If you’ve ever met me, then there’s a 99% chance you’ve heard me talk about VC Andrews and how much I love Flowers in the Attic. (This is not an exaggeration.) If you’ve never read Flowers in the Attic and made the mistake of mentioning this to me, you’ve probably also been treated to my infamous rendition of its plot…and if you were too slow to escape, I then surely moved on to summarizing My Sweet Audrina, stopping short of spoiling the greatest plot twist in all of English literature. (Also not an exaggeration.)
Flowers in the Attic is not my favorite book. Nor, it kills me to admit, is it a particularly good book, at least by any sane standard. And yet it is somehow, a great book (cf the Holly Black Theory of GreatnessTM , in which a book’s capacity for true greatness is directly proportional to the amount of crazy it contains). It is what VC Andrews’ editor brilliantly dubs an “awful classic.”
And I know this, because she told me herself.
Along with a bunch of other stuff, some of which I was even allowed to write down and publish for public viewing.
That’s right. This is how I spent my summer vacation, or at least the most important day of it: INTERVIEWING VC ANDREWS’ EDITOR, the woman who helped shape Flowers in the Attic (and My Sweet Audrina, and all the other real VC novels) and bring it into the world.
How to go about interviewing one of your heroes:
Step 1: Find out The Toast is doing a VC Andrews day.
Step 2: Beg the nice people of The Toast to let you participate.
Step 3: Pitch them your dream article, aka an interview with Ann Patty.
Step 4: Email Ann Patty, but given that you’re in the middle of the worst stretch of bad luck you’ve had all year, don’t hold out much hope.
Step 5: Get an immediate response that contains a big fat YES.
Step 6: Freak the f#^& out.
It looked a lot like this.
While, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance you know of my VC Andrews obsession, but it’s doubtful you know of my massive phobia about interviewing people. This may stem back to my adolescent journalism career, which was filled with traumatic events like interviewing the dentist who’d given his dog a root canal or the woman who’d been making custom lingerie for fifty years (this at an age where I was still a little afraid to say the word “bra” in mixed company), not to mention the year when it was my (part-time) job to wander up to strangers on the street and ask if they’d done ever anything weird enough to merit spotlight in the local paper.
It might have something to do with my stint as editor-in-chief of the world’s saddest high school newspaper when, among other things, I was forced to write an article all about the evils of smoking pot. (As you can imagine, this did wonders for my popularity.)
I am not kidding about that:
It may simply have been that I was incredibly shy and socially awkward and terrified of having conversations with strangers, not to mention getting sued by them later, having misquoted their lingerie statistics or dental procedure.
For whatever reason, by the time I got to college, my vision of being a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist was somewhat torpedoed by the fact that every time I wrote an article, I had to overcome a mini-panic attack before calling anyone on the phone for a quote, and would then spend the next week wracked by nightmares that I’d gotten it wrong and would soon be sued for libel.
Anyway, my point is, there’s very little that could have dragged me back to journalism, at least the kind that requires talking to other human beings. (If only blogging had been invented just a couple years earlier, I coulda been a contender), but this was worth it.
And it turns out talking to other human beings and writing down what they say? Not so bad as I remember.
Though it definitely helps when the other human being is saying things about VC Andrews. AMAZING things. As you will see RIGHT HERE.