Post Mortem

Vera, What Has Become Of You?

DEATH:
Hey there, living people. Welcome to Post Mortem, the fake online talk-radio show where fictional characters talk to me about their books, their Authors, and basically anything they want. I’m your host, Death.

Our guest today on Post Mortem has a thing about secrets: she knows too many of them. Kirkus, in a starred review, calls PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ “A harrowing but ultimately redemptive tale of adolescent angst gone awry” and says “The author depicts the journey to overcome a legacy of poverty, violence, addiction and ignorance as an arduous one, but Vera’s path glimmers with grace and hope.” And New York Times bestselling author Ellen Hopkins calls the book “Brilliant. Funny. Really special.”

If Kirkus and Ellen love it, then you know it’s worth reading. Living people, say hello to the star of A.S. King’s newest book, PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ…Vera Dietz!

[APPLAUSE]

Hey, Vera!

VERA:
Uh. Hi…Death.

DEATH:
So hit me: In one sentence, what’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ about?

VERA:
If you think your best friend dying is a bitch, try your best friend dying after he screws you over and being the only one who knows the truth about how he died.

DEATH:
For the record, I have a different relationship with dying than humans do. But yeah, I can see how it’s got to be hell for you. Tell me what’s the worst thing about your situation in the book.

VERA:
There are a lot of bad things. To start, I’m in love with my best friend for my whole life but could never do anything about it.

DEATH:
Ouch.

VERA:
And I keep all his secrets—some of which are just wrong to keep. And then he totally screws me over and starts to date the school slut.

DEATH:
Talk about wrong.

VERA:
I know. And if that wasn’t bad enough, he dies.

DEATH:
Ouch. Again.

VERA:
And there’s my family. My dad is this totally tuned-out accountant dweeb. And my mom ran off to Las Vegas when I was twelve. And she has secrets, too—which I’m keeping the same as I’m keeping Charlie’s secrets.

DEATH:
Drama!

VERA:
I know! And then there’s my day-to-day life in the here and now. I work full time while I’m still in high school, which sucks.

DEATH:
I can see that.

VERA:
I have no idea what I’m going to do with my life. And I’m being haunted by a thousand Charlies.

DEATH:
A thousand Charlies.

VERA:
[NODS] Who are trying to get me to clear his name. So, I guess the worst thing about my situation in the book is…being me.

DEATH:
Yow.

VERA:
But I wouldn’t be anyone else. Even though things are weird, I like being Vera Dietz now. I didn’t used to. But I do now.

DEATH:
Sounds like with all that bad, there’s also some good.

VERA:
I sound like a total downer, but I’m not, really. I mean, my life is cool. My dad is pretty cool—especially compared to Charlie’s dad. I like working at Pagoda Pizza. I make good money. I have friends there—and James.

DEATH:
James?

VERA:
Who is totally hot. He’s also twenty-three.

DEATH:
Ah. Older man. Gotcha.

VERA:
Maybe all my dad’s Zen books have rubbed off on me or something, but I see all of this as some sort of learning experience. Or training.

DEATH:
So what does one wear for such a learning experience or training?

VERA:
Jeans, t-shirts and boots—probably Doc Martens. I wouldn’t be caught dead in heels or dresses.

DEATH:
You should try a hooded robe. Looks good with a scythe. Speaking of which, what are you most afraid of?

VERA:
[PAUSES] For a long time I was afraid that I’d never stop hating Charlie. But now I think that will change. I was also afraid I would fulfill my family destiny by becoming an alcoholic. That was a big fear. But then I realized that if I don’t drink, then there’s no reason to fear that.

DEATH:
So are you fearless? Because I’ve got the perfect nightmare face that could change that…

VERA:
I guess the one big fear I’ve still got is about what I’m going to do with my life. I just don’t want to be a loser, you know? I want to do something important. But I have no idea what yet.

DEATH:
Give it time. Not too much, because mortals only have a handful of the stuff. What’s one thing about you that no one else knows?

VERA:
While I’m delivering pizza, I eat about four Twix bars per night and call it dinner.

DEATH:
Dude. Hardcore. In PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ, were there any parts of the story where you were like, “A.S. King, what on earth are you making me do?” Or were you and your Author in sync the entire time?

VERA:
We were in sync for the most part. I didn’t like that she gave me that concussion, but it healed and taught me a big lesson, so whatever.

DEATH:
We always hurt the ones we love. So they say.

VERA:
Apparently, that’s one of the few things we have in common. She claims to still have the lump on her forehead.

DEATH:
If you had your way, what would you change about PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ?

VERA:
I’d make Charlie not dead. I mean, obviously.

DEATH:
Obviously. If you could make your Author, A.S. King, do anything, what would it be?

VERA:
Act like a chicken every time she hears “Flashlight” by Parliament.

DEATH:
I love that. Tell me one thing in the real world that you wish you could change.

VERA:
I would change the way everyone ignores everything important while paying attention to all the bull[BLEEP].

DEATH:
Good luck with that.

VERA:
I think everyone is too judgmental. Does that make me too judgmental?

DEATH:
Who am I to judge?

VERA:
Seriously. We are becoming a selfish, compassionless society. The longer we’re here, the less we give a [BLEEP]. I want to talk about that. All the time. Every day.

DEATH:
You should. Silence is the thing that kills. Trust me on that. [WINKS] If PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ goes Hollywood, who should play you in the movie?

VERA:
Someone smart should play me. I don’t care what she looks like, as long as she’s smart.

DEATH:
And Charlie?

VERA:
Hmm. Someone no one has heard of yet with messy, grunger hair. Like Kurt Cobain.

DEATH:
[GRINS] Excellent taste! If there’s one piece of advice you could give to your fans, what would it be?

VERA:
Follow your dreams and work hard. And don’t complain. It could always be worse.

DEATH:
Now, if only people would take that advice… Last question: Who’s your favorite Horseman of the Apocalypse?

VERA:
Probably you.

DEATH:
Awwww.

VERA:
I feel like I’ve got to know you or something—I mean, with Charlie dying and everything. I’m okay with you now. Does that make sense?

DEATH:
Sure does.

VERA:
Please don’t take this as an invitation to come around. I mean, you’re cool and all, but I’d like to stay alive and do some stuff before I croak, okay?

DEATH:

No worries. I’ve got connections.

Living people, give a big round of applause for the star of A.S. King’s PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ…Vera!

No, this isn't Vera Dietz, but it is her Author, A.S. King.

[APPLAUSE]

PLEASE IGNORE VERA DIETZ is on sale beginning October 12, 2010, at your favorite local indie, as well as at Amazon and B&N.com. Buy early and buy often.

VERA:
If you’re going to a physical chain store to buy, call first to check availability! You may have to order it!

DEATH:
That’s it for this episode of Post Mortem. Until next time, go thee out unto the world. Rock on.



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