Cherry Chevapravatdumrong has a wide variety of interests and an interesting variety of experiences in the fields of television, writing, and law. She's a writer for the animated series Family Guy and recently released her debut novel, She's So Money. (Read my full-length review.) When I interviewed her, she entertained me with stories of singing lawyers, and then spoke of old episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and favorite contestants on So You Think You Can Dance.
Did you land your book deal before or after writing the manuscript?
Sort of in the middle... It sold as a proposal, which was like six chapters.
When did the idea for She's So Money first pop into your brain?
I think I started tossing the idea around...two summers ago? Something like that, maybe a little longer.
Have you ever worked at a restaurant?
Yup! My parents'. Never for an extended period of time, but I've waited tables (I suck at it, mostly because I can't carry trayfuls of dishes very well). I am, however, decent at taking phone orders and folding napkins and making drinks.
Have you ever felt tempted to cheat?
Not the way it's done in She's So Money, no way. But if you call lying to your TA that your computer crashed in order to get an extra day on a group project, then...yeah. :)
As a teenager, did you ever have to deal with ignorant bullies? How do you deal with people who make assumptions based on race or gender now, as an adult?
Not very much, as I was lucky enough to grow up in a pretty diverse town, although I do have one very clear memory of a day in middle school when some kids yelled the standard "ching chong ching chong" stuff at me from out a bus window as I was walking on the sidewalk. That obviously sucked. The stuff I run into nowadays is generally much less overt and luckily, rare, so for the most part it's ignorable.
I was doing the thing a lot of people do when they move to LA to try and bust into television -- I had a series of assistant jobs, working for an agent and some producers and eventually as a writer's assistant. During all that I was writing spec scripts, and I met some people who had worked on Family Guy before it got canceled, so when the show was brought back they remembered me, and I was able to send them my stuff and get in for a meeting.
Do you see more novels in your future?
Yep! Working on my second one now.
If you weren't a writer, what vocation might you seek?
Librarian. Or, assuming I actually had the skills, which I don't, backup dancer.
What branch of law were you planning to enter?
Ugh. Corporate, I guess. *shudder*
Share a rewarding law school experience.
Law Revue! It was this full-length musical comedy that the students put on every year, with sketches and parody songs; it sounds a little ridiculous the way I just said it, but it was hilarious and really fun. Writing sketches and songs and getting to be in a show was waaaaay better than going to class, that's for sure.
She's So Money has lightning-fast banter, so let's go for the lightning round now:
Favorite genre of music: pop/rock
Favorite episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Doppelgangland
Favorite nickname: Vinnie "The Microwave" Johnson
Least favorite nickname: Dick
Family Guy character most like you: Uh...the Thai hookers in Quagmire's car trunk. 'Cuz they're Thai, not 'cuz they're hookers. :)
Most deserving So You Think You Can Dance winner so far: Nick
Last but not least, name your top ten favorite books.
Oh my god, this is really hard... The top three are The Fountainhead, The Catcher in the Rye, and The Power of One, although I actually haven't reread those in years so hopefully they hold up. And... d@mmit! Okay, I don't know about the next seven but recently I've loved the Firebirds and Firebirds Rising anthologies. And here's a kicka$$ short story: More Tomorrow by Michael Marshall Smith.
Visit Cherry Cheva's MySpace page.