My love affair with books started at an early age with Dr. Suess classics Hop on Pop and The Cat in the Hat. As I got older I moved on to Nancy Drew and all things R.L. Stein, who had a knack for tween terror. Snuggled somewhere between my love for mystery and my taste for terror were the Sweet Valley High books. The Wakefield twins’ tales of high school angst were our very own pubescent soap opera with sunny California as its backdrop. I think of those tales and am overtaken with an instant wave of nostalgia, and I'm sure I'm not alone.
Fast forward and we are back in the Valley with author Francine Pascal's Sweet Valley Confidential. Its ten years later and Elizabeth and Jessica are in their late twenties living some pretty spicy lives. I had a chance to chat with the lovely Ms. Pascal about the new release and how the sister’s lives have changed as they've grown into adulthood:
Let's start from the beginning, how did you come up with the idea for the Sweet Valley High Series?
I was discussing the idea with an editor friend about creating a “Dallas" type soap opera for teenagers. I felt like high school was the perfect setting because it's really the first place you experience the emotions of hurt, love, anger. It's (high school) the formative years of your life and I felt like it was the perfect setting.
I chose twins because they represent the duality of good and bad. It was also important to me that the novels centered on the female characters, that they led the story. Before I created the SVH series most romance novels centered on the prince charming coming to rescue of his sleeping beauty.
What made you decide to write Sweet Valley Confidential?
The fans really wanted it. I'd run into so many fans of the series who wanted to know what the girls were up to now. They asked for it, plus I felt it was time as the fans have matured so should the characters.
How have the characters changed?
Well they've changed very much. They're going through a lot of adult experiences; some have been met with a bit of controversy. Like Elizabeth experiencing her first orgasm got some people really upset.
What do you say to that?
I say get over it, they are not sixteen anymore they are young women and as women they are going to have these experiences. As for the controversy, a bit of controversy is a good thing.
There's talk about doing a Sweet Valley movie? (Diablo Cody of Juno and Jennifer's Body has signed on)
Yes they are in talks to do a film but it will be based on the Sweet Valley High series not Sweet Valley Confidential.
Finally, Can we expect another book as the characters go into their 30's?
Well I want to see how this one is received before I decide to do any others. The fans response will help me decide.