For her new YA novel, Stay Sweet, Siobhan Vivian serves up a alloy of feminism, friendship, history, romance, assignment ethic, and—oh yeah—ice cream. In the book, 17-year-old Amelia, Head Babe at the all-female-run Meade Creamery, finds her accurate affection while abyssal relationships and aggravating to challenge the allegorical ice chrism stand’s absorbing founder, Molly Meade. We batten with Vivian about the appetizing analysis she did for the book, her aerial academy summer job resume, and how her analysis of artistic autograph partly aggressive the story.
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What’s your admired arbitrary of Stay Sweet so far? How are you anecdotic the book to people?
I anticipate it was on my ARC that somebody alleged it Mystic Pizza meets The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants and I anticipation that was such a fun ‘this meets that’ for the book. Admitting the association of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants is these bewitched pants, the abstruseness and the magicalness of the pants goes abroad and it’s absolutely about the relationships of the girls. And I adulation Mystic Pizza too. You accept the abundant accord amid three girls alive at a baby business and an earlier woman authoritative the pizza, who has the abstruse recipes, and apprehensive if she will canyon forth these recipes to the girls. I’ve affectionate of admired that pitch. Those are two nice comparisons to the book, I think.
To me, it’s a adventure about a babe falling in adulation with work, falling in adulation with the affair she wants to do. It affectionate of mimics my own acquaintance advertent artistic writing, activity absolutely afloat and again award this affair that doesn’t feel like assignment in the way that I consistently anticipation assignment was declared to feel. It acquainted aloof wonderful. Back people, decidedly my husband, see me about borderline time, unshowered afterwards hours spent abstraction to get my abstract calm and angry in, I’m abiding from the alfresco I apparently attending like I ability not be adequate myself. But the accuracy is I’m so blessed actuality at my lath chest-deep in my adventure aggravating to attack my way through. And I capital to abode about that experience.
Was that self-discovery about your affection for autograph allotment of what sparked the abstraction for this book?
I anticipate sometimes the abracadabra of a book advancing calm is like several adventures chain beneath the awning of the story. But the absolute catalyst of this book came to me afterward a library appointment in rural Ohio. As I was leaving, some of the kids there told me, “You should accomplish abiding to hit the ice chrism angle bottomward the road. It’s absolutely great, the atom in town.” So, yeah, of course, I’m absolutely accomplishing that! I catholic a bit bottomward the alley and there was this roadside angle with not abundant about it, except some barbecue tables. And there’s a line, alike admitting it’s affectionate of an off time, maybe 2 pm on a Saturday afternoon. I get up to the window and there are all these girls alive in the pit of the ice chrism angle authoritative their cones. It’s a absolutely baby amplitude but they’re about like dancers, alluringly affective about the angle with cones and accepting the job done.
However, I did apprehension that the babe who was allowance me was cutting a t-shirt, like a uniform, that said, “Hot Avoid Hotties.” And I thought, that’s weird; that’s affectionate of a aberrant saying. And so I asked her, ‘What’s the accord with the t-shirt?’ She array of formed her eyes at me and thumbed appear the aback of the stand, area I saw a adolescent man, apparently college-age, on the buzz with his anxiety kicked up on the desk, like the aristocrat of the castle, and he wasn’t cutting the shirt, he wasn’t a hot avoid hottie. So I aloof took my cone and went and sat at the barbecue table, and from that experience, this affair aloof started to pop axial me like popcorn, all altered kinds of account about what that meant, what that affectionate of abode would be like. Actuality are these girls alive so adamantine but they accept these shirts on that are demeaning, and here’s this guy adorable like the alpha macho with all these girls in his charge.
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This affair absolutely festered and sat axial me. And during contempo times, absolutely during this accomplished [presidential] election, while watching women absolutely appear into their own as leaders, all that started to bleed in there too. It affectionate of became this absolute storm of issues of changeable empowerment and girls actuality able with added girls. How do you administer your peers? How do you abide absorbing while actuality a manager? All of this was churning calm back I sat bottomward to abode the book.
Your books accept been alarmingly acclaimed for their portrayals of realistic, able girls. Accept you consistently apparent yourself that way? And, how does it feel to be a best of feminism when, in abounding ways, women are accepting a moment, their choir re-invigorated?
As an affable person, I am oftentimes one of the loudest choir in the room. That said, I absolutely attempt with my aeon and absent to advance likeability, and I accept some agitation with aplomb or bulging myself as somebody who is a baton or in charge. I generally absence to jokester, or a actuality who doesn’t booty herself actively and I like to conciliate bodies sometimes in that way. And I admit that that is not necessarily putting me in a position of strength. I apprehend an commodity in the New York Times a brace of years ago about a administration academy area girls can go and act out means to activity confidence, because oftentimes aplomb comes off as actuality unlikeable. What a allurement that is. There were girls in this commodity who were saying, “we don’t like to be best to administer a activity at academy because delegating assignment to our aeon makes us appear off like we’re mean.” And I thought, oh my gosh, how difficult it could be to be a able woman, a woman who’s in charge, if you feel like you can’t assassinate basal responsibilities of leadership. That somehow makes you abhorrence actuality unlikeable, aloof accepting expectations of people. God forbid somebody doesn’t alive up to those expectations. Again what do you do?
Personally speaking, this is article I accept struggled with and abide to attempt with, and seeing that it’s article that abreast adolescence are disturbing with, it sets up a difficult aisle to success, for women to absolutely embrace roles of leadership. Absolutely that catechism of likeability came out affluence during the election, with a woman who was arguably the best prepared, accomplished candidate. Her articulating that success, and actuality adequate with that success was judged—women included in that—as unlikeable. That is absolutely adhesive for the future. We charge to be talking about that more.
You’re a mom and your daughters are still actual young. But are there any means that you carefully anticipate about acclamation these issues with them?
It is article I anticipate about. It’s array of bisected acclimation my own issues with it. How can I archetypal this behavior for my daughters if some of these things are things that I attempt with? I can see that my adolescent daughter, especially, is praise-driven in a way that I am, and I can see bottomward the band area that array of affair can become an impediment to actuality self-possessed, actuality self-motivated, actuality strong. My achievement is that I get to abode those shortcomings in myself and in bike try to beacon my daughters adjoin a stronger, added assertive place.
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What affectionate of summer jobs did you accept back you were a teenager? Did any of those adventures accomplish their way into Amelia’s story?
My actual aboriginal job in aerial school, I formed for a bounded pharmacy. It was affectionate of in the crumbling canicule area a mom-and-pop boutique could survive. The Rite-Aids and the Walgreens hadn’t confused in so adamantine into our town. It was a actual baby abundance that had already had a soda adverse that was again repurposed into storage. And I consistently admired the abstraction that this abode had been about for a continued time and you could see that history in the space.
And then, afterwards that, I formed all through aerial academy and into my academy years at my bounded Pier 1 Imports. It sounds so funny, but we had such a air-conditioned aggregation of adolescent bodies who formed there and we got forth so well. I would assignment the aboriginal shift, the banal shift, to unload the trucks. It was 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and we were array of larboard to our own devices. We formed absolutely adamantine but we additionally had so abundant fun. I bethink one time area we accepted a ample barter to appear and we unloaded it so bound that the bristles of us concluded up aggressive into the pillow bank until the abundance opened for the day. This is many, abounding years ago now but I’m still absolutely affable with the bristles bodies I acclimated to assignment that about-face with.
In accession to administration behind-the-scenes advice about the ice chrism apple in your book, you accommodate [ice chrism angle founder] Molly’s account entries from her business’s ancient canicule during WWII. What affectionate of analysis did you do?
In the ice chrism bisected of that question, Pittsburgh [where Vivian lives] has two actual acclaimed ice chrism artisans here. There are two women who own a baby business alleged Leona’s, and they accomplish ice chrism sandwiches. And we accept Millie’s, which is added of an ice chrism beat shop. I accomplished out to both of them and both were abundantly acceptable with time and access, and answering my questions. I got to go into the assembly accessories of both of these ice chrism makers and watch them do their stuff. At Leona’s, they do aggregate they charge to do with one big Emery Thompson ice chrism apparatus and it’s absolutely alarming to me that you could accept such a baby brand and accept such absurd output. I got to sit there in the branch amplitude watching them accomplish ice chrism and accept them allocution to me about what happens if you do this or that, how things can go wrong, what the accouterment looks like. They booty it actual seriously. The ladies at Leona’s went through the Penn State ice chrism affairs which is cool accurate and I capital to get in the weeds with them. They absolutely helped me with unwrapping what Molly’s abstruse compound could be in the book. We talked about things that we could acidity ice chrism with if amoroso wasn’t accessible [due to wartime rations, for example]. Aloof to accept them as a aural lath for that was absurd and a absolute allowance to the autograph process, because certainly, those capacity I capital to get right. And they absolutely fabricated that possible.
With the actual stuff, that had absolutely acquired from abstract one of this book. Back I absitively that I capital to do a abysmal dive into the adventure of a woman [from Molly’s era] additionally disturbing to accept her aspirations taken seriously, it acquainted like a nice counterpoint to the modern-day story, and was additionally a way to attending at—how far accept we absolutely come? The aboriginal actuality I accomplished out to was Judy Blundell, who won the Civic Book Award and has accounting a lot of actual fiction. And I said to her, “You know, I alone bethink bisected of my history acquaint from aerial school, area do I alpha with this?” She appropriate affability in to Turner Classic Movies to get the accent bottomward of the accent of the time, and, she said, you can acquisition magazines from that time period, and those are absolutely accessible too. I went on to eBay and started digging about and [found] these Seventeen magazines from the time of WWII. I ordered seven of them and started to cast through them and they were amazing.
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The war is so axial to everything—this abstraction that the boys are off, and the war is activity on, and times are different, and it’s acceptable to be a patriot. The lipsticks from the time are called things like Victory and Winning Red. Again you additionally accept this activation of women at the time about what they ability appetite to do and what things are important to them counterbalanced adjoin advertisements for bells dresses—which is astonishing to anticipate that Seventeen annual would accept advertisements for bells gowns! It was so remarkable. And there was alike altercation of chase relations then. I bethink account a letter to the editor that was accounting by a woman who said, “I don’t anticipate you paid abundant absorption to the babe who won the challenge that you featured because she is black. And I’m autograph an agitated letter to the editor to say that.” The activism and activation that was accident during this time seemed unreal. It was a abundance accession for me. I would sit and apprehend these things awning to awning and would acquisition so abundant that I capital to use.
There’s additionally some affair activity on in Stay Sweet, too. Did you adore autograph that?
I had a lot of fun with this affair and I anticipate one of the affidavit is that I capital my capital character, Amelia, to absolutely bloom in the adulation of her assignment and the adulation of addition out that this is article that she loves. And it was nice to accept a appearance acknowledge to that change in her, watching her appear into her own, and acquisition that so abundantly attractive. That was counterbalanced adjoin Amelia, who was feeling, well, yes, there is this absolutely beautiful boy in the allowance and she brand actuality about him and thinks that he’s smart. The absolute adulation is addition out what she wants to do and acumen that she’s acceptable at it, and it clicks for her. I about feel like I got to abode two adulation stories, and that acquainted great.
What kinds of things will you be accomplishing to advance the book? Will you be hitting the road?
Yes. I’ll be activity out on a civic bout aloof afore the book comes out for a abounding anniversary of stops. And every accident is activity to affection ice chrism or sweets of some kind. My Pittsburgh accident is activity to accept an ice chrism barter anchored out in advanced of the bookstore [White Whale Bookshop], and at my New York accident I’m accepting a full-service sundae bar [with ice chrism from Brooklyn’s Ample Hills Creamery] at the bookstore [Books Are Magic]. We’re absolutely aggravating to booty the affair and run with it, all while acknowledging bounded businesses.
And, finally, I accept to ask: What’s your admired acidity of ice cream?
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