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7 Random Thoughts with Paula Chase Hyman

June 22, 2008

Paula Chase-Hyman is the author of the Del Rio Bay Clique Novels. Whether you’re a teenager or an adult, you’ll find the novels in the series entertaining.

7 Random Thoughts with Paula Chase-Hyman

What’s one thing (besides writing) that you enjoy doing?
I love being active.  Writing is a quiet, solitary, sedentary thing.  So when I’m not doing that, I enjoy being outside.  I’m a total nature chick, so I love parks and bike trails.  Best of all, being outside working out or being outside lying on a blanket looking up into the sky are both great for kick starting ideas.

What’s your favorite quote?
“The only constant in life is change.”  I have no idea who may have said it originally, but my dad used to say it to me all the time when I was a teenager.  It was his way of helping me learn that change is forever.  And to this day, I take that to heart.  It’s why, no matter what, I roll with the punches and adjust as things change around me.

What television show best describes your life and why?
Hmmm…I know what television title describes my life: Mi Vida Loco!  “My Crazy Life” because my life is very full and often crazy.  A typical work load for me is working my full-time job, juggling writing and promotional responsibility for my series, coaching a competitive cheer squad and being a wife and mom on top of all that.  I’m a multi-tasker times ten.  But honestly, Seinfeld is a good pick too because it reinforces how life is simply a series of quirky everyday happenings.  I know my life is.

What is your most valued possession?
My health.  I was in a terrible car accident a month ago and was bedridden for a few weeks.  It was the worst feeling in the world.  Although things could have been much worse, I had a lot of time to lament the loss of independence.  Now I’m still dealing with recovery, as my knee was injured.  And for someone as mobile and active as me, not being able to do for myself and get around on my own terms is as close to hell as I ever want to get.

What would your best friend say about you?
That I’m crazy.  But good-crazy.  I’m the sarcastic-witted friend in the bunch.  The one always dropping observational one-liners.

What does love mean to you?
Love means supporting someone unconditionally.  I’m not saying turning a blind eye to wrong-doing or constantly forgiving someone when they take advantage of you.  I mean, even when you’re angry, annoyed, frustrated or just plain sick of someone, you’re still able to stand by them and give them what they need.

What is your favorite outfit to wear and why?
I’ll probably have to retire these this year, but I have a pair of brown cords that I purchased in the junior department of a store about three years ago.  I’ve always been so proud that I can fit them, so I love wearing them.  They’re skinny at the top and slightly flared at the leg, so it makes me look a little taller – always a good thing since I’m a shortie.
 
Bonus: Tell me about your teen series and what can readers expect from you in 2008.
My Del Rio Bay series has really taken off.  It’s YA that speaks to suburban teens.  I focused on suburban teens because African American ‘burb teens are often left out of mainstream books.  Or they’re the token, side friend. And honestly, books that revolve around African American teens tend to focus on either historical situations or inner city scenarios.  But what about the teens who deal daily with the duality of living in a suburb where they’re one of only a few black faces in their school or neighborhood?  I grew up in a predominately African American suburb, but my school was predominately white – so I’ve always lived the duality of my neighborhood’s culture vs. the school’s overall culture. I wanted to portray that side of life in fiction.
 
The third book in the series, That’s What’s Up! will be released July 1st and I feel like this is the make or break book for the series, because a reader could have picked up the first OR second in the series and been up to speed.  But you can’t read That’s What’s Up! without reading So Not the Drama or Don’t get It Twisted.  This third book signals you’re an honest to God fan of the series – so I’m excited about that.  It anchors the series because now readers need to be familiar with the characters and those who are will understand the characters actions, will understand the growth the characters are experiencing.
 
This series is truly like my baby, right now.  I’ve taken a group of friends, started them as freshman and hope to get them to graduation.  Even though I’m their puppet master, it’s still fascinating to watch them grow.  And while some people probably expected each book to be about popularity, the series is organic.  I’m having the characters deal with real issues.  The first was about transitioning friendships from middle school to high school.  The second was about crushes and boyfriends.  This third is about forbidden relationships and frenemies.  So they’re dealing with issues that many teens face. 
 
By year’s end, the fourth book in the series, Who You Wit’? will be out.  The characters are in their sophomore year by then and the book deals with first times vs. abstaining from sex.  So in 2008 readers will watch Mina and the clique mature before their eyes.  What I love about it is, it’s not a from zero to sixty growth in maturity, but a very real step-by-step journey.  I hope readers enjoy going on the journey with the characters as much as I do when I’m writing about it.
Be sure to promote summer reading with your teens. Be sure to pick up Paula Chase-Hyman’s latest book. To learn more about her or her books, visit www.paulachasehyman.com
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