Thursday, August 23, 2012

An Interview with Dee Shulman and Polly Price

Yesterday I reviewed Polly Price's Totally Secret Diary: Reality TV Nightmare, the second Polly Price title. Today I have an interview for you that I did with the author of the book, Dee Shulman, and with Polly Price. I thought it was only fair to make sure that Polly herself got to say a few words. After all, she is the person whose story is being told.

TTLG: Dee, where did the idea for this series come from? 
Dee: You could say I have been both Polly and Arabella... As a kid, I used to find my own (adorable) mother acutely embarrassing whenever she laughed ... she was just too loud and way too enthusiastic for a mother! And then – weirdly - I turned into Arabella myself. My daughter used to hide on the floor of the car if she spotted one of her friends out of the window. I was guilty of dressing wrong, talking wrong, running in public ... my list of crimes was endless! 

So it was a great theme to play with – I just needed to tweak it a teeny bit – convert embarrassing to excruciating -  and Arabella was born!

TTLG: Dee, how did you get inside Polly's head to understand how she might feel or react? 
Dee: I think it would be more accurate to say that Polly got inside my head. Once her handwriting appeared on the page she really took over. 

TTLG: Polly, it is clear that having an actress for a mother can be very trying at times. What are the things that you like the least about your mother's work and lifestyle?
Polly: I have made a list and given them marks out of 10. 10 is the worst!

Mum’s work
·         A normal parent goes to work during the day which means she DOESN’T come and pick you up from school. Unfortunately an actress is often bored during the day. A bored actress is not something anybody wants turning up at school at 3.45. You can hear my mother approach  approximately 4 minutes before the classroom door gets flung open. The only plus side is that 4 minutes gives you just enough time to hide behind the boxes in the stationary cupboard. (10)
·         Unfortunately, Mum doesn’t have anyone she can dump an 11 year old daughter on.  Believe me – she would if she could. So if I’m not in school, wherever she goes I go. I CANNOT WAIT until I am legally allowed to leave home. (10)
·         Tragically the places my mum goes to work are FILLED with other actors. Need I say more?* (10)

Mum’s Lifestyle 
Actors along the lines of my mother are always getting STRANGE CRUSHES on things. My mother has had many...
·         She chants*  (very annoying) (8)     
·         She gets food fads. Life was garstly when she turned vegan  (We had slimy black mushroom stew nearly every day) (10) *
·         Vanilla was a PARTICULARLY dangerous crush. By the way - Vanilla is a human being (almost) not a kind of ice-cream (unfortunately) (10+) **
·         Men. Especially younger ones. Especially younger French ones. Especially one younger French one in particular. See the new book, Mum in Love, for further details
*See On Stage in America for further information
**See Reality TV Nightmare for further details

TTLG: Polly, there must be some things that you like about having an actress for a parent. Tell me about some of the good stuff.
Polly: Yes – SOMETIMES (occasionally) I get to meet the good  kind of actor... 
NB: These are rare. They talk to you as though you are a member of the human race. Very occasionally they are VERY nice. Naming no names  I do encounter some good kinds in my diaries.  W.G in On Stage in America  and C.D in Reality TV Nightmare.

If your mother goes on tour you do sometimes get to go to exciting places – like America. See On Stage in America for further details.
If your mother gets a crush on a younger French boyfriend – you may get to go to France. *See Mum in Love for further details

I can’t think of many other good points – but I will let you know.

TTLG: Polly and Dee, what is it like to work together? Do you argue about the stories and how the artwork is going to look?
Dee: Hmm Polly would you say we work well together?
Polly: Put it like this... I write a TOTALLY secret diary that NOBODY is supposed to be looking at and then Dee Shulman comes along and the next thing I know it’s on the shelves in Waterstones and my mother is taking out lawsuits.

TTLG: Polly, do you think Dee understands your problems.

Polly: NO. (see above)  

TTLG: Is it hard working with a grownup? 
Polly: YES. Not to be recommended at all. 

TTLG: Is there a project that you two really want to work on together in the future? Tell us about it...please!
Dee: Between you and me (Polly doesn’t know this yet) there is talk of a trip to meet someone VERY important. 
Polly: No there is definitely not a project that we want to work on together.

TTLG: Thank you both so much for agreeing to being interviewed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, can i ask you something? I’m looking for children books with “scary” animal illustrations like the big bad wolf (or a fox) eating pigs (or seven kids or Red Riding hood or birds in Chicken Little) or being pictured with a fat stomach. Could be any other animal as well. Have you seen any book of this sort? Any sort of help is appreciated. Thanks in advance.

Great blog, by the way!


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