Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Interview: Megan McCafferty + Thumped

I'm extraordinarily excited today to welcome author Megan McCafferty to the blog to answer a few questions about her newest release, Thumped (released April 24th from Balzer + Bray, you can read my review HERE). Both Bumped and Thumped are fascinating and truly thought-provoking reads, forcing us to ask ourselves some less-than comfortable questions and making them worthwhile reads for that very reason.

There are myriad of t-shirt slogans and music lyrics in both Bumped and Thumped that sometimes make us do a double take just to make sure we read them correctly. Do you remember the first slogan that popped into your head when you got the idea for Bumped?

I can’t remember what came first, but I do know how I went about it. For five summers I worked on the boardwalk in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. As anyone who has watched Jersey Shore can tell you, graphic (in all senses of the word) T-shirts are big business. The trashier, the better. So I’d ask myself, “Would Sand Tropez souvenir shop sell BORN 2 BREED tank tops? How about DO THE DEED booty shorts? Would someone get a HUMAN NAYCHA tattoo?” 

There are pros and cons to both Melody and Harmony’s drastically different upbringings. If you had to choose between life in Goodside or life outside, which would you choose?

I’d choose life in Otherside, with the option to rebel.

Let’s say Melody and Harmony suddenly find themselves transported back in time to Victorian London. What do you think would shock each of them the most about society’s views on courtship and marriage at that time?

Harmony would be surprised by how little has changed. Melody might be a little bit relieved that she’s not pressured to have sex—at first. But then she would quickly realize that repression is just another form of oppression.

Bumped and Thumped are books that inspire conversation–the moment we put them down we feel the need to tell someone about them and see what kind of reaction they have to what we’ve said. What’s the last book you read that made you want to immediately call someone and share with them everything you liked or didn’t like about it?

Thank you for saying that! I wrote BUMPED and THUMPED hoping I’d inspire readers to discuss uncomfortable issues. Conversation is more constructive than silence.

I’m re-reading THE HUNGER GAMES with my son for the first time since it came out in 2008. I just sent an email to my thirty-something brother-in-law telling him he HAS to read the series. He was a Classics major in college and teaches Latin and there are so many references in the novel to ancient Rome and Greece. He’ll appreciate those allusions more than I ever could.  

We don’t get to experience this world through Jondoe’s eyes at all, but he is very much a catalyst for a lot of the changes in both Harmony and Melody’s lives. What’s one specific thing about Harmony he would say made him want to change his life?

At first Jondoe is attracted to Harmony because she’s not following the RePro playbook as all his other “business” partners. She’s as hard-to-get as it gets for a professional sperminator and Jondoe is turned on by the challenge.

Harmony and Jondoe have been profoundly affected by their religious upbringings. And yet, they’re also very familiar with the more secular pleasures of the flesh. They share a desire to break away from the versions of faith they’ve been brought up to believe in, but don’t want to abandon them entirely. Ultimately, Jondoe and Harmony are on a similar spiritual journey, one that might be made easier if spent in each other’s company. 

Is there on particular aspect of Bumped or Thumped you thought might cause the largest number of conflicting opinions but then surprisingly didn’t, or one element that caused controversy you didn’t see coming?

I thought more readers would understand immediately that I was writing satire. I set out to send-up the culture wars. Everything—the language, the characters, the plot—is intentionally over-the-top. I mined dark humor from the grim scenario, and it’s an uncomfortable laughter I’m aiming for. It’s kind of laughter where you ask yourself whether you should be laughing. And that’s the whole point.

Were there any alternate titles for the books?

No. It was always two narrators, two books: BUMPED and THUMPED.

If Melody and Harmony could give the young women of today one piece of advice, what might each of them say?

I think they’d say something similar. “Be yourself always…Which is hard to do when you’re still finding out who you are.”

Thanks so much for taking the time to answer my questions Megan! More information on Megan and her books can be found here:



  1. Great interview. I need to read these books. I'm especially curious because of the tshirts

  2. Great interview Jenny and Megan! I also love books which after finishing them you feel the need to run out and chat to someone about it! It's good to know these are those sort of books! :)

  3. Great Interview!

    I love that she wanted to instigate conversation because I totally agree that conversation is better than silence any day of the week.

    That last piece of advice is so true no matter what age you are!

  4. Hi, Megan!! :) In my failed attempt not to be random, I have to say that I love how you spell your name the same way my friend does -- she always hates it when people spell hers with an accidental "H" LOL! x) But in (hopefully passing) attempt to remain on track, I really need to read Thumped and Bumped! I hope I'd be a total rebel too, if I lived in a dystopian world ;)

    Awesome interview, Megan & Jenny! I love having a chance to meet the authors behind the scenes! :) <3

  5. Lilly - You're welcome!

    Alison - They're really interesting reads, I enjoyed them:)

    Jasprit - These are definitely those sort of books!

    Felicia - Me too. I loved that answer:)

    Mimi - I'd like to think I'd be a rebel too! Maybe a kind of badass rebel? That'd be nice:)

  6. Great interview Jenny! I am looking forward to reading this book.

  7. Jenny, your Interviews are the best - seriously! I loved Bumped so much and I totally got the Satire part. I laughed so loud and I enjoyed this "over-the-top" story.

    I remember clearly when reading it, I had read the best part to hubs, who clearly didn't get my excitment but.. I just had to share!

    Can't wait to read Thumped!

  8. Loved this interview, Jenny! It is really sad that I can totally picture people who would wear those clothes and tattoos that Megan mentioned proudly. I think the worst part is them wearing it without thinking twice about it.

    I really enjoyed Bumped and I need to get Thumped quickly.

  9. Loved this! I interviewed her last year after reading Bumped and it was fun! I'm not normally a big fan of satire. Anything over the top usually isn't my thing. But Megan definitely made me think outside the box and while it WAS over the top she still created characters we genuinely cared about. And like you said, they are books you want to discuss once you finish.

  10. I haven't read Bumped or Thumped but both books sound great! Wonderful interview Megan and Jenny. Thanks for the entertaining and interesting post! :)

  11. Savy - Thanks! Hope you love it!

    Danny - Thank you:) *hugs* The over the top aspect took some getting used to for me, but I loved how much these books made me think and want to talk about them. That's something important I think:)

    Rummanah - I'm so glad! Looking forward to seeing what you think of Thumped!

    Candace - I agree. Discussion is half the fun in reading a book for me, so I like a book that inspires it:)

  12. Ha ha loved the t shirts. I can just imagine people running around with Do the Deed pasted on their arses. Here in Portland we have Voodoo Donut, you must try it, anyway they sell t shirts that say The Magic is in the Hole....I like hearing that the author takes on difficult topics to open a line of dialogue, yes she is right, Conversation is better than silence!

  13. It's too bad we don't get to see Jondoe's POV but I think it would been pretty interesting. Don't you think so, Jenny?

  14. I can't say i would want the born to breed tank top ;)

  15. Hm... Looks like I really need to read these books. Uncomfortable subjects? Be Yourself? I do like those things in YA. Makes it interesting.

    I actually can see people wearing those shirts now.

  16. Blahaha! Do the Deed booty shorts! Those slogans definitely made me LOL, but it wasn't uncomfortable. Guess I will have to tackle the series to experience the satire for myself. :P

  17. I have Bumped!!! I REALLY need to read it... ASAP!!!

  18. Great interview! I read Bumped last year, and am looking forward to getting my hands on Thumped! I love the ideas for the tshirts. I'm always wanting to make some with my own sayings. lol

  19. Heidi - Hahahahaha I want one of those shirts! I think people here would look at me funny and that would make it completely worthwhile:)

    Z - Definitely! I would love to have read this book from his POV.

    Linda - I wouldn't either, but it made me blink stupidly and then laugh when I read it:)

    Melissa - I agree! These books aren't for everyone, but they push boundaries a bit and that's important:)

    Missie - I will buy you a pair ;-)

    Ashley - You do! Get on it:)

    Christy - Thanks, glad you enjoyed it!

  20. Slogans are everywhere and I love that they play a roll in this story. My students wear a ton of these types of shirts and I'm always amazed at what they think is "cool".

  21. Great interview! Those slogans are hilarious. I'll have to check these books out,

    Love the advice at the end - very true.

  22. I haven't read the second book yet, but I really do want to do that, because the first book was crazy but really awesome. I really loved the satire aspect, and the fact that it was insanely over the top and yet you could still see things like that happening somehow.

    Really great questions and interesting answers! =)