Guys, I am super excited today to be a part of the book tour for TMI, the newest novel from acclaimed author, Patty Blount! Tackling some of the biggest hot-button issues of our society today, including the Internet craze, online personas and even the whole second-life phenomenon.With a story revolving around our living in the digital age, you'd better believe I was all over this book from the moment I heard about it. Patty offers a daring, tension-filled story that readers are sure to love, and I'm so excited to feature her on the blog today. So, without further ado...the interview!
1. Online friendships and relationships are becoming far more prevalent these days. What interested you in the topic, and what made you decided to base your novel around it?
Strangely enough, the news. I’d seen a story about a mom who created a fake Facebook account to pose as a boy interested in her daughter’s friend just so she could break her heart. It kind of hit me that none of us really know if the people we’re talking to online are who they say they are. Practical Megan would tread very carefully but spontaneous Bailey could get into a lot of trouble – and does.
2. While I was reading TMI, I couldn't help but think about a "catfishing" scenario. Have you ever watched the show, Catfish , or did the concept inspire you in some way?
*laughs* I’ve never heard of Catfish until you mentioned it. I had to look it up! But, the Manti Te’o story was just coming out as I was editing TMI.
3. TMI is extremely character-driven, and that drives the suspense of the novel through the roof. How did you balance fleshing out the characters with developing the mystery between Ryder's online vs. real persona?
Ryder was ‘born’ when his real-life counterpart got his feelings hurt and he wanted revenge. But he started having regrets and second thoughts and that’s when you see his real-life persona enter a scene. Hopefully, you didn’t realize this until the big reveal!
4. Would you describe your personality more like Bailey's: fresh-faced and highly trusting, or would you say you're more like Meg: skeptical and cautious.
Oddly, I’m more like Meg minus the artistic ability. I’m skeptical and cautious. I have developed some real friendships with people I met on Twitter, but that was after months of chatting. The first time I decided to meet one in person, I did so in a public venue only after verifying that person was really scheduled to sign his books there that night. And even then, I didn’t go alone.
5. What books would you say were your greatest literary influences when creating the story of TMI?
Oooo, good question. I read a lot and I read fast, so it’s hard for me to remember what I was reading last year when I wrote this story. Luckily, I have Goodreads to remind me… oh, here’s a good one! An Abundance of Katherines. This was my first John Greene novel and it featured a strong friendship that I wanted to show in TMI. I also read Divergent and wow, I may have developed a small crush on Four *fans face*.
6. If you could have your readers take away just one thing from TMI, what would you hope for that to be, and why?
I think all stories have a message in them. Sometimes The Message is huge and obvious but look closer to find the subtle messages. TMI on the surface is about the dangers of sharing too much information with people you don’t know, and if you didn’t look any deeper, I’d be happy if you didn’t let that happen to you. But if you did want to look deeper, I’d hope you’d notice the roots of friendship can be twisted and stretched and maybe even redefined but can they really be severed? Or do those roots remain alive, buried perhaps, but ready to bloom when conditions are right again?
Patty: OK, my turn! I have some questions for you! Do you have a best friend? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.
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