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Between Two Lockers With Sarvenaz Tash

The author of The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love talks about cons, cosplay, and whether a friend can become more.

Between Two Lockers With Sarvenaz Tash

Sarvenaz Tash's latest book, The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love, was such a great portrayal of con culture that I'm glad I didn't read it before my own con book came out. Read my review of The Geek's Guide here.

THE ACTUAL BOOK-RELATED QUESTIONS:

So how does it feel to be one of the few women in the business? (This is a joke question. In the book, a character bemoans how women who work in the comic book industry are constantly asked that)

Ha! You know what? It’s nice to work in an industry where that question is a joke! Especially coming from the film world, where I started out, in which women are still woefully underrepresented. Some of Roxy’s feelings on that subject were not so subtly my own.

Most of this story takes place at New York Comic Con. I'm going out on a limb here and say that you've been to these things yourself. Could you share some of your experience? Any crazy stories? Do you cosplay? Any photos?

Yup. I’ve attended NYCC every year for the past 5 years and a lot of the book’s funny anecdotes were adapted from my own experiences and observations. For instance, that time I accidentally got stuck in the middle of a mob headed to Speed Dating (or Almost Trampled By Nerd Love, as I planned to call my memoir on the subject). Or, my favorite, the time my husband and I accidentally happened upon FedCon, Europe’s largest Star Trek convention, while on a layover in Dusseldorf during our honeymoon. I cosplay a little, but I tend to go for easy costumes that let me maneuver the NYC subways and show floor without too much hassle (though I am always very impressed by those cosplayers who flagrantly disregard both comfort and maneuverability for the sake of showmanship and accuracy). I’m attaching two photos: one from the year I went as Hermione and one from the year my friend Dave dressed up as Graham from the cover of my book!

There appears to be a Druid holding a huge banner of Oprah Winfrey in the background. That's con culture in a nutshell.

So Graham sees the step between best friend and boyfriend as a tiny one. In practice, however, it's not so simple. So what's your take on the issue? The steadfast buddy or the exotic stranger? Or are there no simple rules?

I think the line between friendship and lasting love is a thin one, because I think real romance has so many elements of true friendship in it: like loyalty, compatibility, the ability to have fun together. But there is that indefinable spark—call it chemistry or attraction—that also has to be there for a romance to really work. So I agree: Graham sees the step as small because he already has those feelings for Roxy. And I think that is inherently what adds so much intrigue to the situation—and I mean that for any plot that revolves around a “Does he/she like me back?” central question.

What's your favorite/most underrated fandom?

My favorite fandom is Harry Potter. As for my favorite underrated fandom, I’m going to say this British TV series called Bob & Rose that Russell T Davies did before Doctor Who. It is six episodes of hilarious, poignant, spectacular storytelling.

That's British TV for you. High quality, low quantity.

Your previous book, THREE DAY SUMMER, took place at the original Woodstock. How did you become interested in a music festival that took place before you were born? How did you do such exacting research?

I’ve always been a ‘60s music geek. When I was growing up, I listened to the Beatles and the Monkees almost exclusively, to the point where I felt so out of touch with what my peers were listening to. The summer before 7th grade, I thought maybe I should try to change that, so I decided to watch MTV…except that was the summer that was the 25th anniversary of the Woodstock Festival. Which meant that in addition to putting together a new ‘90sed-out version of the festival, MTV and VH1 were showing a bunch of documentaries and footage from the original festival. Guess what I immediately gravitated toward? So my plans to suddenly become a Green Day and Soundgarden superfan were thwarted, but it started a lifelong fascination with this unbelievable festival that seemed to summarize so much of what I’d always found magnetic about the 1960s: social change, stunning fashion, and this glorious music. Fast forward to many years later when I visited the Woodstock Museum in Bethel, NY and suddenly a seed was planted in my head: it seemed the only way I could experience the festival (without a TARDIS at my disposal) was to write about it. So I did and it was so much fun—especially the research. Luckily because this was fairly recent history—and a well-documented event at that—it was easy to find the footage and music and first-person accounts that helped me bring the setting of the book to life.

Which Hogwarts house would you be sorted into?

Ravenclaw. Though the original Pottermore sorted me into Gryffindor and I had an identity crisis about it for years. Thankfully the new Pottermore put me in the right house.

YA QUESTIONS:

If your real life adolescence was a YA book ...

What would you, the main character, be like?

An uber-shy nerd who is trying to hard to melt into the background at practically every turn.

Who is your secret crush?

The older, talented, charming “class clown” guy getting the leads in the school play. (who has zero idea I exist, naturally).

(Every time I do one of these interviews, the author answers with some variation of 'he/she didn't know I existed'. I think we'd be surprised).

At what point would the reader pump his/her fist in victory?

Probably senior year when I suddenly realized disappearing into the background was no fun and who cares what people thought anyway? A little while after I started speaking up, one girl in my class once said to one of my friends, “I had no idea Sarv was so funny.” And that was a real turning point for me. Why just crush on the boy who was charming and funny, when I could embody those qualities for myself?

SLUMBER PARTY QUESTIONS:

What is your secret power?

Useless trivia. I’m pretty handy on a bar trivia team.

If you could assemble your own Ocean's 11 of fictional characters, who would you pick and why?

Hermione Granger, Harry Potter, and Ron Weasley – the Golden Trio did pretty well with some incredible odds stacked against them. Who am I to mess with those results?
Katniss Everdeen – could always use a little toughness, rebellion, and resilience.
Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy – wit and integrity. Plus a little sexy banter never hurt anybody (certainly not the Ocean’s 11 crew)
The Doctor (preferably 10th) – he can get us out of practically any jam.
Veronica Mars & Logan Echolls – see above re: wit, ingenuity and sexy banter.
Sherlock Holmes and John Watson – who can solve any conundrum. And it wouldn’t hurt to have medical personnel on-hand.

What is your best karaoke song?

I do a really mean Toni Braxton impression so I’m going to say “Unbreak  My Heart.”

Tell me something scandalous!

I….don’t find The Big Bang Theory funny.

What is your favorite adult beverage?

It varies but currently I would say a dirty martini.

What book have you read the most number of times?

It’s either the Harry Potter series or Pride and Prejudice. I’ve lost count!

Out of all of the characters you’ve written, which one do you most wish you could be?

Probably Felicia from Geek’s Guide. That girl has everything figured out!

Who would play you in the movie version?

That's a tough one. I'm going to go with Emma Watson, not because we look anything alike (besides the brown hair/dark eyebrows thing). But because this is fantasy casting and I can choose the woman who's played both Hermione and Belle!

My son was born in late July 2015 and I couldn't resist dressing us all up like the attached for Halloween this year...the Prophecy demanded it, really.

If you were invited to the FYA slumber party (and obvs, you ARE), what pajamas would you wear, and what is the most crucial snack food and/or movie you’d bring?

I have a pretty impressive collection of pajama pants (in different colors of plaid) but I usually pair them with oversized promotional t-shirts—at least a couple of which have been procured at NYCC. I’d also bring peanut M&Ms and Pretty in Pink.

AND NOW, MASH:

You gave us three answers to each category and I added a fourth. Then I used a D4 to choose the final answer.

SPOUSE

 

My Husband (Graig)

Ewan McGregor

David Tennant

Gilderoy Lockhart

 

HONEYMOON

Iceland

Paris

Bali

New York Comic Con

 

# OF KIDS

0

1

2

7

Geez, hard luck to your real life son.

 

JOB

Writer (obviously)

Mathematician

Teacher

Wandmaker

 

INCOME

1 Million

2 Million

3 Billion

$7.95/hr

 

HOMETOWN

New York City

San Francisco

Crete

Hogsmede

 

PET

Rock

Dog

Fish

Skunk

 

CAR

TARDIS

Self-driving car

Chauffeured limo (can you tell I hate driving?)

Model T Ford

Thanks for stopping by, Sarvenaz. Visit her website or follow her on twitter at @SarvenazTash. The Geek's Guide to Unrequited Love is available now.

 

Brian Katcher's photo About the Author: Brian Katcher wrote his first YA novel when he was down and out in Mexico. He now lives in Missouri with his wonderful wife and daughter. He divides his time between writing and working as a school librarian. Brian still misses the preachy YA books of the eighties.