I am super excited to have Tara Altebrando by the blog today for an interview. Tara Altebrando is the author of The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life, Dreamland Social Club, The Pursuit of Happiness, and What Happens Here. She lives in Queens with her husband and two younger daughters. Visit her on the web at her website, Twitter, and Facebook.
Who was your favorite character to write in The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life?
I actually really liked writing Winter and Dez, the two sort of “sidekick” characters. Winter is constantly underestimating herself in a way that is sort of wiseacrey and funny to me. And Dez has a way with words and also fun insights into his friends. In general, he lets it all hang out in a way that the lead characters of Mary and Patrick can’t really do with such ease and grace. Winter and Dez are best at just being themselves and I liked that about them.
Are there any characters from The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life and Dreamland Social Club that would be friends?
Strangely enough, I don’t think so! I think Jane from Dreamland would probably look at the gang from Best Night and not be that interested in being friends with them; likewise the rest of the members of the Dreamland Social Club. Because as much as Mary’s gang in Best Night are nerds, they’re the sort of nerds that “have it all” in that they have their own rather large group of friends and are sort of popular in their own way. Jane and her friends are edgier and more, well, downtrodden? I think they’d see Mary and company as pretty mainstream.
If I HAD to think of two characters that might connect, I think Babette and Dez might? And now you have me wondering how a team consisting of Jane, Leo, Babette and Rita would do on a scav hunt! I think they’d make pretty awesome contenders.
Have you ever been on an exciting scavenger hunt for anything? If so, what was the wackiest item you had to retrieve?
I did a scavenger hunt some time toward the end of my senior year of high school. “Lawn ornament” was definitely on the list and my team procured a rather classic pink flamingo one. Another item on the list was “The largest thing you can steal from Mr. Gatti’s house,” which I put in the book. Mr. Gatti was a local school’s theater director; my team did not manage to get anything from his. We were sort of goodie two-shoes types so we did not win big.
I would definitely fall under the goodie two-shoe type in that situation as well. Now what does a typical day of writing look like for you?
I rent a desk in the offices of a friend of mine who is a divorce attorney. It’s only a few blocks from my house, so I can walk here and I am usually working by 9:15. I stay until 2 or 3, after which I maybe sneak in a workout, then the rest of the day I’m with my two young daughters at the park or running errands and just doing mom things.
Occasionally, I write in cafes with writer friends, but I find that I am most focused here at the law office. Unless I am eavesdropping. :)
If you could travel back in time for one day, where would you go?
Oh, this is such a softball question for me and you know it! I would travel back to the Dreamland Amusement park at Coney Island, probably 1910, which was the summer before it burned to the ground and never got rebuilt. I would take a boat ride through hell and visit Midget City and ride the Shoot the Chutes and the Helter Skelter. I’d go on Trip to the Moon more than once and they’d probably have to kick me out at closing.
Thank you so much for stopping by Tara! Make sure to check out my review of The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life as well, which will go up later today! :)
An all-day scavenger hunt in the name of eternal small-town glory
With only a week until graduation, there’s one last thing Mary and her friends must do together: participate in the Oyster Point High Official Unofficial Senior Week Scavenger Hunt. And Mary is determined to win.
Mary lost her spot at Georgetown to self-professed “it” bully Jake Barbone, and she’s not about to lose again. But everyone is racing for the finish line with complicated motives, and the team’s all-night adventure becomes all-night drama as shifting alliances, flared tempers, and crushing crushes take over. As the items and points pile up, Mary and her team must reinvent their strategy–and themselves–in order to win.