In your opinion, what are the top three reasons why teens (or even adults!) should consider picking up OyMG the next time they see it in stores or online?
They’ll learn Yiddish curse words.
OyMG tells the story of Ellie Taylor so would you mind sharing a little about her? In addition, if you could give her any advice, what would you say?
Ellie is out-spoken, confident, and determined. But she’s yet to meet her match. That all changes when she arrives at summer camp. First, there’s Devon the hot competition. And Mrs. Yeats, the scholarship benefactor. If I could give Ellie advice, I’d tell her you can’t control what other people think or feel. But you can control how you deal with it. So stay strong, and keep your chin up. (You’ll get less wrinkles that way, too.)
OyMG has several fantastic characters; however, one of my favorites would have to be Ellie’s Zeydeh (grandfather), so what was the inspiration behind his character?
I seem to have a semi-crazy Jewish grandpa living in my brain. When I started this book, his voice was just…there. I was never close to my grandfathers (they died when I was young), but I did have a grandma who spouted Yiddish curse words. I suppose that part of Zeydeh came from her. As for the rest, I think Zeydeh’s good heart is an embodiment of my dad.
Over the course of the book, Ellie deals with problems that arise other her Jewish background, which leaves me to wonder the following: what made you decide to have this play such an important role in the book?
I always start a book with one dramatic question. For OyMG, that question became: Will Ellie reveal her identity—how far will she go in order to reach her goal? To answer that question, Ellie’s got to figure out who she is and who she wants to be—and faith and religion are a part of her identity. In fact, some of the other characters are dealing with the exact same question in their own ways, including Devon and Megan.
In the book, Ellie also has a love of debating so what made you decide to give her this trait? Was it taken from your own life?
Ellie’s love of debating actually came from a newspaper article. Originally, I had Ellie as a dancer, but that wasn’t working. Then I saw a feature in the local paper about one of the high schools that just won the state championship in speech, theater and debate. I called up the coach of the team who invited me to watch his school compete. So I did. From that day on, I was hooked, and Ellie was an orator.
OyMG is such a catchy title so how did it come about? Was it always the title or did it come later on in the process?
It’s hard to imagine the book not being called OyMG, but the truth is, the title took a long time to come. The book sold under the title Honestly, Ellie, but that was so pointed. My editor asked if I could give her some other options. Could I ever! I’ve got a background in advertising and snappy taglines and titles was one of my strengths. But this turned out to be harder than I expected. I submitted all sorts of options from Sizzle, Secrets and Matzo ball Soup to Speechless. Finally, my editor asked for one more go-around concentrating on a Jewish flavor. As I brainstormed, OyMG popped out. Right away, I got that tingly feeling that meant I’d hit on something good.
With OyMG’s release date quickly approaching, do you have any big plans on how you will spend the day?
I plan to pamper myself. And, uh, maybe visit one or two or seven bookstores to look for OyMG. :) My big plans will come on May 22nd when I head to New York for BEA week. I can’t wait—I’ve got signings and library visits lined up with Class of 2k11 authors. Mostly, I’m just excited to meet bloggers and readers and book lovers!
What’s up next for you book wise? Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m very excited to have a new book coming out next year! Audition and Subtraction will be out fall 2012, again from Walker & Company. It’s about fourteen-year-old Tatum who could suddenly lose her spot in District Honor Band—and her best friend—when a new guy transfers to her school. Friendships change and romance sparks in unexpected places.
Thanks so much for stopping by Amy! To find out more about Amy and her books, be sure to check out her website.