Bridgett was kind enough to tear herself away from some really fascinating bad weather and meet me last night on a google hangout so I could ask her some questions about her book and what it was like to write it. We were on camera, but I’m omitting screenshots in favor of her profile picture as her poor unsuspecting significant other was fiddling with wires under a desk right behind her and also I didn’t give her very much warning. Also I was super greasy cause it was my day off. She was very kind and had some interesting insights into the book, which of course you’re all going to read. Enjoy!
me (surreptitiously wiping some of the face grease from my brow)
Okay first question: Is this the first book you’ve ever written?
It is the first book I’ve written, not counting a 60 page novella that I wrote, and quickly erased, when I was 14.
So you sat down to write a novel and got all the way through it first time? Okay well I won’t hold it against you.
Bridgett, not one to be as super smug about it as I would be, giggles innocently, as though finishing a book on the first try were, like, nothing.
Actually, Mephisto Waltz evolved into a novel. When I was 19, I wrote a short story, called “Claire de Lune,” which was pretty much the first half of Mephisto, but with a different ending.
After a few years, I started to read about the sorts of things that go on in gay reparative therapy camps, and I changed the ending to the short story, and took Miranda to one. She grew a lot more as a character in the meantime.
That’s awesome. Thanks for explaining that. Is writing what you want to do as a career or is it just a hobby?
I would love to be able to write as a career, but getting into it is difficult. I write now as a hobby, and I hope it will grow into something more.
Don’t we all!
What sorts of challenges did you face while writing Mephisto Waltz? For instance: was there a chapter or a character you found yourself stumbling over? And how did you get past it?
I had to battle insecurity, first of all. I had a friend who acted as beta-reader and cheerleader, though. I’d send her a couple of chapters at a time, and she’d reassure me that I wasn’t a horrible writer who should just give up.
The two most difficult characters for me to write were Amber and Jason. I wasn’t sure how to develop Jason beyond his being someone to force Miranda to accept her sexuality, so I just didn’t. Amber was the character who represented me the most, so showing her struggle was a bit raw.
I identified with Amber a bit myself, minus the (trying not to spoil anything here) heavily religious influence. There’s a lot of misunderstanding about identity. It can be hard to get the right messages.
It can be- Amber was someone whose sensitivity led her to being easy to lead around, and her strong emotional nature made her vulnerable to fear. I think that what I have most in common with Amber is the need to be liked by everyone, and I’ve silenced myself often to that end.
There was a significant and very well-done contrast between Amber and Miranda. It was good writing.
So, who do you want to read your book and what do you want them to take away from it?
I want everyone to read my book, but most of all, I want people who disagree with me to read my book. I want people who are homophobic or quick to judge to see the other side in a way that isn’t just a well reasoned argument, but shows you how it really feels. That’s why I chose the genre I did. Getting people to read it is the real challenge.
Well, hopefully that won’t be the challenge for long. There’s a place for LGBT literature, particularly in YA. It didn’t used to be there. Now’s the time.
Okay final question
What do you have against food
Bridgett laughs. Note: she is not eating during the interview and there isn’t so much as an empty soda can or coffee cup in the entire room. Just saying.
I love food. I eat way too much of it, myself. I love to cook, and I love to eat. I got wrapped up in a lot of gothic conventions, though, and a sickly heroine turning away food is too picturesque for me to resist
LOL fair enough. Thank you so much for letting me interview you. You were perfectly lovely.
Bridgett and her stuffed cat wave goodbye.