Ghostgirl creator, New York Times bestselling author, screenwriter and
filmmaker Tonya Hurley is a Critically-acclaimed author, writer/director whose credits spam film, television, books, live performance and interactive media. Her career is marked by a unique ability to blend her commercial and underground sensibilities into accessible, but edgy projects.
If you want to know more about Tonya go to her official website.
Well now let's begin..
Why did you decided to write Young Adult?
· I don't think I ever made a conscious decision to write for a particular audience. Ghostgirl just came out of me as a story that resonated most with teens and tweens.
Where did you get the idea and/or inspiration for ghostgirl?
· From my own life mostly, high school and family experiences, and then from my work later on in the entertainment industry as a music publicist and then as a writer and director for television and film.
The need for attention and acceptance is a huge part being a teenager and it continues, I think, throughout our entire lives. Nowhere is this more obvious than in the world of celebrity. I wanted to take elements of that experience of seeking popularity and bring it back down to a more relatable level.
How would you describe ghostgirl?
· It’s a story about ghosts, but it is not really a ghost story. Its about love and longing and sacrifice and the lengths that someone will go to fulfill their dreams. And whether those dreams are actually worth fulfilling. This is a book I would like to have read when I was in high school.
Which character do you relate to the most?
· I relate to all of them, honestly.
Which is your favorite?
· I have my Charlotte days and my Scarlet days!
I do love Piccolo Pam - I think we all need a Pam in our lives.
I actually don't think you can have a favorite when you are writing them. I like them all for different reasons.
In the book there was this character, named Prue, which I really wanted to dislike, but I just could not get there. She and Petula may seem like they are alike, but Prue is I may say more human. Did you intend this to be like that?
· 'Everybody loves somebody sometimes' as the old song goes. Whether or not someone is likable often depends upon your own point of view, what you bring to the relationship and what expectations you have of another person. I'd like to think they are both incredibly human. I didn't want to write entirely stereotypical good girls and bad girls into ghostgirl because life isn't really like that. Everyone has redeeming qualities, even Petula.
You were able to get into different teenagers minds and tell their story, Scarlet the Goth, Charlotte the invisible insecure girl, Petula the queen bee, Damen the jock... We get to see the different experiences of high school, and may I say you hit right on the mark. Did any of this come from experience? Maybe the ghost part?
· All of the characters came from my experience. Your imagination comes into play in creating a world in which those characters can interact in an interesting and entertaining way.
I know the book is more than a pretty cover, which if I may add is fabulous, and it has messages like be who you are, live life at its fullest, etc.Other than this messages did you want to get anything else through?
· I hope it will make readers laugh a little. A lot of it is pretty ludicrous after all. Quite intentionally. A reviewer described it as 'hysterically tragic." I quite like that.
I know there is a sequel to ghostgirl, which is ghostgirl: Homecoming, but other than that one, will we see more ghostgirl books in our shelves?
· I've just finished writing the third ghostgirl book.
Can you give us a peek at ghostgirl:Homecoming? And more importantly, is Charlotte going to make an appearance?
· ghostgirl: Homecoming picks up immediately after the first book, with Charlotte and her Dead Ed friends having just crossed over. It is not exactly what they expected, however. More than that, you'll have to read for yourself!
When I read this book, in my mind it was like a Tim Burton dark fairytale, 3d and everything, how is it in your mind?
· Thanks for that. I am a major Tim Burton fan! I see it very much the same way as you when I'm writing.
Was the beautiful cover any of your doing?
· My editor Nancy Conescu and the designer Alison Impey at Little, Brown were very instrumental in developing the covers for both books. I'd originally commissioned the actual art for the first novel for the ghostgirl.com website, so I think the direction came from there, but together we were able to put together something that I'm really proud of. ghostgirl: homecoming is just so perfect as well. A big shout out to everyone at Little, Brown!
If you were to give advice to the young writers of today, what would you say to them?
· Believe in yourself, believe in your ideas and just write. Don't pay attention to how anyone else did it or how they made it. Find your own voice and your own way and keep at it, eventually someone somewhere will pay attention.
And now some special questions from the lovely Tainted Poet...
How did you decide on a gummy bear as a cause of death?
· I wanted to choose the most innocent looking piece of candy I could think of for Charlotte to choke on. Looks can be deceiving.
How much of you do you see in your character Charlotte?
· I think there are pieces of myself in almost every character you create, especially Charlotte. We all have that longing to be loved and accepted, not just by others but by ourselves as well. Sometimes, though, I don't even realize which bits are in which character until long after the book is out on the shelf. It isn't always the bits I thought I put in there. It can be a nice surprise.
What was your favorite part in writing this series?
· I've enjoyed all of it. From creating the characters and the story, plotting things out, to writing dialog from all different points of view, to choosing some favorite quotes and song lyrics to working on the look of ghostgirl and the elements on the site.
Were you inspired by any particular authors?
· Too many to mention, but everyone from Poe to Edward Gorey. I like authors with a dark sense of humor but also a little romance in their souls.
If you could be asked any question, what would you want it to be?
· I think you guys pretty much have it covered!
Tell us about your daughter.
· Her name is Isabelle Rose and she is five. She is one-of-a-kind, and I =0 D learn loads from her every day.
And I always have something extra for you guys:
Tell us a little more about yourself
· I was a drummer in a punk band in high school and my first job when I moved to New York City after graduating University Of Pittsburgh was cleaning toilets at a record company. I just wanted to be in the music business somehow!
What is it to live the dream? How is a normal day in the job?
· The trick is to make your dreams a reality and the only way to do that is by working hard. A normal day is filled with writing and when I'm not writing, I'm thinking about what I should be writing.
What helps you brainstorm?
· Reading, writing, talking with friends and family, watching a great movie or a really bad reality TV show, shopping, playing with my daughter Isabelle. Daily life is where I find the most inspiration.
Even the bad stuff - nothing bad ever happens to a writer, it's all material. Love that quote.
· Edward Gorey, Poe, Sedaris, Burton. I don't think I could pick a favorite novel, but the ones that hold special places in my heart are the ones that I read as a child and teen - Flowers In the Attic, all the S.E. Hinton stuff.
Have you ever seen a ghost?
· I live in an 1800s farmhouse!
How did you like this interview?
· It was to die for.