspense, paranormal and comedic varieties. My long time love affair authors (i.e., the ones that I can see on my bookshelf without getting up) are: Madeleine L'Engle, Robin McKinley, Jane Austen, Anne McCaffrey, C.S. Forester, Meg Cabot, Jim Butcher, Jasper Fforde? and then the couch is in the way.

AB: Who is your favorite character?

RCM: Maggie Quinn, psychic girl detective, narrator of Prom Dates From Hell. But also Hermione Granger, Nancy Drew, Aerin (from Hero and the Crown), F'lar from Dragonriders of Pern (first literary crush), Harry Dresden (recent literary crush), Meg Murray, Jo March and Elizabeth Bennett (who is on everyone's list, I think).

AB: What five things are always in your purse?

RCM: Pen and notebook, lip gloss, cell phone, Advil, driver?s license.

AB: What music are you currently listening to?

RCM: A random and unedited peek at my iPod reveals: Sara Bareilles, Sarah MacLachlan, Death Cab for Cutie, The Veronicas, David Cook, Lyle Lovett, Great Big Sea and? um? Miley Cyrus.

AB: Tell us about your pets.

RCM: I've had an attrition of pets over the last few years. There's my mother's infamous sausage dog (Mom lives with me, which means that the fat little wiener is part of my pack, but not to the extent I can put her on a diet. The dog, not my mother.) And my dog, Princess Lizzibelle Ittybittydog. Arguably the cutest dog ever. Lizzie is my constant companion and frequently features in my blog. (

AB: One item of makeup you can't live without.

RCM: Lip gloss. And zit cream.

AB: First thing you dirnk in the morning.

RCM: Coffee. And then some coffee. And finally some coffee.

AB: Best/worst prom/high school memory.

RCM: Oh my god. I had such a crush on this guy who was one of my circle of friends. When I found out he'd invited this total witch (she (probably) wasn't, but perspective is everything) to the prom, I was right in the middle of class and I could NOT stop crying! It was humiliating. Not the prom thing, but the fact that my tear ducts had just opened up and no reasoning with them would make them stop leaking! I was much more upset about crying than I was by the precipitating event. I think I said I was sick and ran to the bathroom, but my crush was a secret to no one (except the guy in question? I hope), so everyone knew why I was being such a weenie!

AB: If you could go back in time and talk to the teenage you, what would you tell her?

RCM: Don't be afraid to do what you want to do. Also, falling on your face isn't nearly as awful as you think it's going to be, so just take the risk.

AB: What are you working on next?

RCM: I've got two sequels to Prom Dates From Hell coming out soon. Hell Week (August 26th!), where in Maggie goes undercover at Sorority Rush, and runs into a sorority that's in league with the devil, and Highway to Hell (Maggie and D&D Lisa face the chupacabra) in the spring. I'm currently working on a gothic romance -- something completely different!

Thanks for coming to chat with us, Rosemary!
Readers...remember to post a comment to be entered to win a bag of books. The more comments you post this week, the more chances to win!


  1. Rosemary, great interview! I feel for you with the prom thing - that would be devastating. Thank God I had no interest in that (why would I want to hang out at a dance with people who made fun of me all day, every day of my life?), but I did have a crush on a popular boy, so that was tough. (But I did get the boy - for awhile, at least - about six or so years after high school; he was my first true love.) and I agree with the coffee, coffee, coffee. I think I'm on my third coffee as I write...

  2. Great Interview Rosemary! I also had a crush on the popular guy incident. And I loved your story on how you got your idea! Now I can't feel so guilty for my obsession on books on writing! Laughing.

  3. Just the title of your book is intriguing, Rosemary! While I didn't have a prom date from hell (I was actually the hellish half of the duo), I'd love to read this! Adding it to my wish list, too. :P

  4. Great interview! I loved Rosemary's answers- they were pretty funny. :)

    I have yet to read her books, but I've got Prom Dates from Hell in my TBR pile, and I can't wait to get around to it!

  5. Hello, Fictionistas. My first post here. I picked up your card from the Goody room. I'll be back for more comments post-conference.

  6. my best friend hooked me up with a sophmore for a date...

    then ten years later... I find out that the two of them are dating!

    How is that for weird!

  7. Hi Rosemary. Great interview. I love the title of your book. It sounds wonderful.

  8. Man, you ladies are making me so glad I skipped the prom.

    Another wonderful interview!

  9. Sequels! Yay! I hoped there would be one and kept looking once the pb came out . . . and now I know there's going to be two.

    I also love books in which the girl must crossdress.

  10. Haha, good thing we didn't have a prom at my school. I was spared a loooot of potential bad memories, it seems. ^_^

  11. Hi Rosemary,

    Your books sound great...I will have to pick up Prom Dates From Hell and I am already anticipating the next ones. They sound like something my daughter would like although only being 11 she may too young. Nancy Drew is one of her favorites.

    Oh the joys of the high school crush!

  12. I'd give my teenage self that advice, too. :)

  13. HEy Fictionistas! Thanks so much for interviewing me for your blog. I love this site, and I loved getting to meet you all in person this past week.

    Lori T., I've had some 11 year olds who have loved the book, but I recommend 12 and up to be safe. Except for a couple of curse words (no F-bombs in this one, though there is one in Hell Week) it's actually tamer than prime time TV!