Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Alive and Well in Prague, New York by Daphne Grab

Matisse Osgood is a New York City girl through and through. She buys her clothes at Andy's Cheapies, watches indie films at the Angelika, and wouldn't be caught dead on a hayride. But when her father gets sick and Matisse's parents decide to leave Manhattan for a small town in upstate New York, her perfect world crumbles. As Matisse trudges through life in Prague, she dreams of waking up in her apartment on West 78th Street with a father who's well enough to walk with her in Central Park and a mother who doesn't pretend that everything is okay. When rumors surround Matisse at school and her father's symptoms worsen, Matisse realizes that the friends she's making in Prague are the kind you can count on. They help Matisse find the strength to reach out to her father, who may not be as far from her as she thought. And one particular farm boy shows Matisse that country living is a lot more magical than she ever imagined.

Daphne Grab grew up in upstate New York, so she knows whereof she writes! She holds a MFA in creative writing and is a member of the Longstockings group. We're delighted Daphne has dropped by the Cafe this week.

Melissa W: Tell us about your newest book

Daphne: ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK is about a girl whose dad has Parkinson’s Disease. The family is in denial as his symptoms are worsening and they’ve just moved from NYC to a small town so Matisse is taking on a whole new social scene in addition to trying to come to terms with her dad’s illness. There are boys and evil cheerleaders involved as well.

Melissa W: What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from this book?

Daphne: Ironically my favorite scene had to be cut from the book. It was when I was in my last round of edits and my lovely editor Jill Santopolo pointed out that I had too many flashbacks in the first two chapters. This scene was the one that was the easiest to cut and I knew it was the right thing to do, even though it was painful to press delete. But I was unable to let it go completely and it’s posted on my website. You can read it here.

Melissa W: Argh! The proverbial killing of the darlings! I feel for you. What are you working on now?

Daphne: My second book will be out spring 2010 and it’s about Louis, a 12 year old boy who is a bit of a misfit in school and a huge football fan. At the start of the story he learns that the baby his mom gave up for adoption 21 years ago is the best college football player in the country and he wants to come meet his biological family. The story is all the ways Louis’s life changes and he grows as his brother enters his life, and it includes bullies, girls and some pretty tough choices. My editor and I are just getting started working on it together so that is exciting (and a lot of work!).

Melissa W: What's on your nightstand right now?

Daphne: TOP 8 by Kate Finn. I was lucky enough to get an ARC and it is so good!

Melissa W: What were you like as a teen?

Daphne: Pretty insecure. I was obsessed with staying part of the cool crowd at my high school and spent way more time than I should have worrying about what people thought of me. It was really fun to write Matisse because she is so confident and could care less how people judge her.

Thanks so much for having me at the café!

Melissa W: Our pleasure!

~~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Daphne, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!