When Philip Digby first shows up on her doorstep, Zoe Webster is not impressed. He’s rude and he treats her like a book he’s already read and knows the ending to. But before she knows it, Digby–the odd and brilliant and somehow. . . attractive? . . . Digby–has dragged her into a series of hilarious and dangerous situations all related to an investigation into the kidnapping of a local teenage girl. A kidnapping that may be connected to the tragic disappearance of his own sister eight years ago. When it comes to Digby, Zoe just can’t say no. But is Digby a hero, or is his manic quest an indication of something else entirely? Of the one and only Digby, Kirkus said “Fast-talking, suit-wearing Digby is an exasperating teenage Sherlock—sharply observant, impatient with social niceties, and unafraid of authority figures.”
I absolutely loved Digby and Zoe; loved that they were both snarky and the adventures that they went on. I was so sad when the book ended… I wanted more!
I was asked if I’d like to share a guest post from Stephanie Tromly, so of course I jumped at the chance!
First, I’d like to say thank you for inviting me to write this post. What I’m finding is that talking about the process of writing has brought me a huge sense of relief. Writing is a solitary and lonely activity. This kind of interactive thing, on the other hand, makes me feel more in touch with people.
I like to leave the best for last so let’s start with the struggles and obstacles…
I think the main thing I struggle with is keeping things from being too dark. I grew up in Manila, was a teenager in Hong Kong, went to college in Philadelphia, and was a young adult in Los Angeles. These are not the most wholesome places. The stuff I’ve seen…is not always appropriate. Sometimes, though, I feel like a little darkness is not a bad thing. I persuaded my editors (some of the foreign ones were freaked out) to keep the subplot about the pornographer gynecologist, for example. I mean, it’s an extremely disturbing plot point but you know…it happened and it was in the newspaper. I can’t put it any better than Cher Horowitz (OMG someone just told me I had to say Cher is from Clueless–do I really have to?!) when she said:
“So, okay. The Attorney General says there’s too much violence on TV, and that should stop. Even if you took out all the violent shows, you could still see the news. So until mankind is peaceful enough not to have violence on the news, there’s no point in taking it out of shows that need it for entertainment value.”
Striking a balance between telling the truth and horrifying people is a constant struggle for me. I’m a nightmare to have at dinner tables that have kids present, by the way. My brother has two kids and he’s constantly shouting me down midsentence.
The fun parts? So many fun parts. I enjoyed going back and remembering my own crazy times. I loved turning real people and real events from my life into fiction. When I started writing, I didn’t know if it would become anything that people outside my immediate circle of friends and family would ever read. I would write a few pages and then email them around for us to have a laugh. It was all so casual…that was really fun.
Writing was also my escape. Do you know that geese molt their wing feathers and are unable to fly while their goslings are maturing? Well, when my kid was born, I felt like an earthbound goose. I started writing about Zoe and Digby because I felt closedin and mushbrained. I wrote with pen and paper, in bed, in the dark. When Zoe and Digby ran around River Heights, I felt free and young and crazy again. There’s a part in Nabucco (a gorgeous opera that you should YouTube right now if you haven’t already heard it) where the chorus of Hebrew slaves sings the line, “Fly, thought, on wings of gold”…even now, that’s what going to River Heights feels like for me.
A big thank you to Stephanie Tromly for writing this post and to Penguin for the opportunity to read the book and share this post. Trouble is a Friend of Mine will be out on August 4th!
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You said something that really struck me. An "ah-ha" moment.
"Writing is a solitary and lonely activity."
As a young writer, I really excelled. I spent many days/nights locked in my room, unbothered, to write, write, write. When I moved out of my parents house I stopped writing for several years. The past few years I have tried picking writing back up but have not felt like I've had much success. I think the key is that I don't have time alone to ponder my thoughts and just write freely without interruptions. I won't be giving up writing, but it's nice to know that there was something missing this whole time. I suppose as my children get older, I will find more alone time to start writing, really writing, again. 🙂