Today, the Fearless Fifteeners are thrilled to host Philip Siegel, whose hilarious and charming debut THE BREAK-UP ARTIST releases today!
About THE BREAK-UP ARTIST:
Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples.
After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.
One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.
No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.
DG: I’ve had the pleasure of reading THE BREAK-UP ARTIST, and it’s funny and fast-paced with a satisfying conclusion. What inspired Becca’s story?
PS: There are so many stories about matchmakers. I was intrigued by someone who did the opposite. What would that person be like? Then a few years back, I had a few friends in unhealthy relationships. I wanted to say something, but it’s a tricky situation because you don’t want to harm your friendship, especially when you know they wouldn’t heed your advice. It made me think even more about someone who breaks up couples.
DG: How was your experience writing in the female POV? (Side note: Becca’s spirit animal is totally the Amanda Bynes character from SHE’S THE MAN – and I love it!)
PS: I always pictured her spirit animal more like Emma Stone in EASY A! I never consciously thought about writing for a female POV. I never asked myself “what would a girl say?” I just wrote the character as I saw her.
DG: Becca maintains a gossip dossier as part of her work. As you wrote the novel, what strategies did you use to keep all of the pairings and hijinks organized?
PS: Notecards! I’m a big fan of notecards and blocking out the story. I can physically move the cards around on my table, rearranging scenes and see how/if the story tracks.
DG: Out of all of the relationships in the book, which one resonates with you the most?
PS: I love the friendship between Becca and her best friend Val. On the surface, they seem so different, but their friendship just works. Val’s perkiness and optimism balances out Becca. That’s what I love about friendship. I don’t know how I became friends with my friends, how we found each other in this huge world, but I’m so glad we did. I loved writing Becca and Val’s witty back-and-forth, and some of the best bits were taken from real life conversations.
DG: What can we look forward to from you next?
PS: Look out for more Becca adventures sometime in 2015.
DG: Since we’re all fearless here, please tell us one thing you’re afraid of and one thing you’re not afraid of.
PS: I am terrified of rats, but spiders don’t phase me.
About Philip Siegel:
Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. He graduated from Northwestern University and promptly moved out to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC page. He likes to think that the character of Kenneth on 30 Rock is loosely based on his life rights. Currently, he works in downtown Chicago by day while he writes novels at night and during his commute sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El. To learn more, you can find him on Facebook, Twitter, and his website.
|Diana Gallagher is a gymnastics coach, writing professor, and country music aficionado. She holds an MFA from Stony Brook University and once had a story published on a candy cigarette box. Her contemporary YA novel, WHAT HAPPENS IN WATER, releases in Fall 2015 from Spencer Hill Contemporary. For deep musings on gymnastics and Game of Thrones puns, follow her on Twitter.|