Monday, June 22, 2009

Author Interview: Aimee Friedman!

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to come in contact with the ever-kind Aimee Friedman, who, together with her fabulous publicist at Scholastic, Sheila Marie, allowed me to interview Sea Change (you can see my review here). I was struck with Sea Change's cute summer romance by the beach, with a dash of the mystical, and decided to ask Aimee a few questions about Sea Change and herself. Welcome to Steph Su Reads, Aimee!

1. What inspirations or research did you draw from for the setting of Selkie Island in Sea Change?

I actually took a trip down to Savannah, and then from Savannah to Tybee Island, one of the Sea Islands that lie off the coast of the southern states. It was wonderful to soak in the languorous charms of Savannah, the rich history and mystery and hanging Spanish oak. And Tybee Island was a vibrant beach community, and it was there that I stumbled into a marine discovery center. This was how my idea of (the fictitious) Selkie Island began to gel. I also read a lot on mermaid lore and mythology, which is the most fun kind of research.
2. What fictional characters or real-life people influenced the love interest, Leo?

Leo had always existed very clearly in my mind as a sort of classic romantic hero: the boy from the wrong side of the tracks (or in this case, the island) with a heart of gold. Leo was also inspired a bit by someone I met on Tybee Island, a local, this handsome, mysterious blonde guy had lived his whole life on the water. We only spoke briefly, but I wondered, “what if…?” What if he had a secret about his identity? It was fun to use that as a jumping off point.

3. You have unlimited funds to take a three-week-long vacation to anywhere in the world. Where would you go?

Wow! I like this fantasy a LOT. One of my favorite cities in the world is Paris, so I’d probably start there, and spend a week visiting museums, walking across bridges, sipping coffee, and feeling romantic (for more on this fantasy, see my book, French Kiss!). From there, I’d go to the South of France—Provence, and the Riviera, for some sunshine and beach time. And then I’d finish up in Italy, for unlimited gelato. And of course I’d be doing my favorite vacation activities the whole time: reading and writing and daydreaming.

4. Miranda is an interesting character with unusual experiences: family secrets, webbed toes, discovering her grandmother's trunk, and more. Can you share with us a "Miranda-like" experience that you've had?

Miranda, among all my characters in my books, is perhaps the one most different from me (unlike, say, the character of Katie in The Year My Sister Got Lucky, who is a very close facsimile of who I was as a teen). Like Miranda, I went to the Bronx High School of Science, but I was not good at science. I found it too rigid. I preferred—I still do —stories and make-believe. Miranda is very rational, very logical, not easily ruffled. My friends will all tell you that I tend to be dramatic, emotional, and very easily ruffled! But what I share with Miranda is a deep curiosity about my family and my past, and, definitely when I was a teenager, the feeling—that I think everyone can relate to—that I was somehow different from everyone else, somehow on the outside. Everyone has something that makes them feel “freakish” in some way, whether it’s webbed toes or secrets or just ordinary insecurities. Part of growing up is learning to accept, and embrace, those quirks!

5. If you were the protagonist of a YA novel, who would write your story and why?

I would love for Meg Cabot to write the story of my teenage life; she’d make it wise and sharp and funny.

6. What would your ideal personal library look like?

This is seriously something I have given a LOT of thought to! Floor-to-ceiling built-in bookshelves, and one of those ladders on wheels that lets you roll from one end of the room to the other, plucking books as you go. Plush carpets, a fireplace, tall windows, and big, squishy chairs to sink into, curl up, and read, read, read. Heaven.

7. What is a type of book that you haven't written yet and would like to?

I would like to write a novel about my grandmother’s life. It’s something that’s very dear to my heart, and I want to take the time to think about it and make sure it rings true before I start working on it. I’d also love to try my hand at historical fiction, which would be a cool challenge.

8. Anything else you'd like to add?

For a look at all my books, and to drop me a line anytime, please visit my website:


Thanks so much, Aimee, for that fun interview! I highly recommend you pick up Sea Change for a summer read - it's perfect for a lazy day by the beach. See you all around!


  1. She stole my Beauty and the Beast library! JK. But I really do want one too. :) Great interview, I can't wait to read her book.

  2. I also dream of the Beauty and the Beast library. I think it's the ideal. That's probably why Belle is my fave princess. She's awesome and bookish.

  3. Oh! I love the library concept. You can tell the bibliophiles by their answers (and in our case, DROOLING at the answers) of ideal libraries.

    I also love the fantasy of unlimited funds and 3 weeks vacation. :-D

  4. 1) I have webbed toes!

    2) I wish I had unlimited gelato!

    3) Sea Change sounds really romantic- Can't wait to read it!

  5. Great interview! I'll definitely check out Sea Change.

  6. I loved this book , it was fantastic.
    I wanted it to continue,
    to Become a movie.

    those Sea Change will become a sequel?


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