Author Spotlight: Maxine Kaplan

May 11, 2018

Today we are pleased to feature YA author Maxine Kaplan and her debut novel THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL (Amulet Books, May 15, 2018).

Cover design © Catharine Casalino
Be sure to enter the giveaway for a copy!

Tell us about yourself and how you came to write for teens.

I think the most important thing to know about me, and about how I came to write YA, is that I grew up reading ALL. THE. TIME. Yeah, I had a lot of interests—theater always, playing recorder (yes, recorder—come at me), later debate, for a brief, shining moment, sports—but on balance and at my core I was a reader first and foremost. And naturally much of what I read as a child was YA. I never let it go. It remained a passion. And when I started to get serious about writing, YA had evolved into the rich and varied genre that we know it to be today. So I think it was a natural evolution from a passionate reader to a writer of the types of stories I first became passionate about.

Congrats on your debut YA novel, THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL! Tell us about it & what inspired you.

Thank you! THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is my interpretation of a contemporary origin story for a femme fatale. And that was honestly the original inspiration behind it—the bad girls of film noir, Hitchcock, and James Bond inspired me to re-write those tropes with an explicitly feminist angle. I’ve often called it a “feminist revisionist take on North by Northwest” and a “thriller about slut-shaming.” It’s a little hard to encapsulate.

Who would you cast in your book's movie version?

The dream was originally Kiernan Shipka. But I recently added Katharine Langford from Thirteen Reasons Why to my internal shortlist for my main character Kendall – I think she’s amazing.

Was your road to publication long and windy, short and sweet, or something in between?

Definitely something in between: it was slow and plodding. Methodical, but sloooooooow. My journey didn’t take a lot of twists and turns. I followed the standard playbook: write, revise, query, get rejected, revise again, get an agent, revise again, submit, wait, wait, get a book deal. But each step took an eternity. Put it this way: I started this book before I met the man who is now my husband.

What advice would you give to your younger self? Is this the same as you'd give to aspiring authors?

My biggest piece of advice is this: You can’t fix what you don’t write. That’s writing advice, but I think applying it to most life issues makes sense. You can get better at something you don’t attempt.

What is one thing most people don't know about you?

Hmmmmm. I think Daniel Tosh is very funny. Does that count?

Where can people find you online?

I have a website that I don’t keep very well update at I tweet and Instagram at @MaxineGKaplan.

Maxine Kaplan was born in Washington, DC. She and her twin sister spent their early childhoods trotting behind their journalist parents as they traveled around the world, eventually settling in Brooklyn, NY. Maxine graduated from Oberlin College in 2007. Following a long stint in the world of publishing, she has worked as a private investigator since 2009. She lives in her adopted hometown of Brooklyn, NY, with her lovely husband and complex cat. THE ACCIDENTAL BAD GIRL is her debut novel. Follow Maxine on Twitter @MaxineGKaplan

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  1. I relate to you about the publishing industry being slow. But you made it!

  2. I tend to read more middle grade than YA, but this sounds fascinating. I love that your background is as a private investigator — that should generate plenty of ideas for stories! Thanks for the "keep at it" advice.

  3. This book sounds like it has some good drama!

  4. Thanks for sharing today. The publishing process takes so long. This is scary to me--to write and then not know if anyone would want to publish my writing. Can't wait to read your book.


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