Daria Snadowsky lives in Las Vegas, practices law and writes young-adult (YA) novels for Random House … with all that spare time lawyers famously have. Her newest book, Anatomy of a Single Girl, comes out this week. Snadowsky talked to the Weekly about the local literary scene, sex and boyfriends.
When you were a teenager, which books had the biggest impact on you?
I swore by Judy Blume. She writes about adolescent experiences with uncompromising and unabashed honesty. And she never minimizes or trivializes the emotional roller coaster of growing up. I dedicated my first book to her.
What’s the best book you read last year?
I loved How To Be a Woman by Caitlin Moran. She examines nearly every major female issue with peerless honesty and self-deprecating humor. I strive for that kind of vulnerable narration.
What’s your new book about?
Eighteen-year-old Dominique is home for her first summer after freshman year of college. She’s still reeling from a bad breakup with her first love when she meets a dashing local college student. She knows she’s leaving for school again in a few weeks, so she’s faced with the dilemma of whether to try to pursue a serious relationship with him or just a temporary summer fling. She learns a lot about love and sex in the process.
Should we start with that book or should we start with your first book, Anatomy of a Boyfriend?
Ideally you should start with Anatomy of a Boyfriend, but it doesn’t really matter. I already heard from readers who started with Single Girl and then read Boyfriend—they didn’t feel that reading them out-of-order cheapened the experience. Boyfriend and Single Girl work as stand-alone titles, as well.
Random House—that’s a good get. How’d you pull that one off? I’m sure a lot of local writers would like to know.
My agent queried all the major publishing houses with Anatomy of a Boyfriend, and Delacorte Books for Young Readers (an imprint of RH Children’s Books) was the one that said yes. Then some time after Boyfriend came out, they requested a sequel.
Was your writing experience similar the second time around?
With Boyfriend, my editor requested a major rewrite, but the main story and themes never changed from the first draft. With Single Girl, it took forever to come up with the main story and themes, but once I did, the first draft required little rewriting.
Young-adult books deal with some very adult themes. You’ve got some explicit sex scenes in your books, for instance. Are there any lines you won’t cross?
I don’t include purely gratuitous or titillating sex scenes. My two books chronicle a girl’s sexual discovery, so of course there are a lot of love scenes, but they’re meant to enlighten and empower as much as to entertain. Most of all, they’re meant to be realistic. In real life, things don’t “fade to black” after a kiss. Intimacy can be magical and wonderful, but it can also be awkward, disappointing or just plain funny. I show all of that.
Are any topics ‘too adult-y’ for YA lit?
I’d like to think not. A lot of wonderful teen books concern difficult subject matters, such as drugs, disease, mental illness and suicide.
Compared to other big cities, there aren’t many writers in Las Vegas. Seems that way to me, at least. For you, is that a good thing or a bad thing?
It hasn’t affected me. As long as there’s the Internet, writers can connect with each other everywhere. And between the Vegas Valley Book Festival, library events and writing conventions, I think Las Vegas enjoys impressive author traffic.