Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers/ Penguin Random House
Pub Date: January 31st, 2016Buy it: Amazon | B&N | Book Depository
The girls of Devonairre Street have always been told they’re cursed. Any boy they love is certain to die too soon. But this is Brooklyn in 2008, and the curse is less a terror and more a lifestyle accessory—something funky and quaint that makes the girls from the shortest street in Brooklyn special. They wear their hair long and keys around their necks. People give them a second look and whisper “Devonairre” to their friends. But it’s not real. It won’t affect their futures.
Then Jack—their Jack, the one boy everyone loved—dies suddenly and violently. And now the curse seems not only real, but like the only thing that matters. All their bright futures have suddenly gone dark.
The Careful Undressing of Love is a disturbing and sensual story of the power of youth and the boundless mysteries of love set against the backdrop of Haydu’s brilliantly reimagined New York City.
Corey Ann Haydu is the critically acclaimed author of several novels for young readers novels, including OCD Love Story, which earned her a Publishers Weekly Flying Start. Her books have been Junior Library Guild, Indie Next, and BCCB Blue Ribbon selections. Corey lives in Brooklyn with her dog, her fiancé, and a wide selection of cheese.
Brittany: What made you decide to write a magical realism book?
Corey: I first started experimenting with magic in my books when I wrote my first middle grade novel, RULES FOR STEALING STARS. I never thought I could write magic, but I ended up falling in love with it through what I thought was a silly experimentation and ended up being an actual novel. When I finished that book, I knew I had to keep playing with the genre. I loved how complicated it was to work with magic, I loved the challenge, and I loved how it opened up new ways to tell the stories I want to tell. The one thing I never want to be as a writer is bored. And I never want my readers to be bored. I like surprising people—even the ones who know my work really well. And adding magic into my contemporary has really helped me do that.
Brittany: Why did you pick the setting of New York City for your book?
Corey: I’ve been living in New York for over fifteen years, and this was my second book set there. I started thinking about the setting when I first moved out to Brooklyn, almost seven years ago, and I wanted to capture the neighborhood feel, the deep sense of history in this borough. I’m now married to someone born and raised here, so it’s part of my life in a profound way. I love telling stories set in New York because I know it so intimately. And for these girls, I felt they needed to be somewhere with a lot of attention on it. Some stories are better told in quieter locations, but this story needed the feeling of the eyes of the world being on their city at all times. I moved to New York about two weeks before 9/11, so that colors my experience of living here and it also colors this book. It’s the first time I’ve written with some of those feelings in mind.
Brittany: What's the weirdest thing you've had to look up for research while writing?
Corey: For this book, I spent a LOT of time reading about magical properties of food, symbolic properties of food, the alchemy of food. I am a huge food lover, so it was fascinating thinking about food from that new perspective, beyond taste. I researched the proper care of peonies and had to look up pre-9/11 airport policies. I’ve also recently spent a lot of time re-learning fifth-grade science for a book.
Brittany: If you could co-write a book with any living author, who would it be and why?
Corey: There are SO MANY I would love to co-write with, including some friends who write YA who I feel sure I could do something special with. But in the adult literary world, I love Julie Orringer. Her short story collection, HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER, is a real favorite of mine. I read it in college and it made me understand more deeply what kind of stories I want to write. She has such a creative mind and a unique voice. I’d be interested in what kind of story we could come up with together, and the ways she might push me as a writer.
Brittany: If you couldn't be a writer/author anymore, what would be your #1 dream profession?
Corey: I used to be an actor and I would never go back to that, but I spent time in college studying drama therapy and I LOVED that. I think I would love to be a Drama Therapist, maybe in a children’s hospital. And who knows, maybe I will follow up on that dream someday!
Brittany: If you could travel anywhere in the world for writing inspiration, where would it be?
Corey: I’ve always wanted to go to Argentina. I once spent a few years studying Eva Peron, and though I don’t think I would write a story set there necessarily, I think there’s always little inspirations that can seep into your work. Being somewhere new, in a place that ignites curiosity and reflection, is great for your work. I’d love to be somewhere new to shake my brain up, and I think that would be a really exciting place to stretch and learn.
Brittany: What authors and specific literary works have inspired you the most as a writer throughout your life?
Corey: Sylvia Plath is one of my biggest inspirations. I loved her honesty and bravery and forthrightness. I also was HUGELY inspired by Sandra Cisneros’s THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET. I read it in 9th grade and it changed my whole understanding of what a novel could look like. I loved the way she wrote about small moments, I loved the whole concept of vignettes. As a senior, I wrote my own little book of vignettes as my senior project. I haven’t yet done it as an adult, but I think I write with moments in mind. I write lots of tiny moments and they make up a book. I learned that from Cisneros. I’ve been inspired by John Irving and Pablo Neruda and Judy Blume and Joyce Carol Oates and John Patrick Shanley.
Brittany: Can you tell us anything about your upcoming projects? What are you working on now?
Corey: THE CAREFUL UNDRESSING OF LOVE was such an amazing creative experience, I’ve been trying to focus on staying in that zone—risk taking, pushing myself, making big, exciting choices, not holding back, writing from an excited, inspired place. I have another middlegrade book coming out this year in June, THE SOMEDAY SUITCASE which I like to think of as “My Girl” with magic. It’s a friendship story that I really loved writing and that has snow globes and science class and a girl named Clover who thinks she might be the only cure for her best friend’s illness.
I’ve been playing with a lot of other ideas as well—for all different ages—all of which are strange and complicated and scary to write and ultimately, as always, about girls and women who are struggling to figure out how they fit into a world that isn’t sure how it feels about girls and women.
Brittany: That sounds awesome! I can't wait to read what you have up for us next ^_^ Thank you so much for doing this interview with me and being on the blog today!
1/30 – Brittany’s Book Rambles – Interview
1/31 – YA Book Central – Excerpt
2/1 – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Guest Post
2/2 – Super Space Chick – Reasons to Read
2/3 – Page Turners – Deleted Scene
2/6 – The Books Buzz – Review + Mood Board
2/7 – Alexa Loves Books – Guest Post
2/8 – Lost in Literature – Guest Post
2/9 – Pop! Goes the Reader – The Writing’s On the Wall
2/10 – Novel Novice – Review
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