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Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Interview with Danielle Joseph, Author of Shrinking Violet

Today I'm thrilled to welcome Danielle Joseph, author of Shrinking Violet! Shrinking Violet is a novel about a painfully shy high school senior trying to find her voice in order to become a dj, despite the obstacles that stand in her way. I recently reviewed this book (which I absolutely adored). You can check out my review HERE.

I asked Danielle to discuss what is was like to work in radio, and how that experience influenced her in writing Shrinking Violet. This is what she had to say-

Working in radio was my favorite job, besides being an author. Throughout college, I worked as a DJ at our college station and interned at several commercial radio stations. I loved being on-air the best, alone with the mike and the music, broadcasting to thousands of people. Music is such an important part of so many people’s lives and it was great to be a part of delivering those tunes. I also really loved discovering new music and sharing it with my audience. This experience is the backdrop for Shrinking Violet and Tere’s outlet. Music holds so much power, it’s amazing.

Q&A with Danielle Joseph

What would Tere’s theme song be if you have to choose one in particular for her?

On my web site, http://www.daniellejoseph.com/, I have a playlist that inspired Tere’s character but if I had to pick one song, it would be Beautiful Flower by India Arie. The song was actually chose by a winner on a contest run by Lauren over at Shooting Star Mag. Readers were asked to pick a theme song for Tere and this was one of my favorites.

Who is your main character’s idol--living or dead?

Helen Keller is Tere’s idol because she is truly a survivor that overcame incredible odds to become such a remarkable human being.

What first sparked the creative muse and inspired you to write Shrinking Violet?

I was inspired by my love of music and my experience working in radio. I chose Tere to tell the story because I wanted to write about the underdog. About someone who would not let her own fears hold her back.

In Shrinking Violet, Tere often refers to the masks people wear to hide their true selves – for example, Tere’s mom transforms herself for each boyfriend, and Tere often refers to the masks of makeup women hide under. In a world where women are bombarded by the media with images of manufactured beauty and perfection, what would you say to all the “Shrinking Violets” like Teresa who struggle with self image and confidence issues?

I would tell all the shrinking violets out there to hold on, their time will come. If you continue to believe in yourself, you will find happiness, just like Tere did. Don’t let the media or those around you, define you, reach for your dreams. Also, behind every manufactured image is “the real story” and it’s often very different from what you see.

What were you like as a teen? Did you draw from any of your own experiences or the people in your life when constructing your characters?

I was shy as a teen but not nearly as shy as Tere. I flew under the radar a bit but was also a very silly person and loved using my imagination (I grew up in the times of prank phone calls, all harmless of course). I am the oldest of five siblings so my family life was a lot different than Tere’s. Luckily my mom is sweet and nothing like Delilah, Tere’s mom. Some of the characters from the radio station were based loosely on people that I encountered while working in radio.

What upcoming projects can we look forward to next from you- any new novels in the works?

My next novel, Indigo Blues, will be released by Flux in July, 2010. It’s told in two points of view (Indigo and Adam) and it’s about being thrust into the limelight after Adam writes a hit song about his bitter break up with Indigo. Currently I’m working on something new and different for me, Graveyard Shift, which involves spirits, love and humor. So far it’s been a lot of fun to write.

Danielle Joseph was a college DJ for five years on the Gyroscope, a world music show. She also interned at several top Boston radio stations while earning her BFA in Creative Writing and an MA in Marketing Communications and Advertising from Emerson College. She has taught Creative Writing and English to Middle school students.

Originally from Cape Town, South Africa, Danielle now lives in Miami, Florida with her husband and two young sons. These days you can find her cruising around with the tunes blaring and her internal DJ hard at work.


This book is in danger from going out of print. You can help by heading over to Danielle's blog HERE. She's got some really great prizes too! Up for grabs are $25 gift cards and ARC's of really great books like My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman, Ash by Malinda Lo and Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe!


carrie said...

Shrinking Violet sounds really GREAT and so does Danielle :) I am interested in that new book. Thanks for the interview!

sophia said...

I like the idea of a shy girl finding her way. Sounds like a great read! I am heading over to check out her blog too!

Cindy said...

I'm thinking about buying this one. What do you think? is it good??

RKCharron said...

Hi Kim & Danielle :)
Thank you for the great interview.
Thanks for sharing Danielle!
I've ordered SHRINKING VIOLET from the Book Depository.
All the best,

Kim said...

Cindy- I loved this book. I reviewed it on this site. Definitely should get!

Kate said...

Thanks for the awesome interview! I'm thinking of getting Shrinking Violet!