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Bookmarked Blog
We needed to know the story behind the story of our YA Book of the Month so who better to ask than the authors themselves? We asked Carrie and Ian all about Margot Mertz Take It Down – the story of a girl who runs an internet cleanup business hellbent on taking down a revenge-porn site targeting the girls in her school. 

Can you tell us a little bit about Margot Mertz and how the idea for the book came about?

CM & IM: We love the idea of teens who have adult jobs. And teens who are as capable and competent as adults. Margot was born out of that. Her specific comedic voice and energy were the first things we came up with. And around that time, Ian was reading the book American Girls by Nancy Jo Sales which is about teen girls and their online behaviour. It was chilling and so sad to hear how rampant revenge porn and online bullying are. We thought it would make sense to bring some of those challenging issues into the YA space and Margot seemed like the perfect angel of vengeance to do that.

 

The book is described as Veronica Mars meets Moxie, were there any other inspirations behind this novel?

CM & IM: Some of our biggest inspirations were from the noir genre, like we re-read some Dashiell Hammett (The Thin Man and Maltese Falcon.) And the movies Catch Me If You Can and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Clueless which feature leads who are charismatic, arrogant, and funny. And smarter than the adults in their lives. While still being very flawed.

   

If Margot Mertz was adapted into a film, who would you cast?

CM & IM: We’d ideally love to cast an unknown, a budding superstar who’s got really good comedic timing but can carry the emotional weight. So like, Zendaya before she blew up. Or Emma Stone when she was in Easy A. We’re both huge fans of Bella Ramsey. The first time she appeared in Game of Thrones we were both like “Who the fuck is this girl and how is she such a boss?” Margot needs to have that kind of authority. But also if Zendaya wanted to do it...

 

Consent is clearly a big theme in this novel for young adults. What do you hope teens gain from reading the book?

CM & IM: Well, we’re not trying to “teach a lesson” or anything with this book. We’re trying to show something that actually does happen and to dive into how complicated it can be. But one of the things we both learned while writing this book is that there are not enough laws in place to protect victims of revenge porn or punish the people who perpetrate it. That needs to change now. (This study suggests that one in three people in Australia ages 16-64 have had their image shared without consent.) We hope our book will get a dialogue going. And hopefully lead to less victim-blaming/shaming. If you are a victim of revenge porn, you are not alone. And you are not to blame. Your rights have been violated.


If you were to give your characters some advice, what would it be?

CM & IM: Honestly, most of the time we feel like we want advice from Margot. She’s much braver and smarter than we are. But Margot’s not perfect. She’s put up pretty thick walls around herself. So we’d probably tell her that friends are important and she should be nicer to the ones she has.

 

What are your thoughts on the role the YA genre is playing at the moment in the book industry - especially with medium such as TikTok?

CM & IM: One of the most exciting things about being in YA is that YA has fans. It’s great to see people— of any age— getting excited about what they’re reading. We were only recently introduced to the phenomenon of BookTok. And our initial reaction was, like every old person’s, “Books on TikTok?! What?!?!” But then of course we thought it was amazing. How cool is it that fans can become tastemakers by sharing the books they’re most excited about? How cool is it that the tastemakers are often the teens these books are aimed at? (Instead of an old white guy in an office somewhere.)

 

What was the writing process like? Any advice you would like to give?

CM & IM: Be a nice person so that when you finally finish your book, you still have friends who will read it and take you out for a slice of cake. And if you’re writing with your spouse or partner, we highly recommend marriage counselling! If it weren’t for our therapist, we probably would’ve killed each other.

 

What are your Top 5 YA must-reads? Any other books you have read recently and loved?

CM & IM: Children of Blood and Bone, (and Virtue and Vengeance,) from Tomi Adeyemi’s Legacy of Orïsha trilogy. Obviously. This isn’t YA, but much of it takes place in high school, we both loved Trust Exercise by Susan Choi. Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi. And We Run the Tides by Vendela Vida. Late to the party here, but Fun Home by Alison Bechdel was incredible. And Ruta Sepetys’s The Fountains of Silence was really beautiful.

We also really liked (in the non-YA space) Three Women by Lisa Taddeo, The Secret Life of Groceries by Benjamin Lorr and The Vapors by David Hill. And The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz.


Margot Mertz Takes It Down is available in store and online now.

Margot Mertz Takes it Down
Carrie McCrossen, Ian McWethy
$19.99
  

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