Thursday, October 25, 2012

author interview: francine pascal

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Back in 1983 Francine Pascal created the series Sweet Valley High starring identical twins, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield.  A number of spin-off series (following the twins not only in their early years, but eventually moving on to college life) came after that and there was even a TV show that briefly aired.  Now decades later, the twins are back!  Their creator took some time to answer questions about Sweet Valley.

The first Sweet Valley High came out nearly 30 years ago and inspired many spin-offs.  What’s kept the saga going?

The characters.  Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield.  Everyone could identify with at least one of them and wish they were the other. Even though the twins were blond and from Los Angeles, girls all over the world loved them and their adventures. I didn't expect that, but I should have because some many teenage girls were going through the same feelings as the twins no matter where they lived or who they were. 

Diablo Cody is adapting Sweet Valley High for the big screen.  What are your thoughts?  Have you been involved with the screenplay?

I'm delighted that Diablo is adapting the books. She's a very good writer and particularly good with teenage girls. Up until now I've had little to do with the screenplay, but now that I've read it I've given them some of my ideas and they seem to like them so I will be more involved.

Which of the many Sweet Valley characters is your favorite and why?  

Elizabeth. I identified with her because she was closer to my teenage life than Jessica or any of the others. We both wrote for the school paper and I gave her many of my own feelings. 

What book (your own or someone else’s) has had the most impact on your life?  

The Wandering Jew by Eugene Sue. He was the French Dickens and his novels had fabulous characters and stories.

Any more adventures planned for the Wakefield twins? 

Well, now that The Sweet Life has done so well, perhaps I will do more. I liked the novella style and writing the serial was fun for me.

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