Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chatting with Jennifer Solow

Jennifer Solow, author of The Aristobrats, graciously
is chatting with us today. She's holding her first book (Adult) The Booster in her new READ poster!

Welcome Jennifer!

What made you choose to write YA after The Booster?
My daughter, Tallulah, is now in sixth grade and my son, Griffin, is in eighth. I wanted to write something that they could engage in and be proud of.

Great idea!

Where do you write best? I usually try to switch locations. I have a home office, an outside office, a favorite Starbucks, and my local library. I love working at the library the most. When I’m stuck, I switch locations. When I’m really stuck, I go shopping.

How do you get your ideas? Do you use real events in your novels and if so, can you describe one? I have this one scene I’m working on in Aristobrats II that’s from my school days. My agent will tell you – I’ve been trying to work this scene into nearly everything. Now it’s finally a natural fit.

When I was in eighth grade, my best friend, Sharon, and I came to school one morning on a super-snowy day. She’d just been in a fight with her “boyfriend” (whatever “boyfriend” meant then…I can’t recall). Our school had a wall of windows in the library that looked out onto a beautiful field. That morning it was covered in fresh white snow. EXCEPT Sharon’s boyfriend (who I guess was torturously angry with her over something) had spent many wee hours that morning meticulously stomping out “Sharon R is a lezzy!!” in twelve feet tall letters in the snow. It was impossible to miss.

I remember standing at those library windows with Sharon (and the rest of the school) gasping for air. Even then I understood it was at once humiliating, pathetic, hysterical, romantic, adolescent and dramatic. I think I knew one day I would write about it.

How did you come up with your title? I have absolutely no idea. After I came up with a slew of boring titles (The Inner Circle, for example, and Teen Tube. Zzzzz!), The Aristobrats just came to me. It was one of those “Aha!” moments. Unquestionably it.

Can you tell us a little bit about The Aristobrats? I was a little tired of the popular-mean-girl cliché in books and movies. I think popularity is a powerful force and not ever popular girl sets out to destroy the world with her shiny blonde hair and Hermes scarves. (Do eighth graders even wear Hermes scarves?)

So I wanted to write a kind of anti-Clique. Popular girls, yes, but undyingly loyal friends, incredibly plucky and...hello!?...nice. Yes, there’s a story (Facebook, webcasts, cute boys, billionaires, strange teachers, big houses, great style, a life in the balance), but mostly the story is about these girls, their friendship, and a year they’ll never forget.

Sounds great! I'm looking forward to reading it, I've heard awesome things about it.

How many books will there be in the series? I guess that depends on the readers. I’m writing Aristobrats II now and have lots of plans in store for them (Parker and James, for instance. Kiki and...well, you’ll just have to keep reading.) If you like the books please let me know. Better yet, let your friends know! Then…I’d say they’ll be about a dozen of them!

Were you a popular girl in school? Popularity seemed to be in direct correlation with whatever haircut I had at the time. So if I can share any advice about how to be popular it would be this: leave your hair shoulder length or longer, never go through a “Debbie Harry” phase, actually find out if your hair is already curly before you get a perm, and do not spend hundreds of dollars on that shiny-hair-goo (psst – it doesn’t work.)

Do you have a mean girl story? Enough of those floating around. Been there. Done that.

What will you did you do on your release day? I went to Posh Salon where I celebrated the day with partial highlights with Lori, haircut with Jamie, and a Brazilian Blow-out. I was truly excited to spend the day in the capable hands of beauty professionals. (And, yes, the hair/popularity correlation thing is still an issue.)

Bloggers have certain privileges, one being allowed to see TOP SECRET pages. Something that caught my eye on your secret page was a list of made-up words. So I have to ask, what’s your favorite made-up word?

Great question. Here are a few personal favs:

Twittervention An orchestrated confrontation at La Coppa Coffee (without lattes or cranberry scones) to forcibly disarm Twitter account and get person to admit they need professional help or, at the very least, a fresh mani-pedi.

“I yove you” “I love you” while wearing super glossy lipstick.

way An exclamation of moreness. Can be preceded by so, an exclamation of more more-ness; e.g., Wally 1: Those new jeans are way great. Wally 2: So way great.

Stalkbooking When a person spends an unhealthy amount of time stalking another person’s Facebook profile instead of actually getting a life.

What was the last book you’ve read that you’ve been recommending to everyone? I’m a sucker for all things Gallagher but everyone’s getting sick of me re-reading I’d Tell You I Loved You every summer at the beach. I also have a serious cookbook addiction – my latest craze is Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day. Also props to my buddy, Precious Williams, and her memoir Color Blind. Her original manuscript was called Precious but then somebody stole her name for an Academy Award winning movie.

Are there any authors you’d love to meet? Truman Capote, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Katherine Dunn, and Jane Green, who I’ve been email buddies with for years but have yet to meet in person.

Do you have a favorite literary quote? Here are a few that have stood the test of time for me:

“Plant a new Truffula. Treat it with care. Give it clean water. And feed it fresh air. Grow a forest. Protect it from axes that hack. Then the Lorax and all of his friends may come back.” Dr. Suess

“We knew that bees dreamed of roses, that roses dreamed of the pale hands of florists, and that spiders dreamed of luna moths adhered to silver webs. As her children, we were the trustees of her dazzling evensongs of the imagination, but we did not know that mothers dreamed.” Pat Conroy

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12 – Jesus, did you?” Stephen King

Listing if your favorites:

Candy: anything that combines peanut butter and chocolate

Pizza topping: tomato sauce made from the tomatoes in my garden

Genre of books: Grabs me in three pages. (Is that technically a genre?)

Singer and/or Song: Why, Madonna, of course.

Restaurant: Sushi Yasuda, NYC; Caviar Kaspia, Paris; Swan’s Oyster Bar, San Francisco

TV show /Movie: movie: Lost in Translation. TV: I gave up television after 9/11.

Color: Blue-black

Shoe: Christian Laboutin, Capezio Nicolini Pointe shoes

Video Game: I’m so not a video game person.

Perfume: Le Parfum de Therese by Edmond Roudnitska.

Anything I didn’t ask? Yes, but it’s late and Griffin has taken this opportunity to spend way too much time Facebooking so I have to go now and crack the Mommy whip.

Read Chapter One!

1 comment:

Jessica said...

Great interview! I'm excited to read this one. Love the fact that they are nice girls.