Friday, November 24, 2006

Twins, Marcy Dermansky

Haven't you always been interested in twins? Who grew up during the 80's reading Sweet Valley High books and thinking about which twin you would rather be, Jessica or Elizabeth? Being a twin would be so cool, you could try out different hairstyles and put makeup on each other, you would always have someone to hang out with and best of all, a partner in crime no matter what happened. Not to mention that close connection only twins can share. Just ask the Olsens.

Twins by Marcy Dermansky is about two girls, Chloe and Sue, who are beautiful blonde twins. The book is set into action by Sue convincing Chloe to get tattoos for their thirteenth birthday. Twins spans several years taking us inside the secret world of twin sisters. After reading the book, you realize that perhaps being a twin isn't so much fun.

Marcy's writing is wonderful, the book moves a long quickly and there is not a moment of boredom. I really liked it and I know you will too. I love books that explore different relationships aside from male-female. A satisfying read!

Have you always been fascinated by twins? Did you watch Full House with the Olsen twins and become motivated to write the book? I know those two little imps are incredibly inspirational.

You're right about Mary Kate and Ashley, they are inspirational. Their success is phenomenal. I love to see what they are wearing: always with the big sunglasses and the Starbucks coffee. Mary Kate and Ashley get a cameo mention in TWINS. Chloe would never want to be so closely identified to her twin sister.

But the Olsens didn't motivate me to write TWINS. I have always been fascinated with twins. The idea of having someone else look exactly like you and yet not be you is so intriguing. I loved writing the different voices in my novel. First Sue, then Chloe. Their experiences of being blond and beautiful are extremely different.

Sue's behavior was extreme. If you were a psychiatrist, how would you diagnose her? My own opinion is that she just loved Chloe so much, she herself didn't know how to handle it.

Your reading of Sue is dead-on. I think Sue is troubled, yes, maybe more than a little troubled, but not in need of diagnosis--or medication. I created the character of Smita to give Sue someone responsible and wise to talk to, someone who would understand her. Sue did not know how to handle her emotions. Her obsessiveness placed an enormous burden on Chloe.

If the book was to be made into a movie, would you want it to take place in the 70's, 80's, 90's or present day? The music from the 70's would provide an awesome soundtrack.

I would love for TWINS to be made into a movie. I could almost see the movie in my head while I was writing. I'd want the film to be set in the present day, because I wouldn't want the story to feel dated in any way -- not the clothes or the hair styles. You could still throw in some seventies music though. I think every soundtrack is better with one classic Cat Stevens tune.

The parents in the book were beyond horrible. Do you think that it is common for workaholic parents to let kids parent themselves? Were they based on anyone you know personally?

Writing TWINS, I wanted Chloe and Sue to be free to do whatever it was that they wanted to do. In Catcher in the Rye or the Harry Potter books, the heroes don't have parental rules to abide by. The easiest way for me to write my story tell was to get the parents out of the picture. Their cruelty, and then later, their absence, gives TWINS a slight fairytale quality.

The parents in TWINS aren't based on anyone I know. I especially like to repeat that in interviews, in case my parents worry that the fictional parents are a reflection on their parenting. Not at all. Unfortunately, there are horrible parents in the world--abusive, neglectful, self absorbed. I think the parents in TWINS are so upsetting in part because they do not come across (and shouldn't, I hope) as caricatures.

You were a MacDowell fellow. I'm intrigued. Tell me about MacDowell and what happens when you attend such a prestigious writers colony. How long were you there? Did you write this book during your stay?

MacDowell is a wonderful, and in many ways, dreamlike place. Poached eggs for breakfast, a beautiful private cabin in the woods, with a fireplace and a perfect little lunch delivered to your door. I was there for a month several years ago. This was before TWINS. I wrote a novella while I was at MacDowell that later won the Smallmouth Press Andre Dubus Novella prize.I only had two short stories published in obscure lit journals when I was accepted. It's a marvelous thing that in addition to supporting the creme de la creme of the art and literary world, MacDowell takes risks on unknowns.

You are also a film critic. That must be the coolest job. Do you tuck a pad of paper into your purse and take notes in the dark while watching the movies?

It is pretty cool. I love that I get to see movies before the reviews and the buzz, good or bad.
Usually, I scribble notes on the back of the press kit I am given before the film. Most of the time, my notes are so messy I can't read them. I see most films in screening rooms. Sometimes, though, I miss that movie theater experience: popcorn and trailers.

Lets talk about movies! I want to know the best movies you have seen this past year. Is it too early to talk about Oscar contenders? What is one movie that you would say I **have** to see?

It's never to early to talk Oscars. Who I think should get nominated and who gets nominated are often two very different things. I'm excited to see Soderbergh's new movie "The Good German." I hope Helen Mirren wins Best Actress for "The Queen." But then I would also be happy to see that statuette go to Penelope Cruz. She was wonderful in Pedro Almodovar's new movie "Volver." It's an amazing film, about three different generations of women, and it will make you laugh and cry.

What do you think of George Clooney being People Magazine's Sexiest Man of the Year? I'm not impressed with this years choice.

I'll have to admit, I dig George Clooney. He's such a straight shooter--and old school movie star handsome. I saw him at a press conference for "Good Night and Good Luck." Clooney was just wearing a blue polo shirt and jeans, and I was awestruck. The entire room was awestruck. He oozes charisma. Maybe you have to be in a room with him.

But that said, Clooney's gotten an awful lot of attention over the years. I think the Sexy Man mantle should be passed on to some new blood. I vote for Gael Garcia Bernal.

And last but not least, how does it feel to get so many amazing reviews for your debut novel? What will your next book be about?

It feels good, really good. For a short while I had a big ego and believed all the praise. I wish that had lasted. I'm working on my second novel. The characters are adults this time around, but that's all I can say for now. I'm scared of jinxing myself.