Wednesday, March 5, 2008

An Interview with Melissa Walker

In honor of the release of Violet by Design I have a super wonderful interview with the fabulous Melissa Walker. I had such a great time talking with her, as she is a wonderful person. Also check out Melissa's blog for chances to win a copy of Violet by Design and many other wonderful books. Now read on and enjoy!

What started your love of fashion?

Hmm… well, probably working in magazines sparked it. But really, what I love is fashion people. They’re fun and funny and smart and crazy—it’s a buzz to be around them! And as for the clothes, well, who doesn’t love a perfectly cut dress in the right color and fabric? Fashion is hard not to love because it’s so visually captivating, at least for me. (But I still balk at some of the prices!)

What made you become an author instead of a magazine editor, or do you juggle both?

I do both. I love writing and editing magazine features, but I always regret that parts of the stories inevitably end up on the cutting room floor. I really wanted to tell a longer story than magazines can hold, so a book was the logical next step.

I still make most of my living writing for magazines… and I love it!

Doe the character Violet resemble you in any way? Did you want to be a model when you were Violet’s age?

At 17, I knew I wasn’t model material. When I was about 10 though, I had this dream that my semi-high cheekbones could take me places. I think lots of girls fantasize about modeling at some point in their lives.

And as for Violet, she is like me in many ways, yes. Her likes, dislikes, pet peeves… mostly mine. But in the end, she turned out to be incredibly different from me, too, and that is a good thing.

What influenced you to write this story?

My time at ELLEgirl gave me insight into the fashion world and how newer models live in NYC (which can be glamorous, scary, thrilling and a little dark all at the same time). That knowledge kind of overlapped with my long-time dream of writing a teen novel about a small town girl in the big city (original, right?). The fashion world thing gave it more focus and helped me nail down the plot.

Are you planning on writing more than 2 books about Violet and her fashion adventures?

Yes! The third book, VIOLET IN PRIVATE, will come out in August!

What’s one of the hardest parts of being a writer? The best?

It’s really hard to make yourself write every day, but it’s key. If you sit there long enough, the words will come. (Sometimes I had to shut off my wireless, and I NEVER have IM on while I’m writing, unless I’m totally kidding myself about doing work.)

The best part—hands down—is getting emails from readers who liked the book. It’s crazy to me that people are actually reading what I wrote! So those emails are like proof, and I totally cherish them.

What experiences have shaped your writing style? Your ideas?

My writing style has a lot to do with great magazine editors whom I’ve worked with—including Brandon Holley of ELLEgirl and JANE fame, and Christina Kelly, teen queen of Sassy, YM and ELLEgirl. They both made me better by asking hard questions in pink or purple pens (all over my drafts!).

As for my ideas, well, as soon as I started peeking behind the scenes of modeling and fashion as a magazine editor, I knew that I wanted to put a "real girl" in the middle of this crazy world, a girl who would see it from the outside and be like, "Holy crap!" It’s an insane environment, so there’s lots of fodder for adventure, humor and drama, especially from the point of view of a small town girl who’s not yet jaded.

What is your favorite book?

Four little words that are impossible to respond to! Okay, here is my favorite book MOMENT (does that count?): I was in a city park, and I saw a book vendor selling an old copy of JD Salinger’s Franny and Zooey. I bought it for $1, sat down in the park, and read it twice in a row! The sunshine was so warm that day, my perch so comfortable, and the book so delightful that I didn’t want to leave the world it created.

What’s one crazy fact about yourself that you want to share?

Hmm… crazy… well, I went swimming in a formal dress this year, just for fun!

Are there any other questions you wished I had asked?

Nope—you’re a pro!


Amee said...

Great interview. She's so fun!

And thanks for adding my link to your page. I've added yours to mine as well. :)

Teen Troves said...

Great review. Haven't read anything by this author yet. I'll have to get on that!

Anonymous said...

Great interview! I've been dying to read her books.

Misque Writer said...

What a fun interview!

Beth Kephart said...

How wonderful to arrive at this blog (thank you, Tasha, for your kind words on mine) and discover this terrific interview with Melissa Walker, who is such a terrific spirit and writer (and who threw what had to be a fabulous Project Runway Finale party at her house last night, so she tells me).

The world opens its doors wider everyday.



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