Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Interview with YA Author Melissa Walker

1. What made you want to be a writer?

It may have been the old typewriter my parents had, which I thought was super cool. But probably it was just something innate, because I’m not sure how many four-year-olds would have found an ancient typewriter cool.

Also, my dad, my uncle and my grandmother are all writers at heart.

2. How did you get started?

Really it was doing work for my high school yearbook, and then my college newspaper. I got a magazine internship during college, and I just loved the environment, so I knew that’s the field I wanted to work in after graduation.

After a few years editing and writing with magazines, it was time to try books!

3. What do you like most about writing young adult?

The readers. I love writing for teenagers because I think they’re such an honest, open audience. They’ll tell you if they LOVE a story and they’ll call you out if something just sucks.

4. What sparked the idea for the Violet series?

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.

5. Can you describe Violet in just three words?

Self-conscious, smart, and lovely

6. What qualities do you like most about Violet?

While she’s very insecure, she also has an inner strength. Even she doesn’t really know about it, but she finds it more and more as she deals with the fashion world and starts to question its values. I like that quiet strength, which will hopefully overcome her eagerness to please and be accepted.

7. There’s a lot of emphasis on healthy body image in the series, especially in VIOLET BY DESIGN. Was that intentional, meaning there when you plotted the series or did it just come up organically?

I didn’t plot the series—I just planned one book. When Penguin wanted three, I had to think up a second and third, which was fun. International modeling came up, and I know how rigid foreign runways are, so weight was a natural issue for Violet to deal with. I suppose that means it was organic when I started plotting book 2.

8. What was your favorite scene to write?

I love every scene when Roger and Violet are together. Those just feel natural to me.

9. Did any character surprise you when you were writing?

Veronica did. She’s sort of a frenemy, a rival model, but she’s not one-dimensional. At first I thought she might be pure evil, but her humanity keeps showing through, and I like that.

10. What would readers be surprised to know about you?

I’m obsessed with Oprah. My friend Anne and I even have a blog at that no one reads, but I love it.

11. Can you give us a hint about what happens to Violet in book 3?

She does go to college… and she tries to quit the modeling world for good. She also has quite a romantic roller coaster ride!

12. Have you ever thought of maybe doing a spin-off of the series with one of the other model characters?

Oooh, no! But I like this idea! Can I steal it?

Interview by Lisa

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