Exclusive Q & A: Stories from the Author of "Lemonade Mouth," Mark Peter Hughes

Blake Michaels "Lemonade Mouth" Book

Fanlala: What inspired you to write the book?

Mark Peter Hughes: I wrote Lemonade Mouth because I’m a musician so I know something about being in bands. Also somebody gave me a copy of a book about the Beatles called The Beatles Anthology, where each of the Beatles tells their story. I decided to write a story like that, about a band that changes the world.

F: What's a fun fact from writing the book or naming it?

M: Not many know this, but Wendel is the name of my dog. Stella is the middle name of my nine-year-old daughter. Mel’s is based on a real drink. I grew up in Rhode Island where Del’s Lemonade is a big, big deal.

F: Did you draw anything out of real-life experiences?

M: Sure. Each of the main characters is a little bit of me. Stella is a rule-breaker who tries to make a positive difference but doesn’t always get it right. That’s me, sometimes. Olivia is shy and quiet and often has a hard time talking about the important things. That’s me too, sometimes.  What Mohini and I share is that we both straddle two different cultures. Mo’s family moved to the U.S. from India, while I was born in England, grew up here in America, and sometimes feel like a stranger in a strange land even when I’m right at home. I gave Wen my own insecurities as well as my sense of humor. Charlie has my indecisiveness and occasional feelings of being
misunderstood.

F: What was it like seeing your work made onto the big screen?

M: It was a surreal experience! When I was on the set I found myself standing among three hundred extras and watching actors perform a concert as characters I’d created in my kitchen.  It was almost unbelievable. At one point, when Hayley Kiyoko (who plays Stella) started calling out to the crowd about how everyone should be nice to each other--a speech that uses my own words and heartfelt convictions--I had a lump in my throat the size of Rhode Island. I can’t really describe what a powerful moment it was for me.

By the way, I’m actually in the movie. I’m an extra in the Halloween Bash scene. Pretty much whenever you see the principal standing in the audience, look over his shoulder and you’ll notice a guy dressed like a bee. That’s me. It’s just a little thing, but it sure does make me happy.

F: What can readers expect from the sequel?

M: The second Lemonade Mouth book, Lemonade Mouth Puckers Up, fills in the gap between the return of the Mel's Lemonade machine to the school and Lemonade Mouth's later worldwide acclaim. Just how did our little band of musical mavericks end up rocketing so far so quickly? And how did it affect the lives of Olivia, Stella, Wen, Charlie, Mo, Scott, and Ray—not to mention the friends and families of our tribe of revolutionaries? These are the questions the story answers.
You can see a video where I give a sneak-peek of the entire first scene. The book will be available in early 2012. Here’s the link.

F: What scene did you enjoy seeing most on the big screen?

M: Hmmm. Not gonna lie. I liked seeing my name up there in “Based on the novel by Mark Peter Hughes.” It happens at the beginning, when Stella and her mother are first shown talking in their blue car. My family and I first saw that in a sneak preview in a movie theater, and everyone screamed. It was amazing.

You can find the latest about Mark at his website

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