Yesterday a very fabulous book released, BRIMSTONE by Rosemary Clement-Moore, which includes two novels I consider to be my gateway drugs into young adult fiction, PROM DATES FROM HELL and HELL WEEK, which won the RITA Award for Best Young Adult Romance. These are the first two novels in the snarky and wonderful Maggie Quinn: Girl vs. Evil series, which continues with HIGHWAY TO HELL. I highly, highly advise you to check them out!
In other news, I’ve been holding onto a wonderful interview with Elise Allen for her new release POPULAZZI! (I know, bad blogger, no cookie.) But I’m pleased to present it to you now, along with a big of info about the author and book.
After starting her career in television, Elise Allen has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction. She is the co-author of Hilary Duff’s New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets. She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons. Visit her at www.eliseallen.com, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.
WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be? Would you grab it? Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?
Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. One of the Populazzi.
It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.
When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.
The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.
Interview with Elise Allen:
What is your writing process like? Are you a plotter or a pantser? Do you schedule time to write each day or are you a spree writer?
My writing process is complete chaos. I’m a plotter, but a rough plotter, and I’m not married to anything I plot. When the characters morph and change and develop and tell me they want to do something other than I had in mind for them, I listen.
As for when I write, I have fantasies of an organized “writing time” each day, but it never works out that way. I’ve never heard the term “spree writer,” but I love it! It’s also very accurate. I’ll fit in my writing whenever I can, but then I’ll take a whole day when my husband’s hanging with our daughter, plop my butt at a coffee shop, and not move for twelve hours while I write.
What is the hardest part about the publishing process for you and how do you get through it? (For me, it’s copyediting and sour cream and onion chips.)
For me it’s the first draft. Rewriting – even if it’s a page-one, rip-it-all-to-shreds-and-start-fresh rewrite – is fun and exciting, but that first draft… I have a horrible time getting what Anne Lamott calls Radio Station KFKD out of my head. I’m always imagining someone staring over my shoulder and making gagging noises so loudly that I can’t hear myself think.
How do I get through it is a tougher one to answer, since I’ve yet to find that great, healthy solution that I’m positive is somewhere out there, taunting me with its elusiveness. In the meantime, I battle it with boatloads of coffee, eardrum-shattering music blaring through headphones… and mass quantities of munchies.
We drop your hero or heroine on a deserted island. Quick, what are the three things he or she can’t live without?
1) Snacks – ideally French fries and chocolate shakes, so she can dip the fries into the shakes and enjoy.
2) A journal to vent about the drama she will undoubtedly encounter even when she’s all alone on an island.
3) A small replica of the Liberty Bell and an ancient pack of Tastykakes. I know it sounds odd, but it has major sentimental value.
If your story were a film, who would you cast?
I love this game! And it gives me a chance to say that Populazzi has been optioned for a film, so fingers crossed we’ll be playing this game in real life.
For Cara, my lead character, I’d cast Modern Family’s Sarah Hyland. She’s great with comedy, emotionally honest, and very likable. And while she’s the beautiful, confident daughter in Modern Family, I believe she’d do a great job as the far less secure Cara, and get to show off a more vulnerable side.
Cara’s best friend Claudia is a whole pile of quirky, obsessed with all things Shakespearean and dramatic. For her I’m very intrigued by Ashley Rickards, from MTV’s Awkward. I think she could totally nail the role.
Archer, the guy for whom Cara falls hard, has to be charming, quirky, quick-witted and completely at ease … except when he’s trying to express his feelings for Cara, at which point he gets all tangled up in himself. My dream would be Dev Patel from Slumdog Millionaire. I get all melty just imagining him in the role; he’d have Cara and the rest of the world completely in love with him.
Nate Wetherill is the dark, brooding, guitar-playing DangerZone who makes Cara’s blood race. There is no question in my mind that this should be Darren Criss from Glee. Nate is a complete 180 from Blaine, but I know Criss could pull it off, and I think he’d have a blast with it. Plus there’s the fact that between Glee and A Very Potter Musical,I have a mild obsession with Darren Criss, and working with him professionally would give me a legitimate reason to gush to him about his awesomeness.
Then there’s Trista, the Supreme Populazzi who has the whole school in the palm of her hand. My dream pick? Emma Watson! I love her! She’s gorgeous, self-possessed, and a terrific actress, plus sexy, devious Trista is a complete departure from Hermione Granger, so she’d get the chance to play way off type.
Are there any contests or upcoming appearances/interviews/etc. you’d like to plug?
Sure! I’m doing a giveaway right now on my blog, and the winner gets a five-pack of books: Populazzi, plus one book from each of the four authors who blurbed it. Check it out here: http://eliseallen.com/2012/bookscoop/populazzi-paperback-prize-a-palooza/
Congratulations on your fabulous new release!
Thanks so much, Lucienne, and thanks for hosting me on the blog! I’m really excited about Populazzi coming out in paperback!