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Shop Talk Tuesday with Deborah Davis

Happy Tuesday! Today we have Deborah Davis joining us in the beauty shop! Deborah is the author of the contemporary novel NOT LIKE YOU, (Clarion, 2007), which just received a starred review in School Library Journal (9/1/07 issue). It’s about a 15-year-old girl who is fed up with taking care of her alcoholic mother. Is Kayla willing to do what it takes to create the life she wants for herself—even if it means leaving her mother behind?

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Welcome, Deborah ! Grab some coffee, get comfy in the beautician’s chair, and let’s get down to the gossip.

What’s the most regrettable hairstyle you’ve ever had? Any mullets? Rat tails?

As a high school sophomore I was in the chorus in a musical and I was supposed to be kind of sleazy and sexy. One day at rehearsal I braided my long hair and wrapped each braid into a bun on either side of my head. I thought it made me look sexy and sophisticated. An older guy I had a crush on took one look at me and said, “Hey, you look just like Heidi!” So much for achieving my seductive dancer persona—or a date with that hot senior. BTW, if you can guess what musical I was in, you can win a copy of NOT LIKE YOU. Go to my web site (or this blog entry) for details.

Hmm, I have a few guesses. Okay, have you ever had a major hair or salon disaster?

When I was two my three-year-old sister cut off my blond curls so close to my scalp that my mom thought she’d used our dad’s razor. Nope—just mom’s sewing shears. My sister did a pretty good job, except for snipping just a bit of my ear. Over the next year, whenever someone took a photo of me, my mom made me wear a hat. I think it was much more of a disaster for my mom than for me, though I imagine I wasn’t too happy about wearing all those hats.

Ouch! How long have you been with your current stylist and what are your appointment conversations like—chatty and personal, or quiet and professional?

I’ve been with the same stylist for about a year and a half, and we’ve gotten pretty personal. I’m not always good at staying superficial when someone seems interesting to me.

What kind of hairstyle did you have in high school?

I wore my hair long—below the middle of my back—parted in the middle, and often straightened by wearing huge rollers or ironing it. Sometimes I put it into two braids.

In my novel, the ladies have fun answering the “Hypothetical Questions of the Week” from their favorite tabloid. So here are some for you:

HQ #1: If you could hit the rewind button, which book published by another author do you wish you could have written? Which movie screenplay?

To Kill a Mockingbird. Doesn’t everyone want to write that well? Screenplay: Casablanca.

HQ #2: If I asked the members of your critique group who you’re most like when critiquing manuscripts, would they choose Randy Jackson, Paula Abdul or Simon Cowell?

Sometimes I’m straightforward like Randy, and sometimes I’m encouraging, warm, and fuzzy like Paula. I also have plenty of Simon-like moments, but I try to keep those to myself.

HQ #3: If you followed the career path you chose for yourself in high school, what would you be doing for a living now?

I’d either be a lawyer or a doctor or I’d have some sort of job that involved lots of traveling, heroic acts of service toward humanity, and poignant farewells. Or all of the above.

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

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

And finally, what’s your favorite . . .
Time to write?
10 am to 2:00 pm
Movie? Kids’ movie: Fly Away Home. Grown-up movie: Don’t have a favorite—too many to pick. Recently liked: The Lives of Others. Little Miss Sunshine. Orange County.
Book? Charlotte’s Web
Author? Again—too many favorites. Marcus Zusak. Dostoevsky. E.B. White. Dr. Seuss… Garcia Marquez. A Nigerian writer I just discovered named Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Jose Saramago.
Song? It changes weekly. This week: Despite Our Differences by Indigo Girls
Pair of shoes? My red Keens.
Guiltiest pleasure? $6 per bar dark chocolate
Line from a movie? I can’t recall it exactly, but Joan Cusak’s line in School of Rock about not putting the peanut butter thingies next to the cheese thingies . . .

Thanks so much, Deborah, and a major congrats for your SLJ starred review! And I’m soon going to be sending you my guess for which musical you were in . . .

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