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: