We’re so excited for an early OneFour release! Please join us in congratulating Vivi Barnes on the launch of her YA debut, OLIVIA TWISTED, a fun and edgy update on the Dicken’s classic, with a teen ring of cyber-hackers, a motorcycle-riding hottie, and… oh please, you need more after that awesomeness?
Vivi, I completely adored this update on a classic! What was it about Dicken’s Oliver Twist that spoke to you and called out for a modern spin?
Thank you! I grew up watching the movie Oliver! when I was a kid, then read the book later. It’s not an easy read, and one reason I wanted to do a retelling was to reintroduce the classic in a more relatable, contemporary way. Immediately, I thought of Olivia Twisted but with a female protagonist. The original story really made society the protagonist and Oliver a victim. I wanted the external influences to play a large role with Olivia, but I wanted her to also make her own choices and be stronger than poor Oliver.
So basically, I started with a title and went from there!
One of my favorite things is when authors annotate their own books with fun tidbits about why a certain character trait, name, or tidbit was included. Give us a teaser of what we’d learn if we peeked at an annotated copy of OLIVIA TWISTED.
I laugh because I have a lot of these things—too many to list, probably. But the character Jen could possibly be named for my friend Jen, who is actually one of the sweetest people ever. Jen “gets” that the Jen in the story isn’t horrible. She’s just misunderstood.
I also have a few fun Oliver Twist references. One of the kids in the house references Z as “Dodger,” and at one point Z tells Liv “It’s not like we pick pockets.” Those were fun to reference. I couldn’t work in “Please sir, I want some more.” That just…yeah, no.
I’ve spent most of this past year being giddy or freaking out. Not much tops the cover reveal—that is one of the most exciting moments! And Entangled did a fantastic job with it. I also loved the great reviews, especially getting RT Book Reviews Top Picks!
I have a feeling those great reviews are just beginning. Tell me something that’s completely surprised you about the publishing process?
I was surprised at exactly how many hands touch a book—from editors, interns, assistant editors, second pass readers, etc.
So true! Now, we’ve got a pretty funny post going on our message boards where everyone posts their pre-publishing stress dreams. Had any of those?
I dreamed the publisher accidentally published a book I had written as a kid instead of Olivia Twisted. I think the book had to do with how mad I was at my brother or something! (Fact: I didn’t write a full book about being mad at my brother; more a letter to my mother about how he should clean the dishes or else.)
Sounds like you’ve got a follow up to Olivia Twisted there. What’s on tap for release day today?
I am going to be lurking in bookstores, taking pictures until they make me leave because I’m creeping them out!
One last question: as this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d love to know two or three books that inspired you as a kid!
Lord of the Rings, Watership Down, David Eddings’ Belgariad series, and just about all of Judy Blume’s books! Random, I know!
Thanks, Vivi! Wishing you all the best and have fun seeing your book baby out in the world!
|Jen Malone has visited 50 countries, met her husband on the highway (literally) and went into labor with her identical twins while on Stevie Nick’s tour bus. These days she prefers to keep the drama inside the pages of her books. Her debut middle grade, AT YOUR SERVICE, releases in August from Simon & Schuster/Aladdin. Please visit Jen on Twitter @jenmalonewrites.|