First, a confession: the first two times we posted about Daria Snadowsky and her debut novel, we SPELLED HER NAME WRONG. We wrote "Sand" instead of the infinitely more correct "Snad." Such are the perils of being a first-time author. However, after reading Anatomy of a Boyfriend, a can't-put-downable story with a candid and (to us) really true view of teen love and sex, we know will never again misspell this author's name. It will be branded in our minds, right next to that indelible cover image of the naked Ken doll...Anyhow, we asked Daria to take our pop quiz, and here's what she had to say.
Who is your favorite writer that most people have never heard of?
One of my favorites is Dr. Dorothy Tennov, author of the groundbreaking Love and Limerence: The Experience of Being in Love. It’s not a self-help book, but anyone who’s ever been in love to the point where it felt unhealthy and self-destructive would find this read comforting. Simone de Beauvoir said of this book, “Excellent. Of universal interest. It deals with the subject in an entirely new way.” This book was a huge inspiration behind Anatomy of a Boyfriend, which is why I dedicated it in part to Tennov (the other dedicatee is Judy Blume).
Another author I admire is Dan Elish, who spoke to my fifth-grade class at the Birch Wathen School back in ’89 about his middle-grade novel, The Worldwide Dessert Contest. He’s since written many others books, including the “lad lit” gem Nine Wives.
What kid or teen books rocked your world growing up?
When I was really little, I adored the Berenstain Bears. I appreciated how realistically they portrayed all the little difficulties experienced by every family, such as messy rooms, over-the-top birthday parties, or watching too much TV. I suspect those books are as reassuring to parents as they are to kids.
When I was 10, I read and was transformed by Judy Blume’s Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. I had never before or since identified with a character as strongly as I did with Margaret. Then when I was a teen, Blume’s Forever took on biblical proportions for me. I was shocked and delighted by how honest and frank the prose was. These books were my other main inspiration and are why I dedicated Anatomy of a Boyfriend to Blume.
Another favorite of mine during my teen years was Will the Nurse Make Me Take My Underwear Off? by Joel L. Schwartz, Aidan Macfarlane, and Ann McPherson. In diary form, this book follows 14-year-old pile of hormones Eric Mason through a host of physical and emotional trials. Brilliantly informative and hilarious.
Describe your ideal place to write.
I know it’s cliché, but I love bringing my laptop to coffee shops. Writing is often lonely, and the background buzz of other customers, not to mention the aroma of steaming lattes, makes me feel more in touch with the world than if I were home by myself.
Your life is a TV series. Name the theme song, one event that would be on the “best of” episode, and one that would be on the blooper reel.
My song would be Joe Cocker’s rendition of The Beatles’ “With a Little Help from My Friends” because it’s the theme to one of my favorite TV shows, The Wonder Years. I related to the storylines and characters so closely that the episodes play like home videos to me.
My “best of” episode would be the evening of May 27, 2006. I had just gotten home from a mind-numbing bar exam study session when I plopped down at my desk and checked my e-mail. Nothing could have prepared me for the name I saw in my inbox—Judy Blume! Yes, the Judy Blume! A couple months earlier I had mailed her a mostly edited manuscript of Anatomy of a Boyfriend because I dedicated it to her, but I wasn’t expecting to hear back because she’s so busy. Well, not only did she read the book, she said she had trouble putting it down because she enjoyed it so much! It was simply the best e-mail I ever received and ever will receive.
My blooper reel would probably include Valentine’s Day of my sophomore year of college. My then-bf and I drove his car to the top floor of Emory’s Peavine parking deck so we could be alone, since our respective roommates were both home. We weren’t in the backseat for more than 20 seconds before a campus security officer, who was patrolling around in a golf cart, found us and told us to get lost. I’m not sure why my bf and I thought “getting lost” would be accomplished by merely driving the car down one level down and resuming our activities—I guess by that time all our blood had been diverted from our brains? Anyway, a minute later, we were both genuinely startled when the same officer reappeared and ordered my bf out of the car. The poor guy had to stand outside in the freezing cold in just his socks, shorts, and undershirt while the officer gave him a piece of his mind. Then the officer stuck his head through the car window and delivered the same tirade to me about how stupid we were to risk our safety by parking in an empty deck at night (and he was right, of course). I just remember being beyond mortified and ashamed, and I think this incident made the local police blotter that week. On the upside, it inspired one of my favorite chapters in Anatomy of a Boyfriend.
Burger-flippers want to know: have you ever had a job that required you to wear a geeky uniform? Details, please!
So far all my jobs required just business casual attire, but I did once, for a job, have to guard a fellow employee who was wearing a geeky costume. The summer after high school I interned for a local radio station, and one day we threw a promotional event geared for children. We hired someone to dress up as the station mascot—a bright yellow dragon—and to mosey around the grounds and entertain the kids. As intern, it was my illustrious duty to stand directly behind the dragon at all times and to keep the starry-eyed younglings who were hounding him from grabbing the dragon’s tail. I leave that job skill off my résumé.
We'd like to name a burger in your honor. What kind of fixins should
My ultimate burger is simply the half-pound patty of heaven they serve at Port of Call, one of my favorite New Orleans dives. And instead of the cooks adding a slice of cheese while the burger’s still on the stovetop, they grate cheddar onto the meat just seconds before they serve it, so it’s actually melting and bubbling while you take your first few bites. It’s so juicy and savory as is, that lettuce, tomato, or any sort of condiment would only detract from the already ambrosial flavor. Just add a toasty bun, a side of baked potato, and a Shirley Temple to drink, and you’ve achieved gastric satiety, my friends.