The official author headshot, aka Nutmeg Cabot.
TLC: Mark Wahlberg knocks on your door. Why is he there and what do you do?
Tina: He’s there because someone-knew-someone-who-knew-someone, etc., and the Buzz Girls sent him as a birthday surprise. He hands me a rose, kisses my cheek, and then saunters off while I scream for my kids to bear witness to what just happened, to assure me that I haven’t lost my mind.
TLC: You would just let him go? I'm disappointed. Then again, you're the girl who passed up a chance to meet him... I shouldn't be surprised. What is the worst thing about being a writer? The best?
Tina: The worst is when I get my first revision package from my editor, and I am in a cold sweat that the book has completely disappointed her. (So far, my fears have not come to fruition, thank God.)
The best is...well, every day when I wake up and get to “go to work” in my family room, wearing a sweatsuit and dorky glasses.
TLC: I think we need to see a picture of those dorky glasses. How has being a short story writer helped/hindered you as a novelist?
Tina: I am a self-learner, so writing short stories was my classroom to teach myself about story structure and follow-through.
TLC: Describe your typical day. (Or, if there is no such thing, you dream day.)
Tina: Typical starts at 5:45, get the family up and out. I write, go out to the supermarket or errands, write some more, pick up a kid or two, usually read or write, make dinner, take an evening walk with my husband, do some writing or reading, asleep by 10:00. Not a very exciting life, but I like it!
TLC: Yes, but you get to do plenty of exciting things. As a native East coaster and an adopted West coaster, which suits you more?
Tina: I think I’ve found a comfortable blend of both at this point, and don’t have a preference for either coast or lifestyle.
TLC: Sounds like me. How do you get from idea to The End?
Tina: Nervously, worried that the story won’t hold up, and constantly going back and strengthening the plot points.
TLC: Well, if Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress and How To Hook a Hottie are any indication, you can stop worrying. If you could write anything in the world and know it would sell (market trends and demands aside) what would you write?
Tina: But the question is: would it be good and sell well?? Um, I’ve long had a time travel idea about a family driving cross-country. Suffice to say, the family would have teens, but it would probably be marketed as adult fiction.
TLC: Intriguing. I'm picturing Back To the Future in a station wagon. Where do you see yourself and your career in five years? In twenty-five?
Tina: Rich and famous and still alive. No, really, I don’t plan that far ahead. I just live inside whatever book I’m presently writing and hope there are more in me.
Tina signing copies of Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress at the RWA Literacy Autographing in Dallas last year. Note: The RITA flag on the table belongs to Caridad Ferrar, but Tina is predicted to have her own flag this year.
TLC: If you weren’t a writer, what would you do?
Tina: I wanted to be a flight attendant, but they wouldn’t take me! Actually, I’m a natural organizer, so probably running conferences or a bustling office, like I’ve done in the past.
TLC: As terrific of a flight attendant as you would have been, I think we're all glad that wasn't your destined career path. Name one thing you don’t like that most people love.
TLC: Really? And you're from New York? Name one thing you love that most people don’t like.
Tina: Eating orange rinds.
TLC: Um, ew. Disneyland or Walt Disney World?
Tina: Disneyland, although I’ve never been to Disney World, so I have nothing to back this answer up.
TLC: Which three writers or works most influenced your writing?
Tina: Stephen King, Sue Grafton, Harlan Coben
Tina with fellow BuzzGirl Stephanie Hale, both glitzed out at the dessert reception following the 2007 RWA RITA awards ceremony.
TLC: Finish this sentence: Never under any circumstance...
Tina: Believe anything I tell you about someone I only very casually know. Especially if it’s someone whose path I cross on a regular basis, like another parent at school or a checker at the supermarket. Because I have this habit of embellishing their characteristics based on a sentence or action, and a week or a month later, I forget that I made it up and pass it off as truth.
“No, really,” I say, “she’s putting her house on the market. I know because I saw her reading the real estate section.” Once. When the kids were late getting out of school. And she’d finished the rest of the paper. And I was bored, too. And noticing her, and wondering about her... “Okay, maybe she’s not. And uh, maybe don’t mention this conversation to anyone, either.”
TLC: [Mental Note: Never trust anything Tina says about other people.] What one question do you wish someone would ask you? (And answer that question.)
Q: How do you stay so young looking?
A: By having such gracious friends as you!
TLC: Aw, how sweet. Thanks for answering all these bizarro questions! That wraps up my interview of Tina and the BuzzBlog interview series.
Tina Ferraro is the author of Top Ten Uses For an Unworn Prom Dress and How To Hook a Hottie, both from Delacorte. Her third novel, The ABC's of Kissing, will be out in 2009.
OH. MY. GODS. -- Dutton, May 2008