1. One of the things that I loved about the DUFF was the banter between Bianca
and Wesley- it had me cracking up every few seconds. What’s the hardest
part about writing dialogue that’s both funny and realistic?
You know, that’s a tough question. The truth is, I kind of feel like the dialogue in my
books writes itself. That may sound crazy, but honestly, I’m not that funny in real
life! I just sit down and start typing what fits. Dialogue comes to me more naturally
than any other part of a story, and I think part of it is because my characters tend to
lead the way. That said, there are points when I have to stop myself and ask, “Would
a teenager say this?” It’s a funny question since I’m still a teenager myself, but there
are a few moments when I’ve written things down that only a forty year old man
would say. It’s a crazy process, but it’s actually my favourite/my easiest part.
2. A part of The DUFF that really stuck with me was the scene where Bianca
and her friends see a younger girl being ordered around by seniors. Was that
inspired by events you’ve observed/experienced personally? If so, how did
the person deal with their situation?
It wasn’t inspired by my own experience. That was one of the last scenes I wrote in
the book, and it was one that I thought needed to happen for Bianca to kind of come
to terms with the term “DUFF.” I have seen girls get bullied and bossed around by
their friends – I was one of those girls at one point in high school - but there was
never a particular moment when I noticed it the way she does. I think in high school
we learn to ignore what isn’t “our problem.” Its sad, but its true. Stepping in could
cause us social trauma, so we pretend it doesn’t exist. No one stepped in and pointed
it out to me that my friends were being terrible. I had to figure it out for myself
downt he road, and once I did, I completely separated myself from those people.
Life’s too short to feel bad about yourself because of “friends.”
3. Even if you don’t write with a specific message in mind, what do you hope
that readers will take away from your books?
First and foremost, I hope people put my books down with a smile on their face. I
hope they’ve fallen as in love with the characters as I was. Other than that, every
book is different. I hope readers of THE DUFF take away a feeling of “I’m not
alone,” – no matter what they aren’t alone in. Every reader is impacted differently
by a book, and even if every person takes something different out of the reading
experience, I’m happy.
4. Do you think it’s important for teens to have strong role models in literature?
I do! And I don’t think we need to strictly define role models as those who make
the right choices all the time, because that is unrealistic, obviously. But I think we
need to have strong heroines, wonderfully flawed, ready to make mistakes. Our role
models shouldn’t be naïve, quiet, easily pushed around girls. I’d much rather see a
vibrant, independent, girl who stands up for herself, even if she makes every single
mistake in the book. Somehow, that seems like a better role model to me.
5. What’s your favorite girl-power read—and why?
Vampire Academy. Rose Hathaway is my hero! She kicks so much butt, it is
Kody Keplinger is the author of The DUFF and the upcoming Shut Out. She lives in New York City and can be found online via her website, the YA Highway blog, and Twitter.