As the girl who always felt like the DUFF (designated ugly fat friend) in high school, when I heard about this book I could not pass up an interview with this amazing author! I'm so excited for this book to come out this fall and will be waiting like a Star Wars fan to get my first copy! *note I will not camp out infront of Barnes and Noble, because I think that's illegal in this county.
Kody was born and raised in rural western Kentucky, where she attended high school and began writing her first long pieces of fiction. Kody wrote THE DUFF during her senior year at McLean County High School.
Kody is now nineteen and attending Ithaca College in New York where she's majoring in writing and finishing her second novel to be published by Poppy in Fall 2011.
She loves books, converse tennis shoes, New York City, and popular TV teen dramas. When she isn't writing, she's spending time with her friends and, most likely, doing piles and piles of homework she has neglected.
Kody is a contributor to the writing blog YA Highway and a member of the contemporary, realistic YA fiction group The Contemps, set to launch in mid August 2010.
You can also follow Kody on Twitter.
Mrs. Vee: For those people that dont know, can you describe what your debut novel THE DUFF is about and what was your inspiration for the book?
Kody: THE DUFF is about a 17 year old girl who discoers she may be the DUFF (desiganted ugly fat friend) of her group of friends and, to distract herself from her family troubles and newfound self esteem problems, she decides to have an enemies-with-benefits relationship with her school's most notorious womanizer.
I was inspired to write THE DUFF during my senior year of high school. That's when I first heard the word "duff." The actual idea of writing a book called THE DUFF was just a joke at first, but then the plot - the characters really - just hit me! I had to write the book, and I had to tell this story.
Mrs. Vee: Do you relate to your main character and what was your life like as a teenager? (Okay so I believe you actually are still one, but you've had a few good years in to give your perspective.)
Kody: I do relate to Bianca - the main character in THE DUFF. Is she based on me? No. But I definitely have things in common with her. I have thigns in common with all my characters - if I didn't, it would be hard to write about them, really. But my ultimate goal is to write characters EVERY girl can relate to. Hopefully, I succeeded!
I am still a teenager, and to be honest? My life in high school (i'm in college now) was tragically boring. I know, that isn't what anyone wants to hear, but I think that's the truth of most teenagers. I lived in a small town and I didn't have a car. My life consited of school, lots of TV, the occasional trip to town with my friends, and, well, writing. I didn't go to any good parties - no one in my town did, I"m pretty sure - and I definitely wasn't the most popular girl in school. Far less exciting than the teen movies make it look. But, aside from her enemies-with-benefits story, I think Bianca has the same kind of small-town ordinary life.
That said, my ordinary, boring life wasn't without drama or angst. Ugh, there was far too much of it even! High school was one of the best and worst times of my life in unison. I think a lot of us feel that way. Some days sucked and I never would repeat those, but others . . . other times, I miss it. So I write about it.
Mrs. Vee: What do you want readers to take away from this book? What advice can you give to other teenage girls that might feel like the DUFF?
Kody: I want people to put THE DUFF down with a smile on their face. That's the most important part. But I also hope girls finishe reading the book and realize that every girl has felt like a duff at some point. We all feel unattractive at some point. I don't really have advice to give. Heck, some days I still need the advice! But just a little post-high-school wisdom: We all feel like the weak link sometimes, but we're also the strongest at others.
Mrs. Vee: What are the best and worst things about being a young novelist?
Kody: The best part is getting to write the stories I have always wanted to tell. This is my dream job - SERIOUSLY what I have always wanted.
The worst part is the nerves! I"m so nervous about what others will think about my book. But I think all writers have that.
Mrs. Vee: You were born and raised in Kentucky and took the leap to go to to school in New York. What made you take a big jump in going to school that far away? How has it been adjusting to life in New York?
Kody: Well, to start with, I go to school in upstate New York. For those of you who don't know, outside of NYC, its' NOTHING like the city. Ithaca, where i go to school, isn't too different from small town Kentucky. Though, to be fair, I do visit NYC a lot, and it's my favorite place in the world.
As far as making the choice to leave - it was never a choice. I've known since I was a little kid that I wanted to o to college far away. I wanted to break out and be different. I wanted to see more of the world than I ever had. So I applied to colleges far from home. Ithaca was a great fit for me! It was never a choice to go to New York, but that just happened to be where I belonged - forgive the cheesiness.
Adjusting was easy. I've always had an easy time going from place to place. And Ithaca just . . . fit. I'm a person meant to travel and be in new places. New York is only the first on my visit.
Mrs. Vee: Did you have any pitfalls in writing THE DUFF or your new WIP? How did you deal with those pitfalls and what advice can you give to other aspiring writers?
Kody: The worst part for me is writer's block. It hits me every so often and in the weirdest places - like "How do I write this scene where the characters wallk up this flight of stairs?" Things so silly! But that's the hardest part. I mostly just force myself through and assure myself that I can go back to those hard parts later.
My advice? Just. Keep. Writing. Don't give up. Don't doubt yourself. Those things dont' help anyone. Just keep writing.
Mrs. Vee: Will you be doing a book tour to promote THE DUFF? Or do you have any other book promotions in place?
Kody: I"m not totally sure yet. I'll be doing some promo, I know. For example, I'll be at Anderson's Bookshop's Young Adult Literature Conference in Chicogo. But aside from that, not sure yet. I'll announce events on my blog when I can.
Mrs. Vee: I saw that movies rights were picked up for THE DUFF, who would be your dream cast?
Kody: So funny you asked! I actually JUST picked my perfect Wesley.
Okay, first, two picks for Bianca. Either Ellen Page or Mae Whitman. Both are awesome.
For Wesley, the love interest, I'm going to say Jeremy Sumpter from Friday Night Lights. He just . . . has the look. I don't know how to put it beyond that.
Mrs. Vee: Favorite book, movie, food?
Kody: Oh, so hard!
Book - PRIDE AND PREJUDICE
Movie - CRUEL INTENTIONS
Food - Speghetti
Mrs. Vee: Famous last words?
Kody: Peace, dude!