readergirlz is a literacy and social media project for teens, awarded the National Book Foundation's Innovations in Reading Prize. The rgz blog serves as a depot for news and YA reviews from industry professionals and teens. As volunteers return full force to their own YA writing, the organization continues to hold one initiative a year to impact teen literacy. All are welcome to "like" us on Facebook!

Monday, August 24, 2009

August 2009: Paula Chase

Today's guest blog comes from Paula Chase, author of the Del Rio Bay novels. The first book in the line, So Not the Drama, is one of this month's postergirlz recommended reads. (Read the August 2009 issue of readergirlz.)

Mission: Discovery
by Paula Chase

Self-discovery is messy. Sometimes ugly. Oftentimes difficult to face. Always fascinating.

When I started the Del Rio Bay series, the whole point was to take my main character, Mina, through a maze of ordinary hurdles that would ultimately help her discover who she was. I knew who she was, on the surface, but even I didn’t know what mettle she was made of until the books went on.

On some legs of the journey (So Not The Drama), she realized that what she had was better than what she thought she wanted. And on others (Who You Wit'?), she fretted so much about maintaining what she had that she risked losing it. Each time, she was faced with not only battling outside forces like bitchy frenemies and backstabbing ex-boyfriends, but also herself. And without a doubt, she was a more formidable "adversary" than any of her actual opponents because the burden we put on ourselves to make the "right" decisions can crush us if we let it.

Writing Mina taught me that a character can be perpetually optimistic, damn near bubbly some people may label her, well-liked, surrounded by support and still lack confidence in herself. But it's that lack of self-confidence that pushes Mina and can push many of us to be our best. What I love about Mina and Kendra, in Coe Booth's novel, is they're not the ballsiest chicks in the lit arena, but they posses a feisty spirit that won't let them give up, even when they so desperately want to. I'd like to think that a grown-up version of Mina recognizes that as her greatest virtue.

- Paula Chase


Little Willow said...

Thanks for the blog, Paula! :)

Paula said...

Welcome!! Thanks for having me, ladies.

mbpbooks said...
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mbpbooks said...

Great post. Paula, do you think writing a series makes it easier to manage the YA trope of self-discovery than in a standalone novel?

Paula said...

That's a good question, Mitali. But I don't think so. Although a series gives you more books and thus more time to discover more "sides" to oneself, I find most standalone books really tap into a character's growth well. And when I think about it, as much as I yearn to have the story totally wrapped up (nice and neat, if you will) there's something satisfying about having to imagine what may or may not happen to the character going forward.

Melissa Walker said...

I love that interior strength too. They aren't the toughest girls on the outside, but there's solid stuff within.

Lorie Ann Grover said...

Excellent, Paula!

coe booth said...

Hey Guys,
I'm back from my cruise and I feel like I missed a lot of what's been going on over here at readergirlz!

Oh, man!

Great post, Paula. There IS something special about characters like Mina and Kendra. To me, they're more real and relatable. Yes, the ballsy girls are fun to write about, but underneath all of that bravado, they're probably a lot like Mina or Kendra, too.

I'm fascinated by the idea of writing a series, of getting to return to the same characters over and over. But I don't know how you did it for your first books, Paula. I think I would be kind of overwhelmed at the thought of it! I'm writing the sequel to TYRELL now, and it's not easy!

Little Willow said...

I love the length of Paula's books. These are in-depth novels, so you really get to know the characters. I'm happy that she got a publishing deal for the series. I am impressed by the number of pages/words she turned around by those close deadlines. Wow.

Welcome back, Coe!

Paula said...

Deadlines are my friend, ladies!! These books exist because of them. As it stands now, because my contract is complete, I am having a very tough time keeping writing a priority. *sigh* But I'm trying!!!

Shelia said...

My niece loves your series. She sees herself in Mina.

Do you plan on writing a new series or will you write more books in the Del Rio Bay series?

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