Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Demetra Brodsky

Demetra Brodsky is an award-winning art director and designer turned writer. She has a B.F.A. from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Dive Smack, her debut YA thriller, is dedicated to the Monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death.

Brodsky's new novel is Last Girls.

My Q&A with the author:

How much work does your title do to take readers into the story?

The original title of Last Girls was The Juniper Sisters. I never even imagined another title until my agent suggested we pick something that was more in line with the book’s genre (thriller) and we took that thought to the publisher. The story of the Juniper sisters and how they came to be named was such a huge part of their backstory that I was a little resistant to the change, if I’m being honest. I made long lists of alternatives, my agency threw some suggestions into the mix, and we went back and forth with the publisher until we found something that stuck. There are several places in the book where the term last girls comes into play. For example, in chapter one their mother tells Honey, “You could be the last girls on this compound.” I can’t confirm or deny if that’s true. You’ll have to read the whole story to find out.

What's in a name?

Honey, Birdie, and Blue Juniper. They are unusual names, aren’t they? More like nicknames than something you might see on a birth certificate. If I gave you the whole story of how and why they have these names, I would seriously mess up some major plot twists for you. I hate to be this vague, but you’ll have to read the story to find out. Remember, the tagline for the book is This is how their world ends. Not how the world ends. I know this is a big tease without a payout, but you’ll have to trust me. The mystery is on this one is worth the wait.

Do you see much of yourself in your characters? Do they have any connection to your personality, or are they a world apart?

Naming characters is one of my favorites parts of the process and I can’t wait for you to meet Honey, Birdie, and Blue. They display a helluva of a lot of grit. A necessary trait I think we’re all displaying these days, given our current global health crisis. Honey, in particular, is probably the most like me, even though in my family I’m the youngest of my parents three daughters. Writers have to put something of themselves in their characters, even when they’re not carbon copies, so we can draw from our own emotional experiences. Still, while writing them, I took special attention as to not give them similar emotional characteristics to each other so I could differentiate their voices in my head. Because of that, I had to dig deep into my psyche. I hope that spilled onto the pages for you, the uniqueness of each of the girls, despite their close relationship. Honey is ruled by big R responsibility and curiosity. She’s not one to take answers at face value, nor is she quick to trust. I struggle with some of those traits myself. I have a strong drive to finish and see things through, to keep promises, and do what’s right, and protect the people I love. And like Honey, I have the heart of an artist. I’ve made so many paintings that I’ve given away or left behind. If I’m being honest, I’m also impulsive like Birdie. Quick to anger, but able to admit when I’m wrong. And like Blue, I have a deep love for animals and a need to find solace in my own thoughts.

What non-literary inspirations have influenced your writing?

Last Girls was inspired by so many things that were non-literary. I’m the kind of writer that does lots of research before I can even begin putting words on the page. Because of that, I tend to write twisty, multi-threaded stories, which makes my influence list fairly long. Music? Check. Movies? Check? Family? Check? History? Check. Politics? Check. Check. Check.

Here’s a list of the influences you’ll be sure to find in one form or another between the pages of Last Girls. Hang on to your seat, folks. It’s a wild ride.

· Mother, by Pink Floyd

· The current political climate and thoughts on our POTUS

· The beauty of the Pacific Northwest

· Falconry and Hawking

· Archery

· Weapons usage, ballistics, and wounds

· Red Dawn

· Doomsday Preppers TV Show

· Prepper slang

· Booby Traps

· Bunkers

· Tinctures and Poisons

· Group Dynamics

· Survivalist

· Kidnapping

· U.S. Military terminology and slag

· High School and advanced chemistry

· Rattlesnake Venom Usage

· Devil’s Breath, a Columbian Mind-Control Drug

· Homesteading and Animal Husbandry

· Street Art techniques

· Chemistry

· Pigpen Cipher

· Psychiatric experimentation performed by universities on students

· The Arts (primarily painting, embroidery, and comics)

· Family Dynamics and Birth Order

· Operation Paperclip: a covert affair where roughly 1,600 German scientists were brought to the U.S.A. to work on America’s behalf during the Cold War
Visit Demetra Brodsky's website.

Coffee with a Canine: Demetra Brodsky & L.B. and Ponyboy Curtis.

--Marshal Zeringue