If you know me by now, when I love a book I shout it from the rooftops. (Or in this particular case, make it your Facebook cover art!)
And this year, upon the completion of only 8 books so far, there are 3 I would go hoarse for.
Both of these reads center on Dom, a science nerd and budding doctor, as she navigates through her senior year of high school and falls into her first relationship, and later, in a standalone follow-up, Dom’s first summer home from college.
Now I read these two books totally out of order, and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the two stories at all. Daria has done a wonderful job of creating a character who has a great support system through her family and her best friend. Dom is caring and ambitious and, sure, in the beginning she may not be all that experienced in relationships or sex but she’s not afraid to talk about these fears or be open about her sexuality.
In the young adult genre, we don’t get the pleasure of seeing characters hanging on to their last moments of high school too much, or even parading into college. This is just one of the reasons I loved these books so much. I could easily relate to Dom’s inner struggles, wondering if her high school relationship could go the distance in college, and even the conflict she faced with her parents when her boyfriend became SO important. In Single Girl, I understood Dom’s difficulty in just letting loose and taking things as they come.
See? I really really enjoyed these.
But before I say too much, here’s Daria who answered a few of my questions recently!
1. When I started reading Anatomy of a Single Girl, I had no idea that there was another book about Dom. After I finished Single Girl, I decided to go backwards and get more of her story! I love how you wrote two books that share the same character but are also standalone novels. Was this a conscious decision? (And can we expect more adventures from Dom?)
It was a conscious decision to make Anatomy of a Single Girl work as a self-contained standalone as well as a sequel that continues seamlessly from Anatomy of a Boyfriend. The books cover different stages of Dominique’s life, so it was important that each feel complete on its own. But because Single Girl draws upon Boyfriend, each book also enhances the other. As for doing another sequel, I’m not planning one, but you never know!
2. In Single Girl, both main female characters are strong, ambitious, and are close to their families. Dom is a girl who wants to fall in love, and isn’t as confident with her relationship experience and her best friend is in a committed relationship but doesn’t want to be classified as a lover of monogamy. (She’s also a huge flirt.) Growing up, were you more of a Dom or an Amy?
I was a combination. Similar to Dom, I was a late bloomer when it came to dating and felt wracked with insecurity. But like Amy, I dated lots of different boys. I also talked more like Amy, who has a rather bawdy vocabulary.
3. In the past few months, there has been a lot of chatter about “New Adult” — a mature young adult genre with more sexual freedom. When I was reading Single Girl, I was surprised (but in a good way) of how comfortable Dom and Amy could talk about sex and even a few of the saucier scenes. Did you ever hit any roadblocks when it came to including these kind of scenes? And do you think Single Girl could be classified as New Adult?
My editor never had any qualms about the love scenes. Both books chronicle all of Dom’s dating “firsts” in minute detail, so it’d be disingenuous to “fade to black” after each kiss. We figured that as long as the love scenes were graphic without being gratuitous, and showcased the emotional aspects of sex as well as the physical, they were necessary to tell the story.
It seems like a good case can be made to classify Anatomy of a Single Girl as New Adult: Dom is now going on nineteen after a year of college, so she’s older than many YA protagonists. A large part of the story is comprised of intimate scenes as well as heated debates about long-term relationships, which are mature issues. And many of the readers I’ve heard from so far are college-aged themselves.
4. Dom is like Jessica Darling and Carrie Bradshaw rolled into one. (Plus she’s a science geek, which I loved.) What strong, independent female literary characters left an impression on you when you were younger, or even now?
It’s funny you mention Carrie Bradshaw because I was addicted to Sex and the City when I first started writing Anatomy of a Boyfriend. Carrie Bradshaw was my hero because she turned the most ridiculous dating misadventures into priceless fodder for her weekly column. She inspired me to do the same thing, just in novel form.
5. Okay, tell the truth: were you are Star Wars virgin too? Because I’ve only seen the first one (and that wasn’t until college) and I am constantly made fun for that!
No, I have a Gen X older sister who made sure to school me in all things Star Wars from an early age. Neither of us is a huge fantasy/sci-fi/space opera fan, but she thought it was important I know the basics since there’re so many Star Wars references in pop culture.
6. When your main character meets a new guy, she is really concerned with every single dating faux pas possible. I mean I’ve probably committed all of them: sharing too much, making myself too available etc. (But hey, I’m married so I must have improved at some point!) Is there a moment from your dating experience that still makes you cringe?
Back when I was in school, I drew a portrait of a guy I liked. Then I showed it to him—I figured he’d be so taken by my gesture that he’d like me back. Instead, he got so freaked out he actually ran away from me. That’s when I learned there’s a fine line between artist and stalker.
7. Since we are talking a lot of anatomy here, what do you think is the sexiest part of a man?
If the guy’s kind, funny, easygoing, driven, and smart, every part becomes sexy, especially his physical imperfections.
Thank you so much to Daria for taking the time to answer my questions!