Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Enchanting Interview: ANTONIO PAGLIARULO

When did you start writing?
Like most writers, I started writing at a very early age. I attended a small private school in New York City, and keeping journals was always an important part of our homework! I would begin my journal entries in the correct and proper way, documenting the relatively mundane details of my day, but by the third or fourth paragraph, my writing always seemed to take an adventurous turn. I wrote about walking through jungles and swimming with sharks and scaling tall buildings. I didn't know that I was, in fact, writing fiction! My teachers (who were nuns) didn't always appreciate this, but most of them encouraged my passion for the written word.

How did you go from writer to published author?
In short: I was very lucky. At a very young age, I got picked up by a major literary agent. She and her associate were kind enough (and patient enough!) to nurture my writing and teach me about the book business. I really wouldn't be anywhere if it wasn't for my agents. All writers should be so lucky.

Why young adult? What do you like best about writing YA?
It was during my teen years that I truly discovered my love of books. I simply couldn't stop reading! Books, for me, were like passports: I could go anywhere in the universe by simply turning a page. (I still feel this way!) Much of the "stuff" that forms who we are as adults can, I believe, be traced right back to our young adult years. First love, first heartbreak, first personal triumph -- it all happens when we're teenagers. I am incredibly sympathetic when it comes to this age group, so writing for the YA audience felt very natural to me.

What inspired the Celebutante series?
Two things, really: my love of the mystery genre and my undying love for my hometown -- New York City!! I wanted to write a series that combined crime with fun and fascinating characters, and a touch of madcap comedy, and Madison, Park, and Lexington Hamilton were born! And, thankfully, I have a truly wonderful and talented editor who helped shaped the series.

Describe the series in three words.
Fun. Exciting. Unforgettable

Do you have a favorite Hamilton sister?
In all truth, each of the Hamilton triplets has a special place in my heart. I could never favor only one of them!

What's your favorite characteristic of each of the triplets?
I love Madison because she's elegant and sophisticated but has no problem losing her temper when she has to. Park has the incredible ability to remain calm and positive no matter how big the crisis. And Lex, while a party girl, has a big heart and is very determined.

What was your favorite scene to write in IN THE CLUB?
I think I enjoyed writing the first chapter most. Introducing readers to St. Cecilia's Prep and to the Sisters of Our Lady of the Avenue brought back a lot of fond memories for me. As I said earlier, I attended a very small private school which was staffed almost entirely by nuns; the nuns who educated me didn't use perfume or have designer rosary beads, but they were very strict and, at times, quite funny. Writing that first chapter was a very personal and happy experience.

Did any of the characters surprise you while you were writing or did they all behave?
Jeremy Bleu, Park's movie star boyfriend, tends to misbehave, and I think this is because he wants more "screen time" in the books. When he's in a scene, it's hard to stop him from taking over. He's got the good looks, the charm, and a strong presence. I ike Jeremy a lot, but he doesn't always follow orders.

What's next for you?
The third book in the Celebutantes series, TO THE PENTHOUSE, will be published in September 2008. In 2009, a stand-alone thriller for young adults entitled THE NIGHT OF IAGO willbe published by Random House.

Interview by Lisa
March 2008

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