Q&A with Emily Craven

1. Please tell our readers about your novel, The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain, Photographer Extraordinaire.

The Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain’ is a comedy told through Facebook status updates, comments, private messages and notes. In this first book
Madeline has just achieved her dream, acceptance into world famous photographer, Jason I’Anson’s, exclusive college in New York. Like many people of her generation who travel overseas, she turns to Facebook as a medium to pass on news and keep in touch with her family and friends. But her move from the sleepy Australian town of Adelaide to New York City doesn’t exactly turn out as she expected. There is no denying Madeline is a Chaos Magnet. From her first meeting with her chain smoking, club crazy house mate and his superhero Mexican Chameleon, Duncan (who can move from one side of the room to the other in a blink of eye), she knew she was in for an interesting time. Add an umbrella rigged by her brother to yell abuse at surrounding pedestrians when it rains, pizza deliveries to porn sets and being pulled in by the FBI for questioning after an explorative stint into spy photography, and things move from the interesting to the ridiculous.

Egged on by her Australian Facebook friends, Madeline tries to find her feet in the big city. But this may be harder for her to achieve than first thought, after she accidentally blackmails a famous model cheating on her boyfriend. In a world of status updates, blogs and photographic file sharing, where everyone who adds you can follow your every move, Madeline has to get herself out of the hole she's dug.

However, the story doesn’t stay on the page. Taking advantage of the age of social media, readers can now interact with the main characters from Madeline Cain on Facebook. Each character has their own page where readers will find the characters interacting and posting additional pictures, videos and more.

2. So, why tell the story through Facebook?

Facebook is a conversation! It is how you tell your friends stories about your life, and it is a perfect way to tell a story. There are updates and comments, notes and private messages. Anything you want to say you can say it to the world or in private, either way it is great for a traveller like Madeline, who doesn't want to worry about writing and sending individual emails. Facebook has been a part of young adult life for over a decade now, young readers understand there is a creative element to how you present yourself, why wouldn't you make use of something young adults intimately connect with? I also know a LOT of kooky people on Facebook who make me laugh, their real personalities come out in ways I don't expect, I wanted that energy to come through. You can tell a lot about friends from what they like on facebook, what groups they join and what they believe is important enough to post.

I also love the element of realism it gives to the characters, after all in Facebook we always know there is some real on the other end of the profile…

3. Madeline has an 'interesting' time since moving to New York. What is your favorite scene in this book?

By far my favourite scene was when Madeline meets her new and 'improved' umbrella, Laani. Basically her brother is an evil mastermind, and adds a mechanical voice box to the umbrella so it shouts abuse at the people around Madeline when it rains. Coming up with rain related insults was hilarious and some of the best fun I have ever had writing. "I stop rain, not stupidity", "It's raining, its pouring, you're positively boring" and "A bird crapped on my head... you owe me big time." are some of my favourites. I actually named the umbrella after my sister (at her request) and convinced her to do some voice recordings of the insults. They're going to go up on my website for people to download as message tones in a couple of weeks!

4. Is any of this book based on real-life events?

A lot of the travel related episodes are mine, the plane ride there, doing the touristy stuff around town. Can't say I've ever blackmailed someone, or been picked up by the FBI for being too photographically creative! Many of the status updates though are adaptations of status updates my friends have put up. You can decide which ones are from my real-life friends...

5. What's next for Madeline?

Madeline is coming to the end of her twelve months in NYC and she's in trouble. She may have snagged a boyfriend, but her hours have been cut at work and after talking with a group of Pro-photographers at the charity ball she realises she has no idea what type of photography she's going to specialise in. Her classmates have their paths figured out, but she better decide fast, after twelve months is up she needs a portfolio of impressive photographs to match theirs or it's back to Australia, and being one of a thousand unknown photographers just trying to get by. But Madeline can never do things the normal way and in her race to make money and find her dream job she finds herself dealing with potential marfia members, fashion tycoons, crazed children, paparazzi, her boyfriend's Japanese Game Show antics and a zombie or two. Nothing Madeline can't handle on her quest from semi-pro to photographic superstar.

This or That?
1. Coffee or tea? Tea! Particularly Green tea :)
2. Romance or Suspense? Romance, Suspense is great in movies but drives me crazy in books!
3. Cat or dog? Dogs, though cats love me, probably because I ignore them.
4. Chips or ice-cream? Ice-cream
5. Beach or mountains? Mountains, I LOVE hiking.

To find out more about Emily Craven, check out her websiteThe Grand Adventures of Madeline Cain: Photographer Extraordinaire is available at Amazon.