Meet Tracy Marchini, Author of The Effie Stories
TM: A few months ago in a workshop, we were asked to share one odd or unique thing about us. I told everybody that I can’t look at a picture of a duckling and not smile. (It’s true. LOOK AT THIS DUCK.)
Otherwise, I’m a writer of books for children and teens who once spent three hours lost in the Pyrenees while at a writer’s retreat in France, and who this morning couldn’t syrup her pancakes without pouring some in her lap! (I guess my character Effie and I have a little bit in common…)
TM: It sounds odd, but Effie is one of those characters whose voice just popped into my head. I wrote the draft of the first Effie story, Effie At the Wedding and published it as a blog post, before taking it down and expanding it. Eventually, I realized that Effie had a lot more going on than just her sister’s wedding, and so Effie’s Senior Year is the collection of all six Effie stories.
BBB: Tell us about your main character, Effie.
TM: Effie is somebody who can’t seem to catch a break – whether it’s prom dress shopping, her first kiss, or even just hanging out with her beautiful older sister Ophelia and her new husband George.
Effie loves lists, and she loves hiding behind her humor. I think her personality and family dynamics can be best seen in her first list in George and Ophelia’s First Christmas:
Worse Places To Spend Christmas, Besides George’s Parents’ House
3.) My house, with Mom sniffling in the corner about how much Christmas isn’t the same now that Ophelia’s moved out. (I may, or may not, be sniffling too.)
2.) My grandmother’s house, which reeks of stale cigarettes and never has anything good to eat. Or rather, it’s never good for me to eat in front of my grandmother.
1.) My Aunt Rosie’s house, where she is having not one, but two boyfriends over for Christmas dinner.
1a.) Let’s just reflect on this a moment – my only-single-for-six-months Aunt Rosie, who can barely put her lipstick on in a straight line, has found not only one man to date, but two. And, apparently, she’s so smooth she’s seeing both of them on the same day, without incident. (Also, for the record, picturing my Aunt Rosie in any scenario involving two men is super gross.)
1b.) I’m a senior in high school, and have never dated two boys, period. Unless you count a Kindergarten boyfriend, I haven’t technically even dated one.
TM: I’m currently drafting the fourth story in my Now Hear This! Stories that ROCK collection. Each contemporary YA short story is inspired by one of my favorite songs, but is a completely different take. For example, in contemplating The Decemberists’ Engine Driver, I started to think about what their “engine driver” could be a metaphor for – the heart? the brain? And then I went further to find a completely unique way for somebody to be “driven.”
In my short story, The Engine Driver, Brig is a teenager in a world where emotions are controlled by the Playlist Treatment Plan that plays in her head. She isn’t allowed to hear a sad song, but when her friend is given a license to play a musical instrument, that could be her chance.
For this new story, The Distance, Ryan is trying to earn the money for a new car so that he can impress his potential prom date. He goes to Crispy, an ‘associate’ of his father’s, who hands him a full backpack, a chain and a flashlight, and tells him to meet somebody at the address on the paper. Ryan is pretty sure he’s walking into something illegal, but he has no idea what Crispy really has in store for him.
BBB: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
TM: The best way is to join the Quacktory, where I share monthly updates and exclusive information about my books and what I’m working on that month. (This coming issue will include an exclusive sneak peak at The Distance.) I can also be found on www.tracymarchini.com, on Goodreads, and on Twitter.