Interview with Maya Rock, Author of Scripted

Today I'm excited to have Maya Rock joining me on the blog to chat a bit about her recent release, Scripted.

About the book:
Scripted by Maya Rock.

Published: February 5, 2015.
Published by: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Reality TV has a dark future in this thought-provoking thriller

To the people suffering on the war-torn mainland, Bliss Island seems like an idyllic place. And it is: except for the fact that the island is a set, and the islanders’ lives are a performance. They’re the stars of a hit TV show, Blissful Days — Characters are adored by mainland viewers, yet in constant danger of being cut if their ratings dip too low. And no one really knows what happens to cut Characters.

Nettie Starling knows she’s been given the chance of a lifetime when a producer offers suggestions to help her improve her mediocre ratings—especially when those suggestions involve making a move on the boy she’s been in love with for years. But she'll soon have to decide how far she's willing to go to keep the cameras fixed on her. . . especially when she learns what could happen to her if she doesn't.

Jessica: Welcome, Maya! First, can you describe SCRIPTED in 5 words or less?
Maya: Sidekick tries to be a star.

J: What would you say is your main character Nettie's best quality? What is her worst? Would she agree with you on those?
M: Best: she pays close attention to what other people say.
Worst: she tries to avoid taking responsibility for her actions.
No, she would not agree. I think she’d say she was a loyal friend who cares about people (best). Her worst would be that she’s not assertive enough.

J: I think I'm a lot like Nettie thinks she is, so that'll be interesting for me to read! 
Which character (besides Nettie) are you most excited for readers to meet?
M: I know Nettie is the main character, but to me, Lia felt as much like the main character, so I’m excited for readers to meet her. Her motivations and actions were always clear to me, whereas Nettie’s were more opaque.

J: I'm looking forward to meeting her! 
What drew you to the extremes of reality TV as a subject?
M: I like watching it, and it seemed like a great metaphor for life.

J: It seems like Blissful Days, the reality TV show in SCRIPTED, serves as an important escape for the mainlanders watching it. Do you think that part of the North American obsession with reality TV comes from that idea of escape? Do you have any reality show guilty pleasures that provide that escape for you?
M: Yes; I think TV in general is an escape, but I think reality TV is a special kind of escape because the viewers often get to feel superior to the people they’re watching. And in fact the very act of watching these people (on TV) is exerting a tremendous control over their lives. But I also think there’s a wistfulness and envy that goes on with watching reality tv. And I think that reality can heighten some of these feelings of identification that happen. I don’t watch that much reality TV anymore, but lately I’ve been checking out Keeping up with the Kardashians, which I think is as scripted as Blissful Days is by the end of the book. Also, I find social media has some of the same guilty pleasure elements of reality tv. Everyone knows its crafted, but it provokes real emotions. I also think you can see how social media became more self-aware and crafted. It blows my mind how fussy they are about what pictures they’ll upload of themselves.

J: Do you think you would do well on a reality show? Any show in particular?
M: Definitely not a competitive reality show! I wither in the face of any competition. Oh, I guess I’m about to take that back—I did once apply for the Amazing Race, but it was only because I was going with my successfully competitive friend. I still wouldn’t mind doing that, because the tasks they do are so incredible. As far as the ones where you’re supposed to be scheming without having physical challenges . . . I don’t know. I just see myself in tears in all these situations.

J: I can only imagine how tough those are! I don't know if I could handle it either. 
Can you share a favourite line from the book?
M: When Scoop says “I derive no pleasure from derivatives.”

J: Thank you for joining me and answering all my questions, Maya!

Get out there and buy Scripted - I know I'm going to - and if you've read it, tell me what you thought about it. If you haven't, I'm curious about your thought on this concept. I love the idea of exploring reality TV in YA fiction (I know, I MUST read Something Real - I'm going to!) but what do you think about it?

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