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Shop Talk Tuesday with Daphne Grab

Happy Tuesday, all! Today’s interview is with Class of 2k8 member, Daphne Grab, the author of the young adult novel, Alive and Well in Prague, New York!

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Matisse Osgood is a New York City girl through and through. She buys her clothes at Andy’s Cheapies, watches indie films at The Angelika, and wouldn’t be caught dead on a hay ride. But when her father gets sick and Matisse’s parents decide to leave Manhattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles.

As Matisse trudges through life in Prague, she dreams of waking up in her apartment on West 78th St. with a father who’s well enough to walk with her in Central Park and a mother who doesn’t pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround Matisse at school, and her father’s symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she’s making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help Matisse find the strength to reach out to her father, who may not be as far from her as she thought. And one particular farm boy shows Matisse that country living is a lot more magical than she had ever imagined.

“Daphne Grab’s debut novel captures perfectly the pains and joys of a small-town high school, with a wry, observant heroine who learns that true strength must coexist with compassion.” – Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of DAIRY QUEEN and THE OFF SEASON

Welcome, Daphne! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip. First off, what’s the most regrettable hairstyle you’ve ever had?

My sister still talks about the perm I had in high school. We’re talking the late eighties so it wasn’t a good time for hair in general, but perms were particularly gruesome. My thin hair was a mass of frizzy clumps that could only be called curls by someone who wanted to be kind and didn’t mind lying. To make it worse I decided I wanted the sides a trimmed a little to get a layered look and for some insane reason I decided to do this myself. Obviously that was about the worst idea ever, so I ended up with a lopsided, fizzy-fest mullet. Those last few months of sophomore year were a dark time for me and I can’t share pictures because I later destroyed all the evidence.

Yeah, I remember my dark years. Cringe. Okay, what hair styling product can you not live without?

This is a tough one because my vanity point is my hair and I have a lot of hair products, but I’m going to go with my Aveda leave-in conditioner.

What beauty product can you not live without?

I’m in love with Jurlique products and their Herbal Recovery Gel is an essential for me.

Time for your “Hypothetical Questions of the Week:

HQ #1: For one day, time travel is a reality and you have the opportunity to visit any famous deceased author you want. Who do you pick?

This is a tough one because Jane Austen is my favorite and I love Dickens too. But I’m going to have to go with Madeleine L’Engle here because I feel like we’d have a great time hanging out. Or at least I know I would- I’d pretty much be fascinated by anything she had to say because (based on her memoirs) I love her spiritual approach to things and her ability to find joy in small things. And her books are still magical to me, even after having read each one at least a million times.

HQ #2: You magically find a $100.00 bill in your box of cereal. In what frivolous way would you spend it?

I’d head out to Silk Day Spa and get one of their massages which have ridiculous names, like Melt off the Table Massage (or something like that), but are completely blissful. The hundred wouldn’t actually cover it but it would be enough that I wouldn’t feel guilty dropping the other fifty.

HQ #3: Paparazzi are stalking you, looking for shots of odd things authors do while writing. What do they catch you doing, hmm?

Singing to my cat- it might not make the best photo but it would be a truly embarrassing video!

HQ #4: You’ve been locked in a bank vault with that guy from The Twilight Zone, so you finally have time to read! What’s the first book you crack open?

I’d go with a classic that I really want to read but never seem to get around to actually starting, like Anna Karenina.

HQ #5: If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

If I followed my career dreams of elementary school I’d be a football player in the day and a ballerina at night, which I think would be a lot of fun, though perhaps tiring. In high school I wanted to travel all over the world and I actually spent my twenties doing just that.

The Lightening Round—no more than two words per answer!

Do you . . .
Outline or wing it? Outline
Talk about works-in-progress, or keep your trap shut? Talk some
Sell by proposal or completed draft? Draft
Love to edit or cringe at the thought? Love it
Prefer writing a new book or marketing the old? Both
Write better at home or in a coffee shop? Home
Read your released book or no, I’ve read it enough? Enough

And finally, what’s your favorite . . .

Time to write? Morning
Movie? Star Wars
Book? The Color Purple
Author? Beverly Cleary
Song? Anything ABBA
Pair of shoes? Flip flops
Guiltiest pleasure? Cheesy 80’s TV
Line from a movie? “Your lack of faith disturbs me, General” – Darth Vader as he’s using the force to strangle the General

Thanks for stopping by, Daphne, and best of luck with your novel! Oh, and I love ABBA! Come on. Sing it with me: There was something in the air that night, the stars were bright, Fernando . . .

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