by Mark Schreiber
GENRE: YA (crossover)
“Sixteen-year-old Iowa schoolgirl Amanda Dizon may be the nation’s most unremarkable teenager, until she falls down a well and finds herself instantaneously transformed from irrelevant to influencer. Mark Schreiber’s sly, rollicking masterpiece, Amanda911, follows Amanda’s escapades and sends up the craven, fame-obsessed virtual culture of today’s adolescents. As insightful as Dickens and as innovative as Heller, Schreiber is the definitive satirist of the social media generation.”—Jacob M. Appel, author of Einstein’s Beach House
Falling down a well was both the best and worst thing that ever happened to my granddaughter.
She was a Disney princess to me, but a comic sidekick to her classmates, who’d never been
kissed by a boy—or I suppose by a girl—been asked to a dance, or chosen for any role in a school production that did not conceal her face.
Most people under twenty probably don’t know what a well is.
Haven’t seen one. Probably think it’s just something you say when you need to buy time, like like, or when someone asks you how you’re feeling, although I guess these days everyone says good or OK, or nothing at all, opting for an emoji instead. Do kids even talk anymore, in the crowded loneliness of their bedrooms? Did Amanda even scream when she fell down the well? Or did she just send a screaming emoji?
So, when millions of kids all over the globe saw the headline, they shared via social media:
Girl Plummets Down Well
More than plenty had to Google well to comprehend its meaning.
I’m sure she got at least half a million hits just from image searches that returned a picture of an oil rig in the North Sea. Geez, her international peer group must have thought, or words or emojis to that effect. A girl has fallen thousands of feet smack into a tidal wave. I hope she’s more Kate than Leonardo.
Can you describe your dream home?
A hotel with a swimming pool and 24-hour restaurant.
If we were to come to your house for a meal, what would you give us to eat?
I would order out what you prefer beforehand or have something catered, unless you like peanut butter and jelly. ☺
Tell us about the absolute BEST fan letter you have received.
“…I can truly tell you that since I was 15-16 that book [Starcrossed] was my life. More than a decade later I still read it. The story was like a mirror into my life and my future, I couldn’t believe the coincidences. It felt like true kismet. Your story gave me hope and saved a lot of my teenage years.”
Say your publisher has offered to fly you anywhere in the world to do research on an upcoming book, where would you most likely want to go?
I just want to go to the beach. I can research anything on my computer from a lounge chair. I’ve visited 46 countries, and in 2015 I became a digital nomad, giving up my apartment in Ohio and traveling the world. Since the pandemic started, however, I haven’t even been to the beach, and I live in Costa Rica, where the beach is like 100 miles away, east or west!
Seriously, I’d like to write a sequel to Amanda911 in which she is invited to speak at the U.N. So I’d like to go to New York City, which I used to visit frequently but haven’t been to in six years.
Who designed the book cover for the book you are touring?
My publisher, Lauren Grosskopf. She is also a graphic designer.
Mark Schreiber was born in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1960, graduated high school at age fifteen and began writing novels full-time. Princes in Exile, which explores a prodigy’s struggle to accept his own mortality at a summer camp for kids with cancer, was published in 1984 and made into a feature film in 1991. It has been published in ten countries, received two awards in Europe, and was shortlisted for the Austria Prize. Carnelian, a fantasy, was published by Facet in Belgium. Starcrossed, a rebuttal to Romeo and Juliet, was published by Flux and translated into French and Turkish. His illustrated science book, How to Build an Elephant, was published as an Apple app by Swag Soft. He has written over forty books and received two State of Ohio Individual Writer Fellowships. For the last seven years, he has been a digital nomad, living on four continents. He currently resides in Costa Rica.
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