Lizzie Richards isn’t excited to be starting over at a new school for her senior year, but she’s trying to take her mother’s advice and make the most of it—the only way she can: By disobeying her strict parents’ rules. Lizzie’s father has moved the family around every few years to advance his career, so she has never had a chance to develop the kind of “BFF” relationships she thinks most kids have. She’s bracing herself for another lonely year at her third high school when her neighbor Maura gets sick of watching her little brother when she could be partying. Thanks to Maura’s plotting, Lizzie becomes everyone’s new favorite babysitter. Seeing her opportunity, Lizzie decides to break her mother’s rules by using Maura’s computer to create a secret Email address and Facebook account. She is quickly friended by Missy, a fellow transfer student as eager for a friend as she is. Things are looking up for Lizzie until Maura’s ex-boyfriend Paul sets his eye on Missy. Caught between her new best friend and the neighbor whose friendship promises instant popularity, Lizzie doesn’t know what to do—because she’s fallen for Paul, too.
1. Describe Watch Me Disappear in a tweet (140 characters or less)
“Watch Me Disappear” is a novel about coming of age in the Facebook era. Making friends—and enemies—has never been easier!
2. What was your inspiration for Watch Me Disappear?
I don’t know if I could put it in terms of inspiration. I had a scene in mind, and so I wrote that scene, and when I was done, I wanted to live with the characters a little longer, so I kept writing. I did need some inspiration to perserve through the years and drafts it required–and that was my students. Listening to them talk about their dreams for the future inspired me to pursue my dream of being a novelist.
3. Do you have any resolutions or goals for 2013?
A few years ago I resolved never to make another New Year’s resolution. In my experience, resolutions tend to turn into ways to punish myself. Instead I like to set goals. My goal this year: To finish my next novel!
4. What is the ideal writing spot for you? (it can be anywhere in the world)
I often dream about having a little cottage in the country, someplace on a lake with views of a mountain the distance, a screened-in wrap-around porch, and a little fire pit outside for cool evenings. I have no such actual place, but man, wouldn’t it be ideal?
5. Which one of your characters do you relate to the most and why?
I suppose I relate most to Lizzie, who is the narrator of Watch ME Disappear. While the book is not autobiographical–none of the events are based on my life experiences–Lizzie is a lot like me. When I began writing, my approach was to put myself into situations I’ve never been in and that I don’t think I would like, such as moving to a new school for senior year. So early on, Lizzie was basically me. Once things started happening, though, she took on a life of her own and she became less and less like me as I shaped and revised the novel.
6. If we looked under your bed, what would we find?
I’m not much for storing things under my bed. You’d find a lot of dust bunnies and some dog toys that the dog has long since forgotten. And you might find my cat, hiding from the dog.
Diane Vanaskie Mulligan began writing Watch Me Disappear during an after-school writing club she moderates for high school students. This is her first novel. She holds a BA in American Studies from Mount Holyoke College and a Master’s degree in teaching from Simmons College. When she isn’t teaching or writing, she’s the managing editor at The Worcester Review and the director of The Betty Curtis Worcester County Young Writers’ Conference You can also find her occasionally strumming her guitar and singing at various bars in central Massachusetts, where she lives with her husband.
If you enjoyed this post, please Subscribe to Book Briefs in a reader