Saturday, December 5, 2009

Tenner Interview- CJ Omololu: Author of Diry Little Secrets

1. What made you write about hoarders?
I was reading a magazine article about a woman who had grown up in a hoarded home and it gave me an idea for a story. I've always been curious about people who grow up in unusual situations and how they use that experience in their lives.

2. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Listen and practice. And make yourself sit down and write something every day. I had a lot of hints early on in high school and college that writing fiction would make a good career, but it wasn't until I had my own children that it even occured to me to write stories. I really feel that I wasted a lot of time. Listen to the voices inside - they will give you big hints about the direction you should take in your life. The hardest part of writing is actually sitting down, opening up the notebook or laptop and writing something down - the whole "wait for the muse" thing will have you sitting with a bunch of half-finished manuscripts in no time. .

3. Have you ever known a hoarder?
Yes, which made it a bit easier to write the book. I've known several hoarders of varying degrees throughout my life - once you start talking about it, almost everyone has known someone or had a family member that suffered from compulsive hoarding.

4. Did you have to do a lot of research while writing this book?
Tons. Luckily, I sent an email to the website Children of Hoarders and three wonderful women answered my request for help. They were invaluable to the process - sending me ideas and photos, telling stories and reading parts of the book as I finished. I've had a few people who have hoarders in their families read the book and tell me that the details were very accurate, and that's all thanks to my "experts". Now there is a show called Hoarders on A&E, but there were just a few documentaries available back in late 2007 when I wrote the book.

5. What is it like being a tenner?
I love, love, love the Tenners! It's been so great to be part of a group of people who are going through what you are going through and "get" all your angst. I have two new critique partners who are Tenners and we've been reading each other's new books and I hope these partnerships last a long time. The entire kidlit community is so amazingly supportive that even if I have an idea for an adult book, I'll have to write it as YA because I'd miss it so much.

6. Is there anything that you would like to add?
There has been a lot of talk about the ending of Dirty Little Secrets - I'm not going to give away any spoilers here, except to say that this isn't a "how-to" manual. It is the story of one girl in one situation and really, it is the only way for her particular story to end. I didn't set out to become a hoarding expert, but because of my research I've put together a pretty extensive list of websites for hoarders, their friends and their families on the Resources page of my website.

Dirty Little Secrets on Goodreads.

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