the MFA in Writing for Children & Young Adults Author Blog


Posted by Tami Brown on Fri, Mar 14, 2014 @ 16:03 PM

Devil's TemptationIntroducing The Devil's Temptation by Toni De Palma!

Fighting the Devil brought Cooper and Grace together. But without a little evil to spice things up, the everyday life of a normal teenager is pretty dull. A summer job crewing on a billionaire’s yacht in sunny Italy might be just the ticket to rekindle passion. While the setting is perfect, the winding, sinister back streets of Naples are also the perfect playground for a scorned Lucifer to wreak havoc. And if evil doesn’t rip them apart, the sultry billionaire’s daughter and the sexy First Officer might be what it takes to finally destroy Cooper and Grace’s love forever.

Who was your favorite character to write and why?

As a middle aged woman, I loved the opportunity to don the persona of Cooper, a 17 y.o. boy. Cooper loves Grace and he wants to prove he deserves her, but as a seventeen year old boy, he struggles with his own lack of confidence and his overactive hormones. Cooper fights against Lucifer, but his biggest fight is actually with himself. Cooper is witty, goofy and I love the things that pop out of his mouth.

What nugget of craft advice has been especially helpful to you?

Whenever I write a scene, I ask myself two things: What does my character want and what does my character really want? What a character thinks they want in terms of a tangible outcome can be quite different than what they want to feel (their emotional goal).

Another handy piece of advice was given to me by Sharon Darrow. Sharon taught me to think in terms of a chain of events that starts with a stimulus, then leads to a reaction, then ultimately leads to a character reacting. This has been very valuable whenever I'm stuck in a scene and don't know what should happen next.

Do you write in silence? If not, what’s your soundtrack?

Coffee shops and/or music don't work for me. I'm a terrible eavesdropper and I suck up other people's vocal inflections like a sponge. Since I don't want every one of my characters to sound like they're from New Jersey, I choose to work at my kitchen table in complete quiet.

Tell us about your writing community. Are you in a critique group? Does your son or mom read your early drafts? Is Twitter your bastion of support?

I've been part of the same writer's group since graduating from VC and my critique buds are indispensable. Aside from their great critiques, I've learned a lot about social media and marketing from my writing friends. When I first started writing, I shared my work way too early. Now my early drafts are for my eyes only.

Who were your advisors at VC?

Louise Hawes, Sharon Darrow, Jane Resh-Thomas and Norma Fox-Mazer.

What is your favorite VCFA memory?

Sitting on my bed in my room, looking out on the snow coated campus and letting my imagination go. The quiet, the love and support from faculty and students, and knowing I'd finally found my place in the world. It felt just like heaven.

Toni De Palma

The Devil's Triangle (Book 2 in the Devil series) (Crescent Moon Press, March 14th, 2014)

Topics: young adult, 2014 release, Crescent Moon Press, Toni De Palma

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