Q and A
FIRST: A HUGE apology to SOMEONE. I got a really nice letter c/o Hyperion Author Mail, and it somehow got misplaced before I could respond. The writer used an envelope with a gold foil interior. I am so incredibly sorry because I really try to answer all of my letters. If this is you, and if you have the time, please write to me again and I will get back to you as quickly as I can!
Q: Do you have a new book out?
A: Yes! In May, my third book, The Breakup Bible came out. It's about a girl who gets dumped by her boyfriend. Her grandmother gives her one of those advice books that's supposed to help you get over a guy in just a few easy steps. Not.
Q: Are you writing a sequel to Confessions of a Not It Girl or If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?
A: I'm not. I've gotten the nicest letters from readers asking me to write sequels, but I don't have any plans to. I like leaving Jan and Lucy right where they are on the last pages of their books...
Q: Help! I'm doing a book report on you. I need to know how old you are and where you were born.
A: I was born in New York City on January 3, 1970. And even though teachers never care about this, I'll give you my sign--Capricorn.
Q: Did you always want to be a writer?
A: When I was in seventh grade, I told people I was going to be a writer. Then in college I got interested in other things, and after I graduated I started teaching, which I love. But ideas for stories kept popping into my head. One was an image of two girls walking down Montague Street (that’s the main drag in Brooklyn Heights) during their lunch period. They were best friends, only one of the girls was cooler and prettier and more successful with boys than the other one. They were talking about a party they’d been invited to, trying to decide if they wanted to go or not. Finally I decided I had to know what happened to them. Those girls became Jan and Rebecca, and their story is Confessions of a Not It Girl.
Q: Did the things that happen in your books really happen to you?
A: Yes and no. I had a stepmother I had a lot of problems with, like Lucy does in If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? And I definitely liked boys who didn’t like me (and had boys like me who I didn’t like), which happens to Jan in Confessions of a Not It Girl. But the characters I write about aren’t me. A huge part of my high school experience was being in the school plays, and none of my heroines are actresses. Also I was (and am) a voracious reader, while none of my characters is especially into books or sees herself in terms of the books she’s reading (which I always did). I’d say a lot of the thoughts and feelings my characters have are mine, while the things that happen to them are made up.
Q: When you look back on high school, what’s your biggest regret?
A: I wish I hadn’t spent so much time liking (or pretending to like) things that the guys I was into liked. I still have the lyrics to a number of Motley Crüe songs memorized just because I dated a guy who was obsessed with them, and when I had a crush on a guy who was into the Grateful Dead, I started listening to “Friend of the Devil” 24/7. Truly lame.
Q: What are your favorite YA books?
A: My all-time favorite YA book is It’s Okay If You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein. It’s about a girl named Jo who’s a senior in high school dealing with school and her family (her parents are divorced) and with falling in love for the first time. She’s a real New York City girl, which I definitely wanted to be. I re-read It’s Okay If You Don’t Love Me at least once a year, and I’d recommend anything by Norma Klein. Unfortunately, most of her books are out of print, so they can be tough to get your hands on. But it’s worth the effort.
Recently, I read (and loved): Gingerbread; a brief chapter in my impossible life; boy proof and The Queen of Cool.
The Breakup Bible
Out now! Nominee, "Best Books for Yound Adults, 2008" by the American Library Association; Chosen as a Junior Library Guild selection. "Teen angst never looked so good." teensreadtoo.com
Confessions of a Not It Girl
A Booklist Top Ten Romance Novel for Youths, 2004; A Publisher’s Weekly editor’s pick; “Lots of fun, lots of truth, very satisfying.”
--School Library Journal
If I Have a Wicked Stepmother,
Where’s My Prince?
Winner, YALSA Teens Top Ten 2006; A Book Sense Fall 2005 Pick; "This is a blend of solid witty perceptiveness and tasty froth, and middle-school readers will consume it with relish."
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