CHAPTER SIX, IN WHICH I GET A MUSICAL TOOTHBRUSH
I had lunch with my erstwhile agent, Daphne Unfeasible, today. It was a glorious summer-like day here in New York (thank you, global warming!). We sat at an outdoor café on Park Avenue behind a table full of priests.
I always feel kind of smugly content when I’m near a lot of priests, because I think, “Yeah, I was kind of Catholic once.” But, you know, not. I sort of want to talk to priests to see if I still have the magic. I was really good at pretending to be Catholic. It was my number one skill, well, right behind my excellent impression of a seagull.
Anyway, so we’re at lunch, and clearly, we were wearing the invisibility cloak, because our waitress forgot us many times over an hour. She forgot our drinks, and she forgot the sugar, and she forgot our silverware. We were just not the droids she was looking for. (Pow! Two nerdy references! I am en fuego!)
So, there we were, in the sun, eating and looking at priests and generally being ignored and talking Unfeasible Enterprises business. Plus, I was getting all kinds of exciting texts from Justine Larbalestier about the fabulous things that are happening on Scott’s Extras tour (Extras is also en fuego. I have not yet read Extras. I am saving it for a plane trip next week. Spoilers will be EXECUTED.)
Daphne turned to me with that beguiling, agenty smile of hers and said, “Rexroth sent you a present.”
A present? For me? From her finance, the dapper Rexroth Implausible, owner of Dizzy and Jake?
“You will like it,” she said. “In fact, you will become overstimulated.”
“Nonsense,” I said, waving my hand. “I am always the soul of composure. You must be mistaking me for someone else.”
She proceeded to pull from her bag THE SINGLE GREATEST THING I HAVE EVER GOTTEN.
It was a musical toothbrush that plays “We’re all in this together” from High School Musical. Here is the description, right from the package:
Rock your teeth clean – and encourage better brushing habits! – with this exciting toothbrush that lets you hear one of your favorite songs while you brush! Sound vibrations stream from the bristles through your teeth – so you can actually hear music inside your head!
Think about that! The sounds of High School Musical inside of your head, vibrating in your skull, using it as an echo chamber. If I use this thing twice a day, every day, I am pretty sure I can reorganize my DNA structure.
I have yet to open and experience the toothbrush, I am thinking that I will wait until tomorrow and maybe make a little movie about it. Would you watch such a film? Do you have any questions about the toothbrush?
Speaking of questions . . . I am still keeping up with ASK MJ month. So here we go.
QUESTIONS ABOUT FAMOUS PEOPLE
I was just watching Meg Cabot on The Today Show recently and she mentioned that she uses gossip sites as a reward for writing (she also mentions TV shows, etc.) I was wondering if you have a “reward system” for sitting down and writing? If so, what types of things do you use for rewards when working on something?
It’s going to sound like I’m bragging, but we worked with Meg this week, and she was telling us about her appearance on the Today Show the day before. We were talking about this.
I do reward myself. The rewards vary in size and kind. To be honest, the final days of working on a book get so ridiculous, that the rewards kind of get to the, “If you finish this chapter, you can have a SHOWER” level. I only wish I was kidding. Some of the rewards I used the other week while finishing up chapters and sections of Suite Scarlett were:
- I was allowed to walk to the health food store for a carrot juice
- I was allowed to walk to the mailbox
- I could have toast
- I could do the dishes
- I could watch fifteen minutes of television
- I could Swifter the floor
Sadly, all of these are true. I also tend to get a lot of fun manicures when I’m on a big writing stint, because I get really sick of looking at my hands. So I get a really fun color. I also go to this crazy massage place that does this amazing, kind of agonizingly painful massage. It’s a brutal hour, but it completely fixes you up if your muscles are a mess from the sitting and typing.
I’m not sure if I’ve ever gotten myself a really BIG reward. If you have any suggestions for one that I could get when I finish Suite Scarlett completely and totally (the final edits start tomorrow), please leave them in the comments!
I ask again: WHERE IS FREE MONKEY?!
Thank you for asking. I have been meaning to explain his whereabouts for a while. As you may remember, Free Monkey was on a world tour to promote Girl At Sea, as well as peace and understanding. He got lost once, coming back from Bartlesville, Oklahoma. When he finally turned up a week later, I was falling over myself with relief. I took him to England and sent him to The Netherlands from there. And then, HE NEVER CAME BACK.
You can imagine my state. I was frantic with worry. Weeks went by. I had all but given up hope. And then one day, out of the blue, he turned up next to the front door of the London Office. We will be reunited in a few weeks time. Because of these traumas, I suspended the tour. Sending him out again is simply too risky. I hope you understand.
QUESTIONS ABOUT ZOMBIES AND WEREWOLVES
There has been a zombie invasion. Hordes of the undead roam the land in search of delicious brains. You have sought refuge on a small island, but the zombies could arrive at any moment, necessitating some major defensive action on your part. You can only have three of your characters by your side during this battle royale. Who would they be and why?
Now, this is the kind of question I fully approve of! Clearly, you are taking the prospect of the Coming Zombie Invasion seriously. I am ready with an answer. 1. Jane Jarvis, for reasons that are obvious to anyone who has read Devilish (experienced demon fighter). 2. Scarlett, from Suite Scarlett (for reasons that will become obvious when and if you read Suite Scarlett), and 3. Parker from The Bermudez Triangle (because he would be the first to run from zombies, and you know they go after whoever runs first).
So I want to know, do you have a zombie plan? 37 zombie plans? Will you share it with us? I’m still working on mine.
I have at least 37 zombie plans, but I cannot put them here. The zombies have been trolling the internet for some time, reading up on us and our preparations. Suffice it to say, I am ready. You are talking to a girl who spent most of her formative years lying in bed at night, devising escape strategies in her head for just such occasions.
You should be spending all of your free time working on yours. The day is coming.
As is my duty as the leader of the newly formed (think yesterday) Lobby For More Awesome YA Werewolf Novels, I ask you, would you ever be interested in writing a werewolf book?
It is not out of the question that such a thing might happen.
QUESTIONS ABOUT WRITING
so do you have a time limit on all of your books? what if you can’t finish one by a certain time and it comes out crap? (not that yours ever would..)
*just laughs nervously for about fifteen minutes while pointing to this post*
WHO SENT YOU??????
I was wondering when you write a book, do you – before you send it to your editor – rewrite it until you are satisfied with it? As a whole I mean, rather than rewriting each chapter everytime you write one (which I understand some writers do).
I do everything I can in the time I have. If I waited until I was satisfied, I wouldn’t have any books out at all. In fact, Suite Scarlett is the first time that Daphne hasn’t gotten a frantic, late-night phone call about a week before the deadline, in which I outline my plans to change my name, get a forged passport, and run away to Portugal to makes hats out of cork.
No one I know hasn’t had a screaming, insane run until the end of at least one book. Justine Larbalestier barricaded herself inside to finish Magic’s Child. Scott Westerfeld toughed out every last second until Extras was done with a chart of days and hours left hanging next to him at all times. I think Libba Bray was airlifted out of the ending of A Sweet, Far Thing.
Are you planning on writing other non Suite Scarlett books while working on the series or are you just going to focus on Scarlett for a while?
There are other things in the transom. Scarlett is the main focus right now. I’m well geared up to plunge into book two—and I will, just as soon as I finish the final, final, final edits of Suite Scarlett. But there will be other things! You can’t stop me! I have a musical toothbrush!
Have any of your books been optioned to be movies yet, or has there been any interest at all?
Every once in a while, someone writes to me and tells me that someone in Hollywood is kind of interested in my books, or that they are someone in Hollywood who is kind of interested. Only The Key to the Golden Firebird was optioned, and there was a script for it, but that was it. It could happen at any time. I will likely be the last to know.
The whole books-into-movies thing . . . it’s all a bit mysterious (unless you make movies, in which case, you probably understand the process quite well and are stumped by something else, like how cheese is made). As far as I can see, Hollywood is kind of like a cat. Sometimes it comes lurking around, cuddling up to you, purring at you—but it could just as easily ignore you or hide under the sofa. It may come, seeking your shiny thing, and it may leave you payment in return (a dead mouse, a check), and then it scoots off and carries out its private business, and you will never really know what it is doing.
Unlike cats, Hollywood does not eat yarn, scratch at posts, or chew its own feet. There may be other differences, but I am unaware of them.
I promise you this . . . if there is ever a movie in the works, I will personally come to all of your houses and tell you.
More questions? You know where to put them.
Posted: Friday, October 5th, 2007 @ 5:31 am
Categories: Suite Scarlett, high school musical, toothbrushes, zombies.
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