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DC #352: A Likely Story Interview

One Life to Live writer Chris Van Etten, famed YA novelist/editor David Levithan and SOAPnet bloggerDavid Ozanich join Luke and Jamey on today's Daytime Confidential podcast to dish about their fun Likely Story series of teen books. Written under the joint pen name David Van Etten, Likely Story and its sequels All That Glittersand Red Carpet Riot(on sale July 9, 2009) tell the story of Mallory, just your typical teenage girl living in SoCal–except that her mother is an over-the-top soap opera diva and she's caught up in a hot love quadrangle with a teen soap hunk. After an explosive confrontation with the aforementioned diva (Mal's mom is so fab, her name is never mentioned!), Mallory blogs about how ridiculous and unbelievable the soap opera her mother stars on can be. Mal writes about how if she had the chance to write a soap, it would be realistic and find its drama in real life situations, in other words a likely story. Imagine Mal's surprise when the network gets wind of the blog post and decides to cancel their long-running daytime drama and greenlights a new teen soap based on Mallory's premise! Did we mention the soap the network cancels is the one Mal's Mommy Dreariest stars on?


You'll want to tune in to hear Van Etten, Levithan and Ozanich talk about how the Likely Story book series came into being. Learn how OLTL ultimately facilitated Van Etten and Ozanich becoming writing partners when the soap hired Ozanich an intern. Find out how at a Gotham party one night, Levithan, author of such teen classics as Boy Meets Boyand Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist(with Rachel Cohn) and editor of the smash hit The Babysitters' Clubnovel series for Scholastic, became intrigued by the idea of helping the pair bring Mallory's story to life.

You'll learn what it's like to write a book series with not one, or two authors, but three. Van Etten and Ozanich, while swearing none of the characters are based on anyone they've met in their soapy pursuits (Talk about a likely story!), reveal how their day jobs did in fact help color Mallory's world. Is Mallory speaking for every disgruntled soap opera fan with the impassioned rant she posts on her blog? What about when she actually lands her dream job? As Mallory quickly finds out writing a daily soap opera, while dealing with temperamental divas, a reluctant hottie leading man and network interference, isn't as easy as she once believed, are we getting a glimpse of what it's really like for the harried men and women who bring us our favorite soaps five-days-a-week? What about Van Etten, do he and other real life soap scribes ever log on to blogs like DC or message boards to read what we're saying about their work? If so how does it effect the writing process?

Ozanich, also an acclaimed playwright (The Lightening Field) shares how he's dealt with some of the sticky situations Mallory finds herself facing in the Likely Story books, such as having to let down friends who thought they were a shoe-in for a role in one of his dramatic works. Onzanich also runs hilarious, SNL-worthy interference for his pal Van Etten, when Jamey and Luke try to pry a few juicy spoilers about ABC Daytime's hottest soap out of the Emmy-winning breakdown writer.

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Levithan, an admitted novice to the wonderful and wacky world of daytime soap operas, talks about how he brought to the table the basic tenets of characterization and story to help make even Mallory's more larger-than-life adventures ring true. The editor for Scholastic's PUSH imprint shares how the coming of age tale, despite its soapy flavor, is quite universal. Levithan also tells us how he feels about the success of the big screen adaptation of Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, and gives other writers a bit of advice on how to make their books readily adaptable for film. Speaking of adapting literary works for the screen, could a Likely Story television series or film project be in the works? Tune in to find out. Then go to to purchase the Must Read Likely Storyand All That Glitters. You can also pre-order Red Carpet Riot.

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