Friday, April 03, 2009

YA Spring Break Week: Guest Blogger Rachel Caine Says Divas Rock

UPDATE: The winner of a signed Rachel Caine book of the winner's choice is tetewa. Please email your physical address to contests @ (remove the spaces in the email addy). Congrats!
I'm kind of jazzed to be tapped to write about The Diva (you should always spell it that way, with Capital Emphasis). I have two reasons ... one is that I come from a musical background, and so I know that the term "diva" originally meant an extremely gifted star, usually operatic. It was related to "prima donna" -- another term that just meant "First Lady" (of the opera). And of course, opera stars became known for their temper tantrums, but darn it, they were WORTH IT. They did it with STYLE.
That's probably because opera has always been a tough gig -- fragile egos need not apply. No matter how amazing the opera singer, opera audiences were merciless critics throughout history. Check it: one of the greatest divas of all time, Maria Callas, got pelted with bouquets of radishes by her non-adoring fans. And didn't even flinch as she finished the show. That's ATTITUDE.
Possibly the great legend of the diva stems from a pair of opera prima donnas -- Faustina Bordoni and Francesa Cuzzoni -- whose offstage rivalry heated up in 1727. A noted tabloid reporter of the time (yes, they had them then, too) published an account of the stage scandal with a screaming headline: "THE DEVIL TO PAY AT ST. JAMES: or, a full and true account of a most horrid and bloody battle between Madam Faustina and Madam Cuzzoni." Apparently, there was dress-tearing, hair-pulling, curse-shrieking, and throwing of vegetables from the audience. Quite a show. And by the way, opera still is a rough sport ... recently a singer got booed off the stage at La Scala in tears. Yup. It happens. It takes a major attitude to take the stage knowing that could await you.
So today's Divas have a lot to live up to, obviously. They're no longer required to have the talent ... only the 'tude. And they take self-confidence to insane levels. A true Diva thinks of no one but herself -- or who can do something for her. There's no ally she won't betray, no minion she won't throw under the bus to get ahead, no back in which she won't find a home for her dagger. Divas typically have a posse, and a talent for causing a scene when you least want it.
In short, The Diva is seriously entertaining ... if you're watching from the sidelines (or the cheap seats). Facing off against her is no treat, especially since The Diva usually has a nasty temper and a long memory.
So how does The Diva help in a story? She's a great villain. She's also a great reluctant ally ... having the meanest of the Mean Girls on your side can be an amazing advantage. (Just be sure never to turn your back on her. Or borrow her best shirt.)
So remember: Divas are fabulous. Divas are blindingly confident. Divas are WORTH IT.
Go on. Be a Diva ... just for a day.
Here, have a tiara. :)

-- Rachel Caine
Enter to win an autographed copy of one of Rachel's MORGANVILLE VAMPIRES books! The winner will receive the book of their choice from the series. Leave your name in the comment section. The winner will be announced tomorrow morning.

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Blogger Suzette said...

I get that Divas must have an attitude and that it's probably a good idea to have one on your side, but personally, I don't like them. It's the attitude that they are better then everyone that turns me off. In a book, I say kill the Diva off just so you don't have to hear her Sorry, I just don't like the Diva persoanlity. Is it possible to be Diva and nice at the same time?

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:59:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Suzette said...

Sorry about the spelling in the above comment on the word personality.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:00:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hmmm, I definitely don't have a diva ... sorry, Diva ... in the YA I'm about to query, but I'm pretty sure one would fit nicely in the next one. I just honestly hadn't considered it because, like Suzette, I'm not overly fond of the Diva. The only exception I can think of to this is Cordelia from Buffy. For some stupid reason, I always liked Cordy, but it might have just been because whe was a brunette :P


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:28:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Joni S. said...

No matter how much fun being a diva seems to be, I just can't call attention to myself enough to become one (even temporarily). It has to be much less stressful, though, to always worry about yourself first.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:46:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Indigo said...

Diva's with talents...maybe they can be easily forgiven. Rotten ugly spoiled personalities - not so much. I grew up poor learning the hard way, strength and compassion were building blocks to character.

A Diva tends to be rich, spoiled and generally (in my humble opinion) ugly inside and out. Do they make excellent adversaries/villians? Perfectly!
We can all relate to having a bully at some point in our lives and a Diva fits the bill.

Thanks! Indigo


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:53:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Mama R. said...

Who doesn't love a good diva?? Especially when we can see that she's actually a softy like the rest of us inside!


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:55:00 AM EDT  
Blogger jennclack said...

Ah ha! That explains Monica. I like seeing Divas transform into better people in the course of a book. It makes us think that anyone can improve themselves. Of course, seeing one blown up when they deserve it is fun too. Thanks for the tiara!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:04:00 AM EDT  
Blogger CrystalGB said...

Hi Rachel. Great post. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:57:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Jia Gayles said...

I don't know about the rest of you, but I love divas. Especially when you figure out what their motivation is for being so deliciously nasty...every diva has a soft underbelly. The behind the scenes story can sometimes turn out to be the most interesting. And what would our heroines do without the perfect foil? They "make" the story. Even if the author doesn't endear her diva to the reader by providing a reason behind her actions, I'm still a fan. Or maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment!

One thing I think we can definitely learn from these so-called "mean girls" is how to take charge and handle business -- so to speak. Perhaps that's the perfect recipe for the edgy, modern heroine -- a little bit of diva and America's sweetheart (see Lucienne's earlier YA week post) mixed into one bowl. Bake for 45 minutes and you've arrived at someone we can all relate to. ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 11:40:00 AM EDT  
Blogger Cursing Mama said...

Lucky me, I brought my tiara to work today ;)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 12:35:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jeanne Ryan said...

This is bizarre. I seem to be talking about the Morganville series all over the net this week. I must have recommended it to at least a dozen people, including my 12 year old daughter who wants to know what real/scary vamps are like. My daughter is very smart, not quite Claire smart, but way above average and I think she'll love Claire as much as I do.

That's one of the things I love about Morganville and the Weather Warden series. They aren't just women in leather and tats kicking ass. That is great, but give me someone who solves things with their mind and creativity and you've got a reader for life.

And I LOVE the British cover for Lord of Misrule.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 12:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Erika Powell said...

I prefer my Divas to have the talent to back up their attitude but in books they are always so fun. You love them, love to hate them and laugh at how over the top they can be!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:09:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Zita said...

What Erika-Lynn said :-)


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:24:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Lucienne said...

Great post! Everyone deserves to be diva for a day. Sorry, Diva. Capital D (*grin*).

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:27:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Cherith said...

Great info from Rachel. I think Divas are extremely useful. I mean someone has to be absolutely over-the-top all the time. :)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:44:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I agree, Divas are fantastic! I'm actually using one in a story of mine - great timing!


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 1:45:00 PM EDT  
Blogger tetewa said...

I'm always looking for new vampire series to read, count me in!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 2:23:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

With my kid sister being a diva, I don't think my family could handle TWO divas. So I highly doubt I'll take the tiara.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 2:31:00 PM EDT  
Blogger macbeaner said...

OOOO. I love Tiaras! Thank you! :)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 2:33:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Catherine Haines said...

Ha ha ha, I saw the title, saw who was writing and laughed myself silly. "I know who fits that!" I told myself. "That's Lauren to a tee!" Lauren being a character from the YA novel I'm writing up draft queries for - a vampire opera singer (or an opera singer who was turned and still sings to this this). She is absolutely fun to write - I only wish she had more of a role. :/

catherine [at] amynta [dot] org

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:19:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Andie said...

I think having a diva in a story makes it more interesting. You're always looking to see what her next step is. I'd love to win one of the books :) I love the Morganville Vampire series. I just mailed the series to my niece so she could read them.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:20:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jessica Love said...

Awesome blog!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't like Divas. Its great to know what you want but thats taking it overboard. Sometimes its ok, but a true Diva never knows when to stop. Thats when we have problems. And thanks very much for the tiara, Rachel. It matches my others ;). Hey if you're a Morganville fan (and you better be, or start high-tailin it outta here to get the books)then you should email me. I would love to have someone to talk to about them. Love ya Rachel! Can't wait for Carpe Corpus and Fade Out!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 3:38:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i don't think I could be a Diva but i dont think I want to be one. It may turn out to be fun though...
Cool Post!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:00:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ooh, shiny...

*snatches tiara*

Yay, I have a tiara!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:03:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jack McFarlane said...

I'm not sure I can carry off wearing a tiara if I'm honest.


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:18:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Vickie said...

We have our own resident Diva, Lady K, just turned 6 last month. She came out Diva-like and has remained thusly ever since. It's, luckily, a 90/10 split of good Diva vs Pod people Diva....

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:39:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jo said...

And Monica makes the best Diva! :)


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:46:00 PM EDT  
Blogger LuAnn said...

Include me in the drawing!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 4:53:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love to hate the Diva. One of my favorite things to do. I really like it when the Diva topples and her little crown gets crushed. Mwahahahaha

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 5:32:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Misty aka s_aurius said...

hmm. Divas definitely keep life interesting. It's amazing how you can find them in any profession. There are even a few in my company in the Army. :p

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 5:45:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Lori said...

I think the diva archetype can be overdone like any other.. the trick is to walk the line between an interesting character and an annoying one. A lot of authors fail at that.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 6:12:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Jamie said...

Wow that is so cool. I never new where Diva really came from. I have a little Diva that is about 9 years!! Thanks for the wonderful post!!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 6:13:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Kirsten said...

cool beans
thats really interesting
didnt know alot of the things mentioned
all in all:
nice blog

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:07:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Unknown said...

I love Diva's. The one thing a lot of people don't realize is that Diva's and b*tches are different. Diva's rock!!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 7:12:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Rae said...

I love it when The Divas (yes, there are caps) are shown in a new light, often later in novels. At first we think they are huge *insert word of choice here* but usually there's some sort of vulnerability lying underneath. Usually...

And ooh... tiara... shiny...

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:22:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Tez Miller said...

Beyonce sings that "a diva is a female version of a hustla". But I have no idea what a "hustla" is ;-)

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 8:56:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Taylor Marie said...

I love Divas! They make everything more interesting.
The UK cover for Lord of Misrule is awesome (:
- Taylor.

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 9:26:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Kat Fos said...

Divas are amazing, my sis is a big diva lol But they can get to be annoying if they are constantly trying to be the center of attention.
Love the UK cover btw

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:01:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Isabel said...

So how does The Diva help in a story? She's a great villain. She's also a great reluctant ally ... having the meanest of the Mean Girls on your side can be an amazing advantage. (Just be sure never to turn your back on her. Or borrow her best shirt.)

~Thank you! I hadn't thought of it this way. Great post!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:16:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Nonny Blackthorne said...

*darts in and sneaks off with the tiara*


Friday, April 3, 2009 at 10:29:00 PM EDT  
Blogger Caffey said...

Don't put me in for these because I have them. But if you haven't read Rachel Caine, you're in for a treat! I haven't read much YA at all but wouldn't miss these!!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 11:14:00 PM EDT  
Blogger germaine.dulac said...

Dude, divas are awesome. They are strong and resilient and sometimes really hard to kill. When chaos erupts, they find a way to survive. When all hell breaks loose, you definitely want a diva on your side.

Great post!

Friday, April 3, 2009 at 11:50:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want be in the drawing!

Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 1:08:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have love/hate relationships with The Diva when I run across her in books. I guess it's all how the author handles it, but I love being reluctantly impressed at the shanegans that TD comes up with.


Saturday, April 4, 2009 at 1:14:00 AM EDT  

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