Realistic Dystopia, Not an Oxymoron: Inside the Mind of New York Times Bestseller Megan McCafferty
Posted by inkpopbecki on April 27, 2011
New York Times bestseller Megan McCafferty is best known for her contemporary adult series Sloppy First. So we were excited when we heard she was penning her first young adult novel. Then when we discovered it had dystopia aspects, we became really curious. Bumped is set in the not too distant future and centers upon a world where fertility is fleeting and girls are being encouraged to “Bump” early in their lives. Sound interesting? Join us for a live chat with New York Times bestselling author Megan McCafferty tonight at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events to find out more about creating a realistic dystopia. In the meantime, we sat down with Megan to ask her a few quick questions about Bumped.
How did you come up with the story idea for Bumped?
Like many, I was fascinated by the Gloucester High School pregnancy pact. Shortly after, Bristol Palin and Jamie Lyn Spears went public with their pregnancies, and Juno was released to widespread critical and commercial acclaim. Cultural conversation in this country is dominated by extremes, and anything having to do with teens and sex is no exception. So the combination of all these events brought familiar debates about Abstinence Only versus Comprehensive condoms-on-bananas Sex Ed to a whole new level of hand-wringing intensity. I asked myself: What if teens were encouraged to have sex and get pregnant? What circumstances would make that morally acceptable on both sides of the sociopolitical spectrum? Those questions inspired the whole story.
What was it like moving from writing contemporary adult novels to writing young adult fiction? What did you have to keep in mind when making this transition?
Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings take place in high school and are considered by many to be young adult novels. So the transition wasn’t as drastic as it might be for an adult fiction writer who has never tried writing for or about teens. After spending an entire decade with the cast of characters in the Jessica Darling series, it was far more challenging just to be writing about anyone new.
How does an author approach topical issues, like teen pregnancy, and still make their novel relevant for future generations?
By not making it an “issue” book about teen pregnancy! Bumpedis really about what happens when two girls defy the expectations placed upon them by their parents, religion, friends
and society at large. I think we all can look back on a defining moment in our lives when we stopped pretending to be the person that others expected us to be and started being ourselves. That growth process is universal, and will hopefully help Bumped endure the test of time.
Want to hear more from Megan McCafferty, join us for a live chat today at 5 p.m. EST in the inkpop forum events.