Friday, June 17, 2011

Interview with Elise Allen, author of Populazzi.

Today we're pleased to have author Elise Allen, writer of POPULAZZI. Welcome Elise!

01. Populazzi portrays a fairly common high school experience: a girl wants to start fresh and hopefully make it to the top of the social ladder. Are any of the events in Populazzi based on real events of your life?

No. Sadly, my life in high school was nowhere near as interesting as Cara’s!

02. If there were to make a movie out of Populazzi, who would you pick to play the characters?

I am obsessed with the idea of Darren Criss as Nate. I’m reasonably obsessed with Darren Criss in general, quite obsessed with the Warblers’ CD, and wildly obsessed with Kurt and Blaine as a couple (I’m talking Glee, btw), so this casting choice might not be a huge shock to anyone who knows me.

However, Nate is unlike Blaine in every way, and I think it would be a very exciting chance for Criss to show a different side of himself. I believe he’d pull it off brilliantly. And if he somehow gets wind of this, I hereby promise not to totally gleek out on him when and if we actually meet.

03. Are there any rutines that you have when writing? For example, writing with music or in a designated place?

I usually write best with my noise-cancelling headphones on, and Pandora (the internet radio station) blaring in my ears. When I try to write without the music, it’s much harder. Occasionally, the characters have trouble speaking to me over the music, and I have to turn it off to hear their voices. That tends to happen in later drafts, when I’m really finessing things and have to pay very close attention to my characters or I’ll miss something. I know that sounds twisted, but it’s really how it works for me.

04. What insipres you to write?

Everything! I’m fascinated by why people do what they do, and I have an over-active imagination, so I tend to spin out all kinds of scenarios, and suddenly there’s a story. Or sometimes it’s a situation that fascinates me first, and I wonder what in the world happened to get all the players into that particular place... and soon there’s a story.

The stories are all surface-y at first, but once I jump into one and dedicate myself to it, that’s when I dive deep and start fleshing things out. When that happens, I’m hooked, and I want to know more and more and get to the real meat of the story, so I can both figure it out for myself, and also share it with other people.

05. Do you have any advice or tips for aspiring writers?

It’s been said a zillion times, but it’s so true. Read like crazy, and write like crazy. I’ve been a voracious reader for as long as I can remember, and nothing feeds a love of stories like reading. As for writing, I had my first short story “published” in a school newsletter when I was in 3rd or 4th grade, and I’ve been at it ever since. Everything you write helps you learn the craft and improve.

As you get ready to move from writing for your own pleasure to writing with an eye to getting published, it’s helpful to read advice from the masters. My favorites are Stephen King’s “On Writing” and Anne Lamott’s “Bird By Bird,” both of which are absolutely brilliant – I wish I’d read both long before I did.

06. Finally, can we expect any new books from you soon? What are you working on now?

Oh, I hope so! Next out is “Devoted,” which I co-wrote with Hilary Duff. It’s the sequel to “Elixir,” and it comes out in October. As for my solo books, there are two I’m working on right now, but neither has a publication date as of yet. When it does, I’ll let you know!

In the meantime, I’m working on a passion project:, which will go live ideally by the middle of the month. The big concept behind it is that while Cara, my Populazzi MC, thinks the road to popularity requires she turn herself inside out to become what people want to see, the true road to popularity is harder and scarier. It involves being yourself, honestly and fearlessly. is all about helping people do that, with features like real Hollywood stylists offering custom advice to readers who write in with questions; tips from professionals in fashion, beauty, organization, and fitness; and stories of wildly successful people in cool careers, and how their high school experience made them what they are today.

Thanks so much for the interview, Patty! I so appreciate you taking the time to chat with me, and to feature “Populazzi”!

P.S. You can see my review of Populazzi here.

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