July 8, 2014

Elspeth the Living Dead Girl: The Art of Teen Girl Flirting by Stuart West

I'm happy to turn my blog over to Stuart R. West. He'd like to talk a little about his new book, ELSPETH THE LIVING DEAD GIRL. Or more accurately, about the voice within the book. 

Take it away, Stuart.

Thanks so much, Kai, for having me on your blog.

Elspeth the Living Dead Girl is my newest novel.  One live girl, one dead, both sharing the same body. It’s complicated. Elspeth is a take no prisoners tough gal, dead, plucked from Limbo to take over Elizabeth’s body to bring down a high school drug dealer. On the other hand, Elizabeth is an ice princess, a future dominator of the world. All she wants to do is marry Prince Charming, make a couple million bucks, and most importantly, become prom queen. Very different agendas.

You know, I’m probably not the most logical choice to be the biographer of these two very different teen girls. I’m a 53 year old male. What do I know, right? But as Elizabeth channels Elspeth, the two girls pretty much channeled through me as well. All of my past protagonists have been male. This book was daunting to write, yet I had loads of fun writing this tale. The book’s told via a twin narrative of the teen gals. And they pretty much wrote themselves. I couldn’t stop them.

When my wife read it, she flipped out, asked me, “How did you learn so much about how teen girls flirt?” I said, “I didn’t. They told me.”

Here. Elizabeth is taking on a “project,” teaching her new friend-in-training how to deal with boys:

Next up in my tutorial came the fine art of flirting, a true talent bestowed upon very few girls. Not only was it fun, but if done properly, it was an amazing way to get boys to do things for you.
“Okay, Addie, how would you approach a boy?” I asked her at our initial training session.
She swayed back and forth uncertainly in her flats. “I don’t know. I guess I’d go up to him and ask him if he’s going to the spring formal—”
“Wrong!” I turned the full-length mirror toward her. “Addie, pretend your image is the boy you desire.” I quickly put a stop to her eye rolling with a glare. “First, you never act desperate! Desperation is a tool reserved for those lacking in self-confidence. You may as well wear a sign, saying, ‘I’m desperate! Someone—anyone—date me!’”
“Elizabeth, I don’t know—”
 “I know, Addie. That’s why you have me.” I flashed my perfect teeth at her. “Okay, now sashay!”
“Um, what?”
“Sashay! Sashay in front of the boy, taking extra care to not look him in the eyes.”
“Okay.” Addison moved her hips back and forth like she’d lost her point of gravity. She turned to me, giggling. “Elizabeth, I feel silly.”
 “You do look silly. Who taught you how to sashay, anyway? Madame Olga of the house of ill-repute?”
Addison snorted, attempting to cover the uncouth sound with her hand.
“Okay, we do not sashay like common hos. Watch.” I walked toward the mirror, chin jutting out, shoulders balanced and back, legs close together, eyes locked firmly in front of me. I paused in front of the mirror, flung my hair back before continuing. “Did you see what I did there?”
 “Wow…yeah.” I had totally earned the admiration in her voice.
“Now you try.” It took Addison longer than two hours before she mastered the subtle, yet classy, sashay. And this was only the first lesson in how to deal with boys. A slow student, but I felt she’d be worth the effort.
“Where did you learn how to do that, Elizabeth?”
“I suppose I learned a lot of it from my mother. She’s a bona fide trophy wife. We could both learn a lot from her. Okay, once you get the boy’s attention, what do you do next?”
Addison stared into the mirror, a goofy smile plastered across her face. “Hi! I’m Addison. Are you going to the dance?”
“Wrong!” I clapped my hands together loudly, startling her. “Addie, Addie, Addie, what are we going to do with you?” Although the question was rhetorical, I stared at her expectantly, letting her realize the severity of her situation. “Here’s what you do next…nothing.
“Nothing?”
“Absolutely nothing.
“Huh.”
 “Once you master the first steps, and it will take practice and determination, you might try a backward glance, followed by a brief smile—mouth closed, no teeth showing. But since you’re a beginner, just skip that part for now.”
“But what if it puts him off?”
I hung my head, shaking it like a bobblehead. “Addie, do you trust me?” She nodded emphatically, her eyes wide with adulation. “Fine. You obviously don’t know boys. It’s bred into their nature to enjoy a challenge. They have to think they’re the ones in charge, the ones who make the conquest. So, we let them think that. What they don’t know is we’re the ones who pull the strings on these silly little would-be macho marionettes.”
Addison laughed.
“Just trust me, Addie. You repeat this first step several times—just like treating your hair, wash, rinse, repeat—and soon, they’ll be chasing you around, doting on your every word and command.”
***
Did I capture it or not, you be the judge. But prepare yourself for mystery, comedy, drama, suspense, and, I hope, a few tissues as well.

Elspeth the Living Dead Girl:


The Tex, the Witch Boy Trilogy:

  

11 comments:

  1. Ha! Great post!
    Having read (and loved) the book, I can attest to the fact that you nailed not only the flirting, but all the other teen-isms as well. Nicely done!

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    1. Heather, I haven't read this one yet, but I love Stuart's writing. Glad you stopped by.

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    2. Thanks Heather! I must say it was an interesting experiment. Now I feel the need to cleanse myself by writing a grown-up protagonist.

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  2. I am so looking forward to reading this book. As soon as I catch up with my backlog. Love the cover too.

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    1. Aren't Stuart's books great? It is always nice when you can just know you will like a new book from an author. Thanks for visiting, Beverly.

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    2. Thank you Beverly. Hope you enjoy the book.

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  3. Love this post! Got this one on my TBR list.

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    1. Am I the only one who envies full-time book reviewers? 'Cause...I could read these great books so much faster if I was reading full-time. ;) Good to see you, Katie.

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    2. Thanks for the kind words, Katie.

      And, thank you, Kai, for hosting me and the girls.

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    3. Happy to have you, Stuart.

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