What is your novel CANDOR about?
CANDOR is about a teen named Oscar who lives in a picture-perfect Florida community called Candor. His father built the place, and slipped a little something extra into it: everybody who lives there is brainwashed! The other kids in town don't know about the brainwashing, but Oscar knows, and he secretly fights it. He even sneaks new kids out of town before they're changed by the Messages--for a price. Oscar thinks he's got everything figured out, until fiery Nia Silva moves into town. He falls in love, and everything falls apart.
What is your main character like? How is he different?
Oscar lives a double life: he pretends to be Candor's "poster boy", earning unbelievable grades and never giving anybody a lick of trouble. But inside, he's angry, lonely, and pretty cynical about the town that his father has built. I think he's different in that Oscar actively chooses to fight the bad things in his life, every single day, even though it's very hard. It would be a lot easier to just lay down and accept things, but he doesn't.
Where did the inspiration to write Candor come from?
My husband and I built a house in a picture-perfect Florida planned community and lived there for 6 years. One night I was walking the dog and the mosquito truck drove by, covering us both in "harmless" citrus spray. What if, I wondered, that spray had Prozac in it? What if that's why everybody is so nice and friendly? From there it wasn't a big jump to brainwashing. Then one night I saw a lone girl skateboarding down the street, her long brown hair flying behind her, and the character of Nia was born. It took years before Oscar (my main character...now!) introduced himself to me, in my mind.
Was this novel ever difficult for you to write? How long did it take you?
Oh sure, most days of writing are hard and some are plain excruciating. But how can you beat the payoff? From start to finish, CANDOR took five years, but in that space of time I had a kid, moved to another state, and wrote two other books (which will never see the light of day!).
When you finished writing Candor, did it turn out the way you expected it to?
No it sure didn't. In fact, during my final rewrite, the entire last act of the book (about the last third of the pages) completely changed.
Are you currently working on anything?
Yes, I'm working on my next Young Adult novel for Egmont USA, and hopefully it will pub in 2010, or 2011.
Any additional information you'd like to share?
We have been having a blast making a faux-real website for the town of Candor, Florida, including video "testimonials" from residents and people linked to Candor. It's at http://www.candorfl.com/ and I hope people check it out--it's a hoot, I think!
Thanks so much Pam, CANDOR sounds amazing! It comes out September 22nd, and I know I cannot wait until then. Check out Pam's website to read the first chapter, and check out the one from above. I just took a look at it, and it's hilarious. CANDOR is going to be awesome!