"I cannot live without books." -- Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, September 11, 2014

5 Questions with author Dawn O'Porter

1. You've had a colorful career as a television presenter, covering many topics with grace and humor. Did you balk at any assignments?
Ha, people always say I’m shameless and that I’d do anything on TV, but you’d be amazed what I’ve turned down. Most involve taking drugs on camera, having sex in the name of science and other big salacious ideas. I try to pick things that I think have a point. Like female issues and getting to know the weird and wonderful people in this world.

 2. Do you have a favorite?

Yes, I have a favorite. I made a documentary about Polygamy where I spent a week with a polygamous family. It felt exciting as, at the time, Polygamy was coming under a lot of fire in the media, and there I was, on the front line finding out what it was really about. You can’t beat that feeling in documentary making.

3. Paper Airplanes is loosely based on your childhood growing up in Guernsey. The two central characters are 15 year old schoolgirls, and wildly different but they forge an intense bond. How did you find a balance in humor and pain, and was it difficult to find those voices?

It was harder for me to find Flo’s voice because Renée is a version of me. But Flo isn't a version of anyone, I created her. I just wanted two girls who were very different to find a bond and so I had to start from scratch with Flo. Writing Renée felt very natural to me. As far as humor and pain goes, actually I found that easier than I expected. Many of the experiences the girls have I have experienced myself. From losing a parent to feeling misunderstood, and humor has always been present in my life. I think that especially as teenagers we are capable of switching from big emotion to big emotion, laughing and crying go hand in hand.

 4. You were born Dawn Porter and have worked for many years under that name. How did you arrive at O'Porter?

My husband’s surname is O’dowd and when we got married I couldn’t bear the idea of changing my name, it was never an option. But that wasn’t to say I didn’t want to do something, show unity in some way. Luckily the O’ was easy to take, so I changed my name my deedpoll and I absolutely love it. Around the time I was deciding what to do was when Paper Aeroplanes (UK edition) came out in the UK. We mocked up two covers, one with Porter and one with O’Porter. O’Porter looked better. So that was that, decision made.

 5. We love the wide variety of your projects. What's next?

I’m currently writing the third in the series of the Renée and Flo books, it’s called, Broken Eggs. After that, I have the fourth to write. I’m also launching my own fashion line called, BOB. Basically I am trying to carve out a future involving my two favorite things...books and dresses. Wouldn’t that be nice.

Dawn O'Porter celebrates the publication of her first (U.S.) novel Paper Airplanes at 4pm on Sunday, September 14th.

Read Dawn's blog here: http://www.dawnoporter.co.uk/


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