This week, we’re visiting with Suzanne Kamata, author of SCREAMING DIVAS. This contemporary YA novel follows four girls as they form a punk band, and you can check out the tour giveaway at the end of the interview.
Trudy, Cassie, Harumi, and Esther are very different girls. What inspired this diverse cast of characters for SCREAMING DIVAS?
Mainly, I was trying the writing process interesting for myself. I wanted to have four very different stories with four different characters. I enjoyed switching between storylines when I was having trouble with or needed a break from one of them. More specifically, the characters themselves have a little bit of me in them, and are also inspired by people I knew, or people I came across in real life or the media. Trudy’s character was originally based on Courtney Love, though I hope she has taken on a life of her own. When I came up with Cassie, I was thinking about Jon-Benet Ramsey, and that whole weird child beauty pageant thing that’s so big in the South. Harumi was inspired by one of few Asian-American girls that I saw around Columbia, South Carolina in the 1980s. She was actually a server at the bar in the book.
I know this can be a super tough question, but which of the four girls is your favorite? Did that change as you wrote and edited the book?
Trudy was my favorite to writer, because she was so over-the-top — maybe even more so in earlier drafts. Harumi is probably my favorite, though. I live in Japan now, so I understand the pressures that she is under. I think that the more I fleshed out the other characters, especially while revising, the more I liked them.
Of the four girls, who do you think is changed most dramatically by participating in the band?
Well, I guess that would be Cassie. Secondly would be Esther, who develops confidence and learns to stand up for herself.
What bands would you recommend for readers who want to get a feel for what the Screaming Divas sound like?
I’d recommend bands like Bikini Kill, Sleater-Kinney, Babes in Toyland, and the Japanese all-grrl group Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her.
Thanks so much for having me on your blog!