Inspiration can strike at the most unexpected moments from the most unexpected sources. Writers know this all too well. And with a book about a teenage girl whose father is a mob boss and the hot cop who pulls her over, we couldn't help but wonder where Deborah Blumenthal got the idea for her latest YA, Mafia Girl. We bet you're curious, too, so without further ado, take it away, Deborah!
How did you get the idea for the book?
Authors are asked that question all the time.
The short answer is writers hear voices in their heads, although it’s not clear, at least to me, how that happens, or why. And in the case of Mafia Girl, my new young adult novel, once the idea of writing a book about the daughter of a mob boss came to me, Gia spoke loud and clear. She spoke in breathless, run-on sentences. It started with a green-eyed cop. But not just any cop, her arresting officer, the cop who pulled her over when she and her best friend Ro decided to skip school and go joyriding in Ro’s brother's Porsche, without his okay, so yes, you could say they stole it, and did I mention that the cop was like the hottest thing in the entire universe? Whew!
Sometimes it felt like Gia was a wind-up doll, propelling herself in all directions simultaneously, wanting to be liked for who she is, not who you think she is, at the same time not really caring, okay, what you or anybody else thinks of her.
No doubt Gia, the daughter of New York City’s most powerful mob boss, grew partially out of my fascination with the HBO series, The Sopranos. I know, I know, so Tony was a powerful, cold-blooded murderer when he had to be, but c’mon, he was also sweet, endearing, generous and kinda sexy in a slobby, fat-guy way, as well as a devoted husband and father, if you can just get past the cheating part.
Meadow, like her dad, was strong too, and clear-sighted about who she was and the family she was born into, and the things that were important to her.
Yet my Gia isn’t a clone of Meadow Soprano. While they’re both smart, observant and interested in studying law, Gia has a wilder side. She’s brash, fast-talking, prone to blurting out what’s on her mind, whether that’s a smart thing to do or not, and she’s hard driving, willing to do whatever it takes to get what she wants.
Sometimes what she wants is as simple as that new and OMIGOD, fabulous pair of Louboutin pumps with the freakin’ unbelievable nail heads. Or that Prada bag in magenta snakeskin that just fell off the truck. Or not. Whatever, who cares? Appearance counts in Gia’s world. And that means clothes. The right ones. Designer clothes. The kind with the labels left on.
Food is important too. Fabulous food. Italian food — manicotti, lasagna, eggs and peppers, veal marsala — and on and on, and lots of it, preferably served at a table set for 40 with family and extended family, and friends who have become family, everybody eating and drinking wine and talking at the same time.
But beyond the superficial trappings, Gia is a 17-year-old girl whose heart is in the right place about what’s important in life — love, family, good friends and not least of all, saving homeless senior dogs.
See? Watching TV isn't always a bad thing! Your favorite show could lead to your next published work, so keep on watching and writing to your heart's content. Be sure to pick up your copy of Mafia Girl, available now, and for more YA authors, books and buzz, visit our Everything Young Adult Page!