Spark Love this Summer with “32 Candles”

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We all know (or should know) that no love story is perfect. Rarely does the guy meet the girl, they immediately fall in love and then go running into the sunset together. Sometimes it takes a long road. Sometimes people have issues to work through. And sometimes, we make dumb slash insane slightly illegal mistakes along the way.

In author Ernessa T. Carter’s new book she examines the reality of love and beauty in context of a southern black girl’s life.  The girl: silent nerd type who is called “Monkey Night” (seriously). The guy: Head high school quarterback and heir to million-dollar company.

Will they ever get together?

MN: How much is the book’s main character connected to you?

Carter:  This book overlaps to both John Hughes’ films and “The Color Purple.”  I kind of feel like Davie (main character) is to me as Molly Ringwald is to John Hughes, as Celie is to Alice Walker; in that we don’t really have much in common.

MN: Then where did your inspiration come from?

Carter:  I was living in Japan and I was always looking for things to read. And the book store closest to me had a section with just film scripts. And part of them were in English and the other part in Japanese. And as I was reading the script for “Sixteen Candles” it just occurred to me… I loved the movie so much when I was in high school. And I really wanted to have a high school experience like that but I was black and from St. Louis and really not popular at all. It occurred to me, what would it be like if someone experienced something like this at an older age. So it started percolating there in 2005.

MN: How long was the writing process?

Carter:  It took two years. Was a fairly organic process, slowly coming together to what you have now.

MN: The breakup of the chapters is unique and important to the story flow. How did that come about, stylistically?

Carter:  You know, I wish I knew! [Laughs] It’s funny because I knew what had happened between the “Then” and “Now” sections, but I literally felt like I couldn’t figure out where to talk about it. But it works, because it’s a surprise for the readers.

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