Pretty Girls Make Graves by Nicole Trilivas
“My name is Justine and I have a story to tell. I have a story the way everyone has one, and it’s not a new story the way no one’s story is new. You’ve heard this one before. You hear it everyday.”About Nicole, from her site
So begins the story of the peculiarly pretty misfit Justine with the persistent need to recount her misadventures—even if it’s nothing you haven’t heard before. Sparked by a break-up with her married boyfriend, Justine trades in university for the underbelly of international cities, and descends into a destructive reinvention.
Acutely aware that she’s not the first girl to experience these formative misadventures, Justine hijacks the vocal chords of archetypal characters from myths, fairy tales, literature, and pop culture. She employs the stories that echo her story—the violent exit from girlhood via a botched love life—better than her own.
She doesn’t have to profess another mistress’s manifesto: Kalypso, one of the paramour goddesses from Homer’s Odyssey, has that one covered. She was never overtly vicious without provocation, that’s the job of a sadomasochistic Wicked Witch of fairy tale infamy. She doesn’t have a penchant for picking the wrong guy over her soul mate, Catherine of Wuthering Heights does.
PRETTY GIRLS MAKE GRAVES is a dark and stylized examination of the vicious things we do in the name of self-preservation, and questions the frantic necessity to tell our stories to establish human connection—however ugly they may be.
INTERVIEW WITH NICOLE TRILIVAS
Author of Pretty Girls Make Graves: a pretty girl’s ugly story told in borrowed voices
Available on Amazon
--The Twitter version: tell us about your book in 140 characters or less.
College runaway, Justine, recounts her misadventures abroad though the voices of archetypal characters from myths, and fairy tales.
--How did you get the idea for the story?
As a writer I was threatened by unoriginality: instead of running from the fear I embraced it with the character of Justine. Justine is self-aware enough to know that she isn’t the first girl to go through these treacherous rites of passages, and she’s also too timid to tell her tale forthright so she retreats into these archetypal characters like Medusa from Greek mythology or Rapunzel from fairy tale fame to tell the story for her--when they have parallel experiences.
--Which character would you most/least like to have dinner with?
Justine not only hijacks the vocal chords of characters from myths and fairy tales, but also literature and pop culture: basically any archetypal character. At one point, when she seems to make one bad decision after another, and begins to be unapologetic about it, she takes on the character of a tragic, domed Hollywood starlet in the vein of a Britney Spears or Lindsay Lohan. Dinner with her would be action packed to say the least, and she would be the character I’d most and least like to talk to!
--What are some of your favorite books? Do you still have much time to read?
I love coming of age stories, from the classics like The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, to the more modern, like The Invisible Circus by Jennifer Egan. I try to read as much as possible, and on a good week, I get through about two books. (And I still use libraries!)
--Do you have any other works in progress? Any teasers or release dates?
Not yet, but I hope to start something soon.
--If a fairy godmother told you your life could be like a favorite book for 24 hours, which book would you pick and why?
I would love to run around Europe being a tragically cool ex-pat in Ernest Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises. I’m jealous that I wasn’t alive during that period, and Ernest Hemingway captured it perfectly.
--Do you need anything to write (music, coffee, etc)? Are there any songs on your playlist- songs that inspired you or that were playing while you wrote?
Early on, a friend in the theatre encouraged me to write a character study of Justine. In the end I had an elaborate file on what Justine looked like, what she ate, drank, listened to, her fears, motivations etc. With her baby doll dresses, schoolgirl skirts, vintage jewelry, and punk blond bob, I thought she needed a soundtrack of 90s riot grrl music—and those playlists were eventually used in the book as section headers to set the tone.
--If you could have any superpower what would you choose?
To change into any animal at any time.
--Besides writing, what do you like to do in your free time?
I love to travel and explore—even in my own my backyard (I learned that one from Dorothy—though I’d much prefer to have a peek around Oz). I’ve been to over 30 countries and to every continent except Antarctica (which I will get to one day!). I do a lot of physical activities like yoga and snowboarding. And eating: I love finding and experiencing amazing food—whether it’s piping-hot street food or a gourmet feast by a celebrity chef.
Lightning round: this or that?
Vanilla or chocolate? Swirl
Edward or Jacob? Swirl?
Hockey or soccer? Soccer
Ebook or paper? Ebook
Salty or sweet? Sweet
Beach or mountains? Beach
Phone call or email? Email
Early bird or night owl? Night Owl
Dog or cat? Dog
Messy or neat? NeatNinjas or pirates? Ninjas