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Celebrating Release Day with Author Marisa Calin

Twitter has an amazing way of connecting people. Not only have I had the pleasure to make some wonderful friends through 140 characters but a few weeks ago as I was reading an August release, Between You & Me, I sent a tweet to the author to tell her I could not put it down. A few days and direct messages later, we were meeting for lunch at one of my favorite coffee shops in New York City. Despite my extreme nervousness, as soon as I met Marisa, who greeted me with a hug, I suddenly felt like I’ve know her forever and was relieved to finally have someone to talk to about this book that left me so touched, so knocked over by its creativity and tone. (Did I mention she has the cutest English accent in the world?) So today on the release day of Between You & Me, I’m so happy to share a short piece about Marisa. Many heartfelt thanks to the author who blabbered with me in a window seat of the coffee shop for an hour. It was such an extreme pleasure.

an exclusive interview with writer, marisa calin on ratherbereadingblog.com

“I’m somewhat of an imposter,” author Marisa Calin admits with a smile over a cup of tea.

This statement would make any lunch companion nervous but I smile back because Marisa and I have just spent the last 10 minutes chatting like old friends about theater and the unfortunate incident that brought Mike Tyson to the Broadway stage. (True story.)

What she means is that she’s a trained actress-turned-writer; someone who has never had any formal training in writing. But if her young adult debut, Between You & Me (Bloomsbury Kids), set to release August 7, is any indication, she has taken her own passion for acting and injected it into this refreshing addition to the genre. Written in the style of a screenplay, Marisa tells the story of Phyre, an ambitious teenager who wants to be an actress, her best friend only known as You, and the theater teacher, Mia, who Phyre develops a crush on.

“I was inspired by the immediacy of a screenplay. I love to write because there’s a finished product. In theater that changes from night to night because you are bouncing off different people.” Marisa laughs. “I sound like a control freak. But there is something about writing. You can sit down and you imagine a scene, imagine a character. You get to do it all yourself and you get to lay out the way you want someone to experience [the story].”

Unlike a play or a film screenplay, Marisa took the basic format a step further by creating moods (with beautiful references to light) and also honing in on Phyre’s feelings from the first person. Both of these are big no-nos on stage and film; it’s the job of the director and the cast to bring both those avenues to life. But in Between You & Me, Marisa takes the reins and delivers an authentic look at three individuals who have tunnel vision when it comes to their respective lives. “I wanted to use things that I had the right to talk about emotionally. I used a style of something I know about and I love in a way that I would want to express myself.”

And despite her desire to sit in the driver’s seat and totally formulate the reader’s experience, Marisa doesn’t reveal all when it comes to Phyre’s story. Readers are never quite sure of the sex of the character’s best friend, You – a detail that manages to remain intriguing and not distracting. “I had to bank on the fact that whoever was reading it was going to make their own assertions. I took a risk and people might feel too taxed. I know my grandmother won’t like it,” she jokes.

While Phyre wears her (heart-shaped) rose-colored glasses and can be a bit self-centered (and who wasn’t at 16?), ignoring You’s quiet moments of kindness and soaking up any bit of Mia she can get, Marisa is happy to have the opportunity to explain that while she lent her character her own emotions, she was never that self-absorbed. (She promises!) “I balanced my imaginary meandering with real life much better but I wanted to be true to the fact that your teenage years are one of the only times we can be that self-obsessed.”

As coffee beans grind and people rustle in and out of the shop, Marisa and I break off into tangents about moving, Disney, her school in England, and spying out the window for a man wearing a yellow shirt. (Read the book, you’ll get it.) I also learn she hates litterbugs (me too), loves bright colors and water, and only finished 25% of the first Twilight book. (This makes me like her more.)

Our conversation drifts back to books and Marisa talks about her second novel already in progress (“I’m not going to tell a story I have no business telling.”), her writing process (“I don’t write with a plan.”), her best writing advice (“Less is more.”) and grand praise for her editor (“My editor is the most amazing person in the world… She knew what I wanted to do better than I did.”)

We both agree that the best books are the ones that hit us after we’ve closed them, the ones that take us over and leave us wanting to know more – the exact force that has brought us together today. As Marisa ventures into this new world of writing, it is her experience in acting and her ability to connect with her younger self that leaves readers with the best gift and one that sets her work apart from the rest of the genre – challenging her readers to fill in the blanks and dig a little deeper.

For more information on Marisa, please visit her website, Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter.

Between You & Me review | Goodreads | Amazon

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Marisa was also wonderful enough to supply RBR with a signed copy of her book to give away to one reader. This contest is open internationally! Good luck friends!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

August 16, 2012 - 2:35 am

Emilia S. - I am in soccer and creative writing clubs. My favorite is the creative writing club because I get to work with others on different writing themes. We just did a really awesome haunted themes and coming up with different types of nightmare short stories.

August 15, 2012 - 4:42 pm

Makaela - I was in the Mad Science club back in the 90’s. I loved it. I was also in a book club for advanced readers. I loved that too. I hated/was too shy to talk to people, individuals or any type of theater. I really haven’t changed much.

August 12, 2012 - 6:38 pm

Sharon @ Fictionally Inclined - I am so intrigued by this book and cannot wait to read it!

Theatre was absolutely my favorite! My favorite role was Kate in a mash-up of several Kate/Petruchio scenes from Taming of the Shrew. I got some crazy bruises and jammed my finger on my acting partners’s forehead (whoops!) while practicing the stage combat, but it was such a blast!

August 12, 2012 - 2:40 pm

Magan: Shelve It -- August 12, 2012 - […] and non-fiction upcoming releases + A review of The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg + We’re celebrating Marisa Calin’s Release day with a giveaway + A review of Call the Shots by Don Calame Related Posts :Estelle: Shelve It (8/5/2012) Magan: […]

August 12, 2012 - 3:47 am

Anary - Well I think my favorite extracurricular activity when I was in HS was joining different contest;essay writing,singing,or a drawing contest and being the head of our choir:))

August 12, 2012 - 12:02 am

Rebecca - I LOVE this post! It’s so nice to hear that you met up and had a great chat. It’s always nice to connect with authors 🙂 My favourite extra curricular was probably art. It was relaxing and fun.

August 10, 2012 - 11:27 pm

Jasmine Rose - I really wasn’t an extra-curricular type of person. The only sport I ever liked was track & field and the only reason I did that was so I could run hurdles. I hated all the extra running besides my 100m hurdles 😛

August 9, 2012 - 4:21 pm

Diannosaurreads - My favorite extra curricular activity was probably tennis. It was a pain though playing in the summer since it got so hot 🙁 but it was still fun!

August 9, 2012 - 1:32 pm

Nisha - I would have to say my favorite extra curricular activity was volleyball. Got to hang out with my friends and have some fun.

August 9, 2012 - 12:43 pm

Anni - Love this interview (you have such a way with words!) and I’m excited to pick up Marisa’s book.

August 8, 2012 - 7:58 pm

Joy @ Book Lagnaippe - I loved this post. How great would it be to just be able to sit down to coffee with an author and just talk…amazing.

I was the overachiever. I really enjoyed Spanish Club, French Club, Choir, Drama, and BUMS (Bearcats United in Making Spirit) which would make all the posters for sports games to hang in the halls and the fields and decorate the lockers of the players.

August 8, 2012 - 5:13 pm

Wendy - In high school, I loved to tutor middle/elementary students on their homework. I felt extremely satisfied that I was helping someone understand how certain things (math, reading, etc) worked.

August 8, 2012 - 12:14 pm

Hemborgwife - Well from in 9th grade it was drama then the sophomore you had a lead role in the play dumped me and I was mortified to go back! After that is evolved into more of the juvenile delinquent category of sitting outside Starbucks and being really loud with my friends or going to the beach and eating! Well and other things that are best left to 2002!

August 8, 2012 - 12:06 pm

Cassie K - Probably Art and the Novel! I really liked it. It was at the end of the day, last period. You brought whatever book you were currently reading, and you would read for about 30 minutes or so, then you draw one of the scenes that you were reading on a piece of paper, and you had to make it look like what you saw in the book. Then when you were done, you had to present your art and explain why you chose the scene and what’s going on in it. It was a great class overall!!! 🙂

August 8, 2012 - 12:33 am

Kristen - Oh, what a great interview! I feel like I was sitting down next to you and Marisa at the coffee shop. Such a fun way to get to know an author. 🙂

I was home schooled, so pretty much everything was extra-curricular (haha!). It would probably be piano though. Love music.

August 7, 2012 - 11:50 pm

Liz - Amazing story, I love this. I love how social networking connects authors and readers, and this is probably the best example of that I have seen. It’s back stories like this that make me want to read books I otherwise wouldn’t think of.

August 7, 2012 - 11:25 pm

Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl - Amazing! Estelle, I am so excited that you went out to lunch with her! How fun! I swear, we book bloggers are so lucky to be able to have all these cool experiences. Marisa sounds so nice, and I can’t wait to read her book! Happy release day to her!

In school, I was a major choir girl. I loved, loved, loved being in every single choir I could cram into my schedule. I was in three of them my senior year alone. It was my main identifier, and some of my best high school memories come from that time in high school. 🙂

August 7, 2012 - 11:00 pm

Jessica - My favorite activity was Key Club. It was a volunteering club and was tons of fun! And I’m so jealous that you got to have lunch with Marisa! It sounds like you guys had a great time 🙂

August 7, 2012 - 10:20 pm

JennyC - Art club or the band:)

August 7, 2012 - 9:07 pm

Jessica Celina - Favorite extra curricular activity?
Could it be the chemistry lab? I hate sports!

August 7, 2012 - 8:56 pm

VeganYANerds - I think it is so fantastic that you and Marisa met up, twitter really does bring people together!

My fave extra-curricular activity was our yearly activity month, we got given a huge catalogue and got to pick a different activity for each week, it was so much fun and a great way to start the summer.

August 7, 2012 - 8:52 pm

The Bumble Girl - Oh my, this has to be one of the most nicest, well-written and sincerest posts I have ever read! It is so awesome that you were able to meet with Marisa – she seems so sweet and genuine. I cannot wait to read this book!
Hmmm, my favorite extra-curricular was ‘Selected Chorus’ in middle school. We were hand-picked and were the only ones to get solos for concerts 🙂 Made me feel really special!
Thanks for the giveaway!!!

August 7, 2012 - 6:20 pm

Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life - That is SO awesome that you got to meet up with Marisa!! I think that’s so neat that she met up with you. =) She sounds like a totally awesome person, and it also sounds like you had a blast Estelle. I’m definitely looking forward to reading Between You and Me now! <3

August 7, 2012 - 3:31 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - Of course, two hours later, I realize that I didn’t tell you what my favorite extra-curricular was in school haha. It was drama! I was very involved with the drama club, everything from backstage working with sets, props and scripts to onstage acting. So much fun!

August 7, 2012 - 2:05 pm

Caroline - My favorite extracurric was choir, followed closely by soccer :)The book sounds really good, thanks for the giveaway!

August 7, 2012 - 1:17 pm

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books - Wonderful job with this post E! I think it tells the story of you and Marisa meeting quite beautifully. It also sounds like you had a fabulous time!

August 7, 2012 - 10:34 am

Rachel @ hello, chelly - I already told you this over IM but I love this entry! It’s so well-written and it’s awesome that you got meet her! I will definitely check this book out 🙂

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