Change Places with Me by Lois Metzger
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: June 14th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fiction, Mystery, Fantasy
Rose has changed. She still lives in the same neighborhood with her stepmother and goes to the same high school with the same group of kids, but when she woke up today, something was just a little different than it was before. The dogs who live upstairs are no longer a terror. Her hair and her clothes all feel brand-new. She wants to throw a party—this from a girl who hardly ever spoke to her classmates before. There is no more sadness in her life; she is bursting with happiness.
But something still feels wrong to Rose. Because, until very recently, Rose was an entirely different person—a person who is still there inside her, just beneath the thinnest layer of skin.
Read an excerpt here.
When did you start writing?
At 14, one of my favorite books was J.D. Salinger’s Nine Stories, and I remember wanting to write the “tenth story.” That was the year I wrote my first attempt. It was a story called “Let Me Tell You A Little About Myself,” and it was written from the point of view of my best friend at the time. It began, “I love Paul and I always will.” The narrator then gets angry with Paul and breaks up with him, and falls in love with several other boys, and eventually comes back to Paul; the last line is, “I love Paul and I always will.” That never-published story was incredibly helpful in getting me started, teaching me about voice, character, plot and structure.
How did you get the idea for Change Places with Me?
Watching TV in the middle of the night—which can be inspirational. I’ve always found infomercials fascinating, the way they invent a problem you didn’t even know you had and then describe something you absolutely must buy immediately in order to fix it. Change Places with Me takes place in the future, in 2029, so the infomercials I came up with are for things that don’t exist yet—House-in-a-Can inflatable furniture (for those last-minute guests), fingernail pens (so you always have something to write with), anti-wrinkle sound waves (to look 20 years younger). Before writing the book I wondered, what if in the future there was a quick-fix infomercial for something far more serious—loss, heartache, loneliness, grief? That was the what-if question that led to this book.
Who is your favourite character in Change Places with Me?
I’m going to focus on two favorite characters here. I have a special place in my heart for characters who say one thing and mean another, who aren’t very trustworthy, who you have to keep your eye on and your wits about you in your dealings with them. So if you ever met Astrid and Selena, the most popular girls in tenth grade, you would have to watch out. They have no patience for girls who aren’t as pretty or wealthy or well-dressed as they are, except when it serves their purpose. But when they decide they like you (or, more accurately, can use you) their attention is like a shining beacon; you feel bathed in their light and life is beautiful and all is well. They are not genuine friends, of course—not even to each other. In fiction and in life, it’s essential to recognize the difference between false friends and true ones.
Do you have any works in progress?
I’m always working on something because publishing books takes time. Once you hand in a manuscript, it may be some months before your editor gets back to you with revisions, and then after you do the revisions, there may be more back-and-forth-ing. In the next step, the book comes back with questions from copy-editors. Finally, months later, it appears as an actual book. The whole thing, from handing in to publication, can take about two years, and because there’s so much “down time,” I always have another novel in the works. The next one is about a man who moves into an apartment that a girl and her mother share; they need a tenant to help with the rent. The man seems nice enough, but as time goes on the girl begins to suspect that he’s having far too much influence over the people in her life.
What are your hobbies?
Is taking naps a hobby? If a hobby is something you love to do, then that’s one of mine. Also I love watching old movies, and I can binge-watch a TV series with the best of them. Also I swim at the nearby Y, and play a pick-up softball game on the Great Lawn in New York’s Central Park every Saturday in the spring and summer, and ride Citibike (a bike-share program) around New York City late at night when there is little traffic. One of my favorite routes is down to Battery Park City at the foot of Manhattan. You can ride right next to the Hudson River, stunning and sparkling, and hear water splashing against the docks. It’s like a day in the country (or a night).
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Lois Metzger was born in Queens and has always written for young adults. She is the author of five novels and two nonfiction books about the Holocaust, and she has edited five anthologies. Her short stories have appeared in collections all over the world. Her writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, The Nation, and The Huffington Post. She lives in New York City with her husband and son.
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