The time it was about Ontario Teen Book Fest {7}

Posted March 2, 2019 by Stacee in Blog Tours, Giveaways, Interviews | 2 Comments

It’s that time again: Ontario Teen Book Fest is almost here! And that means it’s time to put the spotlight on one of the authors who will be in attendance.

I basically begged Sara to let me have the two authors I’ll be spotlighting this year. First up is Demetra Brodsky. I moderated Demetra’s launch event for her debut Dive Smack and she’s absolutely delightful. Before we get to Demetra’s awesomeness, let’s get more details on the event.

Ontario Teen Book Fest is being held on March 9th from 9 am to 5 pm, is absolutely free, and tickets are not necessary. There will be 18 authors and it’s being held at Colony High School 3850 E. Riverside Drive, Ontario, CA 91761.  The event is being sponsored by Once Upon a Time, with free lunch from Panera Bread, and additional info can be found at the event website.

And now let’s check out Demetra’s book.

Title: Dive Smack
Author: Demetra Brodsky
Pages: 336
Publisher: Tor Teen
Pub Date: June 19, 2018
Find it: Macmillan | Indiebound | B&N | Amazon | Goodreads

Theo Mackey only remembers one thing for certain about the fire that destroyed his home: he lit the match.

Sure, it was an accident. But the blaze killed his mom and set his dad on a path to self-destruction. Everything else about that fateful night is full of gaping holes in Theo’s mind, for good reason. Maybe it’s better that way. As captain of the Ellis Hollow Diving Team, with straight A’s and solid friends, he’s only one semester away from securing a scholarship, and leaving his past behind.

But when a family history project gets assigned at school, new memories come rushing to the surface, memories that make him question what he really knows about his family, the night of the fire, and if he can trust anyone—including himself.

Sounds good, right?

1. Please give the elevator pitch for Dive Smack.

Dive Smack is Teen Wolf meets Hannibal (the TV show) on a diving platform. It’s the story Theo Mackey, a springboard diver who gets assigned a family history project at school that forces him to dig into his mother’s past where he uncovers things that someone else wants to stay buried.

2. What sparked the idea?

I’ve always been drawn to stories about dark family secrets, but one of the seminal ideas for Dive Smack came from my friendship with 1992 Olympic Springboard Diver, Karen LaFace. The other comes from my love of hearing about people’s personal histories, as well as hearing about my own family’s history. My parents are Greek immigrants, and I’ve heard so many stories, both heartwarming and horrific about their lives, and the lives of my grandparents, that I began toying with the idea of writing a book about a boy who goes looking into his mother’s past. While I was deciding on a sport to give him, the idea for springboard diving presented itself as a great metaphor for his life spinning out of control. There’s a little more to it than that, but diving deeper into the novel’s inspiration would spoil all the twists.

3. Why do you love Theo and why should we root for him?

He would do anything for his friends.

He likes his best friend Chip’s house better than his own for good reason and isn’t afraid to admit.

He’s secretly afraid of failure and that makes him work really hard.

His crush on Iris Fiorello is hardcore and true.

He’s respectful to people older than him without being an Eddie Haskell.

He does the right thing even when he doesn’t want to.

He will admit when he’s wrong, even it takes time for him to realize his mistakes.

He likes classic rock like it’s his job.

His Monarch Yellow car is named after Bumblebee the best Transformer.

His teammates call him The Big Mack because he’s tall for a diver.

4. What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?

I don’t know if it was weird, but the most interesting thing I learned about in my research was how psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) were being used to treat patient in psychology. And the most fun was learning diner lingo so I could authentically write a scene with an older diner waitress who had seen a thing or two in her time.

5. Without spoilers, what was your favorite scene to write?

The titular scene from the book where Theo shows the reader the meaning of a dive smack then deeply connects with Iris for the first time. That scene is so full of spoilers. I wish I could say more.

Speed {ish} round:

1. You find out that you’re being published for the first time. Describe the next 5 minutes.

I was in Trader Joe’s when I learned Dive Smack sold, just standing around with a friend I hadn’t seen for a few years, picking out some broccoli. My phone rang and I saw it was my agent’s number. After answering and hearing, ‘We have an offer on Dive Smack,” I jumped up and down in public (for a really long time) trying to suppress the scream of excitement bubbling up in my throat.

2. What three things would you take to a desert island?

This answer is completely skewed by the book I’m currently working on that’s coming out in May of 2020. At risk of dispelling any illusions that I’m a romantic, I would take a Lifestraw for clean drinking water, a satellite phone, and a machete.

3. You can only read one book for the rest of your life. What is it?

The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley.

4. What book character would you want to date and who would you want to be your BFF?

I’ve honestly never thought about a character as someone I’d want to date, but I would definitely want to be best friends with Elizabeth Bennett. I appreciate her independence, frankness, and being so well-read elevates her ability to engage in interesting conversation.

5. What is the one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

Everything moves slowly in publishing. Coming from a design background, I’m used to the hurry up and wait work/life balance. You send designs to a client that they want quickly and they’ll take a month to get back to you. That’s par for the course. Publishing is like that times twenty. That’s hard for me because I’m always in a rush to start working on the next thing. If I’m not creating something, I’m courting anxiety.

6. You wake up and discover you are Bella in Twilight. You know how it plays out. What do you do differently?

I wouldn’t have gone out to dinner for that mushroom ravioli with a vampire, unless my plan was to stake him in the heart with my fork. #teamjacob


Demetra Brodsky loves to write twisty stories about dark family secrets. She is an award-winning graphic designer & art director turned write, has a B.F.A from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, and lives in Southern California with her family of four and two lovable rescue dogs. Demetra is a first generation Greek-American, and a member of International Thriller Writers.

Dive Smack, her debut novel, is a 2018 Junior Library Guild Selection, a January 2018 ALAN pick, and a Buzz Books 2018: Young Adult Spring/Summer notable mention. It’s also dedicated to Pumpkin, the monarch butterfly she once saved from the brink of death. Once you read the book, you’ll understand why.   website | twitter | instagram | facebook


Huge thanks to Sara for the invite and to Demetra for taking the time {and for not hating me that I still haven’t transcribed her launch party}.

If you’re going to the event, use the hashtag #ontariotbf. Keep scrolling to check out the rest of the tour highlighting the authors who will be attending and for the giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Official Blog Tour Schedule

February 26th

Spotlight on Abdi Nazemian – What A Nerd Girl Says

February 27th

Spotlight on Cindy Pon – Bookchelle
Spotlight on Suzanne Young – Movies Shows N Books

February 28th

Spotlight on Isabel Quintero – Read Now Sleep Later

March 1st

Spotlight on Amy Spalding – Nite Lite Book Reviews
Spotlight on Julie Buxbaum – My Fangirl Chronicles

March 2nd

Spotlight on Demetra Brodsky – Adventures of a Book Junkie
Spotlight on Kayla Cagan – Movies Shows N Books

March 3rd

Spotlight on Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka – BookCrushin’

March 4th

Spotlight on Jeff Sweat – Movies Shows n Books
Spotlight on Robin Reul – What A Nerd Girl Says

March 5th

Spotlight on Jessica Brody – The Readers Antidote

March 6th

Spotlight on Stephanie Garber – Adventures of a Book Junkie

March 7th

Spotlight on Jennifer Brody – Bookschief Managed
Spotlight on Carrie Arcos – Read Now Sleep Later

March 8th

Spotlight on Nicole Maggi – Bookchelle
Spotlight on Mary Weber – BookCrushin’

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