Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Apocalypse Now: An Interview with Robin Mellom, Author of DITCHED

I've had my eye on Robin Mellom Ditched since I read about it in Publishers Marketplace. I remember it being pitched as The Hangover for teens centering on prom. I am so glad I get to present it to all of you. This book rocks!

From Goodreads:

High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.

Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.

Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.

Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.

And then ditched her.

Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...

But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love.

Filled with humor, charm, and romance, Ditched: A Love Story by debut novelist Robin Mellom will have readers dreaming of love on their own prom nights.

First, a pretty standard question....what gave you the idea to write this book?

My agent suggested I write a humorous teen novel. So I thought back on all the crazy things that had happened to me and recalled one incident at a formal dance my freshmen year of college involving a semi-blind date. I say “semi” because we went to dinner one time before I would agree to go to this formal with him. At dinner, he was extremely shy and quiet, but also well-mannered and nice so I agreed to go with him. But on our second date—the night of the dance—his fraternity brothers convinced him to drink way too many shots of vodka and he turned into a MUCH different person. The guy thought it would be “oh-so-hilarious!” to run around unzipping girls’ dresses (including mine) and I spent most of the night in the bathroom fixing my zipper and cursing his name. Needless to say, there wasn’t a third date with that boy. But that zipper-malfunction-incident went on to become the nugget that led to me writing DITCHED which led to my first published book. Aaah, closure. Love it!

What is your writing process like? Do you outline? Do you just sit down and let the story tell itself?

I start with an idea and usually I tinker around with the first chapter to get a handle on the voice and character. Then I stop and outline the turning points and conclusion. Whenever I know how a story will end, I can more confidently start back at the beginning.

What is your "must haves" while writing? Is there a certain food? Drink? Music?

Miniature Reese’s, Coke Zero, walnuts (to keep me from feeling guilty about the junk food). Music is different depending on whether I’m writing teen or middle grade and it depends on if the scene is fun or serious. So I usually have an appropriate Pandora station playing in the background.

Justina's dress is pretty important to the book. What did your prom dress look like?

My dress was one-shoulder, black, and straight to the floor. I loved the dress because it looked very similar to an extremely expensive dress I found at the mall but this one was a total bargain at JC Penney. No shame in a Penney’s dress! I’m proud of being totally practical.

Did any disasters happen at your own prom?

Fortunately for me, my own prom was quite lovely, but we did end up at a crazy party at a Hampton Inn, so yes, that ended up in the book. (Sorry, Mom and Dad, if you’re reading this. The truth finally comes out!)

Justina is telling her story to two women in the 7-11....if you had ten dollars to spend in the 7-11, what would you buy?

I love the coke slurpees and the entire candy bar aisle

What was your favorite part of writing DITCHED?

Many of the scenes were inspired by stories from friends of mine. Like the demolition-derby ready Cadillac the main character drives around in was a story told to me by my hairstylist. And the limo driver was inspired by a story told to me by my Chiropractor. I had the best time while writing this book because I got to run around asking all the people in my life, “What happened at your prom??” Crazy stuff, I promise.

How do you plan to celebrate your release day?

I’m having a party at my house on release day with thrift store prom dresses and junk food and champagne and my closest friends. I’m also having an “official” launch party in Santa Monica on the 22nd at Diesel Bookstore where I’ll talk about my writing journey, read from the book, give away stuff, eat and party!

And since you're being interviewed by The Lucky 13s, I have to ask...what's your favorite superstition?

I love the idea of not trying to step on the cracks of sidewalks, so my son and I often hold hands and jump our way down the street. Superstitious and FUN! ☺

Ditched is out today! Get it at your local bookstore or one of the following sites:

You can also read the first chapter of Ditched here.

*This interview was conducted by Lucky 13 member Rachele Alpine, as part of an ongoing series of interviews with the Apocalypsies—YA, MG, and children’s book authors with 2012 debuts.


  1. That's great! I love the mix of pantster and planner :)

  2. Oh, I loved the interview! I really, really have to get my hands on a copy of this one!
    Great interview guys, and happy release day Robin! :)

  3. DITCHED sounds fantastic. The interview alone brought back memories of awkward dates and boys in colorful cummerbunds.

    I love your plans for a release party, Robin! Enjoy!

    A fun interview, Rachele!!

  4. DITCHED sounds brilliant - I can't wait to read it (and I'm really glad my school never had a prom!). Thanks, Robin and Rachele!