Corey Ann Haydu is a feminist.
This revelation comes as no surprise to anybody who follows Haydu on Twitter. She actively discusses and shares her thoughts on feminism, from what it means to slut-shame to her support of diverse literature. And when she’s not Tweeting, she’s tackling feminist issues in her writing. Her first novel, OCD Love Story talks about Bea, who defies what it means to be the stereotypical strong woman as she obsesses over a guy who doesn’t know she exists.
Her newest novel, Life By Committee, follows tracks Tabitha’s adventures after she kisses somebody else’s boyfriend and entrusts her secret to the Life By Committee. Tell them your secret, receive an assignment, and complete the assignment to keep your secret safe.
“I think Life By Committee is very much a feminist boo, not in that people act perfectly and make great feminist decisions, but in that it’s entering a conversation about the ways our bodies dictate how we’re treated, and how perception and reality intersect and conflict. I wanted to write about the ways girls can get treated when they are suddenly ‘hotter’. I wanted to write about ‘sluttiness’ and what that means and why it is a word without meaning. I wanted to write about being a teen girl, and about being this exact type of teen girl – smart and curvy and blonde and troubled and lonely and pretty and book-loving and trying,” said Haydu. “I try not to write with an agenda. Tabitha’s by no means a role model or a symbol of feminism. But I’m interested in exploring the way girls and women are viewed and treated and labeled and so on.”
Writing real characters who make real mistakes means that Tabitha acts like a real girl. The curvier her body grows, the more attention her body gets – and she’s getting a little more boy-crazy on top if it all.
“She’s unclear how exactly she feels about the new attention, and people see her differently now, even though she knows she’s still the same book-loving girl she always was. Tabitha’s a character who makes a lot of mistakes. She’s lonely, she’s confused about her new place in the world, and she wants to have a bigger, brighter, better life than she knows how to get on her own.”
Of course, that’s why she finds the Life By Committee: an online community that starts to interfere with her normal life. Haydu first came up with the idea thanks to a French film called Love Me If You Dare.
“Over years and years of mulling and wishing I’d simply written the actual film. I wanted to explore a situation that could escalate and take over. I highly highly recommend everyone find a way to see this amazing movie. It’s like Amelie except way more screwed up and dark and twisty,” said Haydu.
But since Haydu didn’t write her favorite dark and twisted French film, she’s been keeping herself busy writing other things. In addition to OCD Love Story and Life By Committee, she has two more novels coming out – as well as a few other projects she can’t talk about yet.
“Making Pretty is my third YA novel and it’s about two sisters who live in NYC with a father who is a plastic surgeon and a rotating array of stepmoms. It’s also about a girl falling in love for the first time and wondering if that’s okay. And it’s about dangerous new friendships and the desire to belong. So I guess it’s got a lot going on! Rules for Stealing Stars is my first MG novel. It’s a sister story as well. This time about four sisters who are trying to find hope in the midst of a tough family situation. There’s a little bit of magic in this book too, which is new for me! I’m also thrilled to say I’m starting to work on a play adaptation of OCD Love Story! My high school theatre teacher and I have remained close, and he’s asked me to give it a try, so that my old high school could perform it. We’ll see how it goes!”
For more on Corey Ann Haydu, visit her website or follow her on Twitter.