Thank you so much for hosting me, Belle! I loved these questions and hope I did them justice!
What was your inspiration for the idea of The End of the World As We Know It?
I wanted to write something that felt like the John Hughes movies I grew up with -- Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink. Those movies have stuck with me, I think because they so effortlessly blended humor with characters that felt real (but just slightly better than real.) The End of the World As We Know It started as a book where the four main characters were just trapped together for the night, which is a hellacious enough scenario in high school when you're all from different social strata and don't get along. But I needed something bigger. The stakes just weren't high enough. Add a deadly alien attack and -- voila! -- stakes now high enough.
(LOVE all these movies!)
What 3 other people from your life would you want with you at The End of The World?
Only three? This question makes me nervous! I’m going to put a disclaimer on it for my loved ones and just say that even if you didn’t make it into this list, it doesn’t mean I would not come and find you. (However, I'm crap at finding things so maybe that's terrible of me.)
That said, I need my husband, because I’m figuratively and literally lost without him. Seriously, I can’t find my way out of the mall without him. Next has to be my son Clark. He’s only two and semi-destructive in his own right but he’s adorable and funny and, come on, fruit of my loins. Plus, I’m a neurotic enough parent that if he weren't with me, I'd be so distracted and preoccupied I'd walk right into a giant fissure in the earth. Number three would be any of the children’s librarians from my hometown library (in Oak Lawn, Illinois, on the south side of Chicago.) They were always so willing to help me with anything I needed – librarians rule that way – and how could you not want that at the end of the world?
Which of your 4 main characters do you think you are most like?
I think there are threads of me in all of them. Yes, even Teena. But most like? I've said before I'm like the love child of Sarabeth and Leo, but I definitely lean toward being more a Sarabeth. I was always a good student and a bit of a loner. However, Leo's voice is probably most mine. I think I’m somewhat observant and, more importantly, I, too, like to make jokes at inappropriate intervals.
If The End of The World As We Know It actually occurred what kind of role do you think you would play post-Earth? (i.e. Leader, thinker, sitting in the corner and crying, etc. ￼ )
Of course I want to say I’d be some amazing badass (Can I say badass? Or is bada** preferred?), with the post-apocalyptic wardrobe to boot. However, I'm a bit of a daydreamer and have a short attention span so it's more likely I'm the person in the corner, not crying but semi-useless. Though I like to think that I'd also be the one who -- when all hope is lost -- says something random like, "Every koala falls from its tree once in a while" that leads the more capable people to latch onto a plan and think I'm brilliant.
Maybe I can have a badass wardrobe for doing that, too?
I loved how each individual was so uniquely characterized, did you base them off of friends or people you know in real life?
I’m so glad you liked them – I do, too. Weirdly, I know that everyone and thing influences me, but I never knowingly try to use a person I know in real life as the basis for a character. I think there are all these bits and pieces and thoughts floating in my head and those particles find each other and grow into a character. Certainly, some of those particles must have originated with people I know but I feel lucky that when I’m developing characters it always feels a little magical and not tied to the real world at all.
Your italicized interludes that spoke directly to the reader were so unique and completely hilarious! How and why did you decide you needed those in the book?
Thank you!!! I wrote the first interlude as an exercise for myself during the early stages of the book, back when it was just about the party and had no aliens. I wanted a sort of omniscient look at the high school social structure and this sort of knowing, insider-y voice. The early versions are all on old files – and they’re much longer and kind of fun outtakes, actually about Teena's invites finding their way across a very clique-y cafeteria.
Then, as the book developed, I kept writing interludes because I was switching point-of-views, and I wanted at least one voice that talked directly to the reader. And then that voice came in so handy as I wrote.
Fangirl question: If you were at the end of the world, which Facebook group would you join? Leo is hotter or Evan is hotter? :)
Oh boy… I feel like I’m choosing between children – and that’s pretty gross. BUT… I can take a step back and if I distance myself, I’d have to go with Leo. I can’t resist a good sense of humor, plus he knows how to make pizza.
More importantly, who would you pick, Belle? :)
(Leo...totally Leo, sexy sci-fi geek=Heaven)
And I always like to ask these few questions of any author I get to talk to :)
What books have you read recently that you have absolutely loved?
I confess that this year I feel so lame because I’ve only read 26 books (as of this writing on Dec. 16), unless you count reading the same Richard Scarry book 100 times as individual books. Toddler plus full-time job plus writing means I’m behind. But I think I’ve become better at picking books because time is so tight. I loved Anna and the French Kiss, The Art of Fielding, and oh my gosh, The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks is amazing. Everyone should read that book. I read my son bigger-kid books at bedtime, and I’ve been loving everything Roald Dahl ever wrote. He never talked down to kids.
I've also become hooked on all the great books from women comedians, like Tina Fey's Bossypants and Mindy Kaling's Is Everybody Hanging Out without Me? I need more like that.
If you ask me this question next year, I hope to have a bigger list. In the meantime, I encourage people to friend me on GoodReads and recommend books for my ever-growing to-read pile. I have so many I want to get to next year, but that doesn’t mean I’ll stop adding to the list. Yes, I'm an addict.
Are there any specific books or authors growing up that inspired you to become a writer?
Well, I wasn’t the kid who knew she wanted to be a writer from a young age, not because I didn’t want to but because I didn’t really know it was something one could just do. But, I have writers from my childhood who I loved and wish I still wish to emulate. Judy Blume, Jerry Spinelli, Christopher Pike, R.L. Stine. I devoured everything they ever did. I also was obsessed with joke books and MAD magazine and I think that’s what gave me my taste for comedy. I lived on that stuff. I could pore over MAD magazine for hours.
I think the biggest influence wasn't books in specific but books and reading in general. I'd see my parents reading a lot -- my mom would read a romance novel in a day or two, even with two kids. When you see an adult read so much, you kind of want to know what the big deal is. Then you start reading and find out. My mom took me to the library a lot and let me roam the shelves freely. To this day, I feel both calmed and excited in the presence of lots of books.
If you could host a dinner party and invite 5 people dead or alive, who would they be?
I think, for one, I want them all to be dead, just so no one whips out a cell phone.
Dorothy Parker -- She's hilarious, and I think we could work on an amazing sitcom together.
Alice Roosevelt -- If you haven't read about her, do. She's the daughter of Teddy Roosevelt and just cool. She's famous for having said, "If you don't have anything nice to say, come sit next to me." Can you get a better party guest than that?
Cary Grant – He’s charming, interesting, and multilayered, plus I just know he’d bring a great hostess gift.
Anne Boleyn – I feel like she and Alice Roosevelt would either really get along or would hate each other so much as to make the night interesting. And with all the royal scandals she weathered or was part of, she’d be chock-full of gossip.
Kurt Vonnegut -- He had a way of thinking about the world that was unique. I’m really anxious to read his letters. Plus, my husband would love to sit next to him.
(Oh.My.Gosh.I.Love.Anne.Boleyn. Such an amazing choice!! She would be at my dinner, too!! :) )
Top Ten Fictional Characters That Iva-Marie Palmer
Would Want With Her at the End of the World
Thank you so much for letting me drop in! I’m so excited to be on Belle of the Literati!
If the world ends tomorrow, I want to hit the books (and one TV show) for my ultimate band of co-survivors. Here are the top ten fictional characters I want by my side in the apocalypse.
Kristy, of The Babysitters Club (Ann M. Martin) – I know I’m dating myself, but when I read these books starting in 4th grade or so, she was my least favorite character for her type-A bossiness. But when it comes time for the apocalypse, I think I want a type-A boss type around.
Clifford the Big Red Dog (Norman Bridwell) -- It’s not that these are my favorite children’s books or anything. I picked Clifford because he’s a giant red dog. How can that not help?
Atticus Finch, of To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee) – He’s so principled, so moral. Such an all-around good guy (without seeming annoying, mind you.) With him around, I feel more confident that my survivor clique won’t descend into cannibalism.
(Love Atticus! So noble!)
Mr. Rochester, of Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) – He’s a brooding pessimist and likely the perfect foil to Atticus Finch. Plus, between him and Atticus, I’ve got my love triangle all figured out. (Hint: I’m one side.)
(Swooning over Mr. Rochester)
Harry Potter’s son, James Sirius Potter of The Harry Potter series (J.K. Rowling) – Aside from the genetics, you know he has something to prove. Dad’s shadow is BIG.
(I'm in love with anything Harry Potter)
Blair Waldorf, of Gossip Girl (Cecily von Ziegesar) – I feel like Blair has a ritzy apocalypse set-up somewhere and if I make her part of my team, at least the end of the world will have a full, top-shelf bar and some nice party dresses.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Joss Whedon) – I know she’s not from a book (though, she kind of is with the spin-off novels and comic books), but she is from my favorite TV show. And, I know she’s an obvious choice, given all her apocalypse experience. But, if the earth cracks open and hell beasties spill out, obvious is exactly what you need.
Frankie Landau-Banks, of The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks (E. Lockhart) – Two words: Master. Mind. When I read this brilliant book, part of my review was, “I wish Frankie was a real person so I could either be her best friend or her fiercest rival.” For the apocalypse, I’ll take her as a best friend.
Bella Swann, of the Twilight series (Stephenie Meyer) – I’m probably going to draw some fire for this, but in her pre-vampire state, there’s no question she’s the weakest link. And that means that I would not be.
(Best.Answer.Ever. Legit cackling out loud. Well played, Iva...well played)
Holden Caulfield, of The Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger) – Once in a while, I'll need someone who wants to sit on the apocalypse sidelines, not participating, and complaining that everyone else is jerks. Holden's that someone.
AND THAT'S NOT ALL!! We have a giveaway here at Belle of the Literati!! Enter below for a chance to win a copy of The End Of the World As We Know It by Iva-Marie Palmer!
Author of The End of the World as We Know It from Alloy Entertainment. It's currently available as a NOOK exclusive from Barnes and Noble. Look for it on Kindle and other e-readers on August 18.
Palmer lives in Los Angeles with her husband and son and lots of (filled) bookshelves.
For more information, check out her bio on Alloy Entertainment's official site and keep up with her at ivamariepalmer.com.