Without further ado, here is a fantastic interview with the lovely HEATHER DEMETRIOS, author of the forthcoming novel BAD ROMANCE!
BAD ROMANCEAuthor: Heather Demetrios
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co
Publication Date: June 13, 2017
Grace wants out. Out of her house, where her stepfather wields fear like a weapon and her mother makes her scrub imaginary dirt off the floors. Out of her California town, too small to contain her big city dreams. Out of her life, and into the role of Parisian artist, New York director—anything but scared and alone.
Enter Gavin: charming, talented, adored. Controlling. Dangerous. When Grace and Gavin fall in love, Grace is sure it's too good to be true. She has no idea their relationship will become a prison she's unable to escape.
Deeply affecting and unflinchingly honest, this is a story about spiraling into darkness—and emerging into the light again.
Where do you like to write?Heather Demetrios: I usually write in my office. I live in a tiny 2-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn and I’ve tricked out my office so that it’s filled with things that inspire me. And the walls are green! I also have corkboards up for every book I’m working on, with pictures and quotes and such that inspire me.
Why do you write for younger audiences?Heather Demetrios: I had a tough time growing up. I came from a broken home and we were broke. Books were my escape. They were vitally important to my well-being and allowed me to dream big. I wanted to write for teens that need an escape, or that need to be seen, or that want to know more about the world and their place in it.
Describe BAD ROMANCE in 10 words or less.
Heather Demetrios: My raw, bloody, broken heart. True Fiction. Unflinching. Battle cry.
What have you learned through writing your other novels that you incorporated into writing BAD ROMANCE?
Heather Demetrios: I learned that telling our stories is the most important thing we can do. The book that has meant the most to people was my most autobiographical one – I’ll Meet You There. This one is in that vein. I learned to take risks. This book felt dangerous to me. It was really hard to write, but I knew it would be worth it.
What was the hardest part about writing BAD ROMANCE?
Heather Demetrios: Facing my past. In order to prep for the book, I re-read the journals I kept while I was in my own bad romance. It was really hard to relive all that pain. To see how little I valued myself, how scared I was to be alone, how confused I was. It was painful to see all the shit I put up with. I just wanted to reach into the past and give teen Heather a big hug and whisper to her all the amazing things she’d get to do after high school. Much of what you will read is made-up or altered in order to protect people’s identity and, in some cases, heighten drama. But fiction can be more authentic, more true, than reality, right?
How did you get an authentic voice for this novel? What type of research did you do?
Heather Demetrios: As I mentioned, I re-read my own journals. No other research was necessary, since I lived a life that is very parallel to Grace’s. The authentic voice wasn’t too hard – it’s teen Heather if she were more clever, more of a badass. In some cases, there are exact lines from my diaries. Writing in second person was somehow the only way I could write this book – as though Grace is writing a long letter to Gavin, detailing their relationship. An autopsy, if you will.
What advice would you give to someone who is in a toxic relationship and is unsure about how to get out?
Heather Demetrios: First, go to the Bad Romance website. I’ve got tons of resources on there for you, a break-up playlist, inspiration, quotes, and more. There are help lines you can call, a quiz you can take to see if you’re in an unhealthy relationship, and just tons of info. I made it for you.
The most important advice I can give you is to CHOOSE YOU. You might love the hell out of his boy. He might be super sweet sometimes. Things might be so crappy at home that you’d rather be with him. You might feel like he’s the only person that really loves you and the thought of breaking up with him would be like eating off your own arm. I was there, I totally get it. Here’s the thing: the world is big and beautiful and it is your freaking oyster, but if you stay in a toxic relationship, you lose out on all the awesome that could happen. Because there is someone out there who will treat you like the badass warrior ninja goddess you are. Because you don’t need a dude to know that you have value and deserve real, true love and happiness and someone who makes you feel good about yourself. You deserve better than some douchebag who makes you feel bad about yourself, who puts you down, who is crazy jealous, who physically or emotionally beats the crap out of you. So, #chooseyou: your happiness, your future, your heart.
When Heather Demetrios isn't traipsing around the world or spending time in imaginary places, she lives with her husband in New York City. Originally from Los Angeles, she now calls the East Coast home. Heather has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is a recipient of the PEN New England Susan P. Bloom Discovery Award for her debut novel, Something Real. Her other novels include Exquisite Captive, the first in the Dark Caravan Cycle fantasy series, I'll Meet You There, and Bad Romance. Find out more about Heather and her books at www.heatherdemetrios.com.
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