Thursday, October 27, 2005

Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

It was this past spring when I first read about The Glass Castle in a magazine. I remembered Jeannette Walls from the gossip program on the E! channel, remember the show- with Michael Musto and his fluttering hands and A.J. Benza with his tough guy exterior? I was familiar with her name but knew nothing about her life story.

I got a hold of the book, beginning it late one summer night. From page one, her vivid descriptions pulled me into her life. It was obvious where all the good reviews stemmed. This book was not simply good- it was phenomenal. The story as fiction would have been amazing, but since this is a memoir it is even more incredible. That someone could have lived as Jeannette did and not only survive, but flourish in her adult life is worthy of all awards and accolades.

As the book came to the end, I put off reading the final chapter. Why? Because I wanted the book to go on and on. The writing is so rich, you cannot help but feel you are there with the Jeannette. When I closed the book for good, I told everyone about The Glass Castle. I was a one woman campaign for people to read the memoir. And each person who read it said the same thing, "AMAZING." Amazing writing, amazing story. If you read only one book this month or this year, make it The Glass Castle.

I am lucky to have the opportunity to do an interview with Jeannette who is kind and smart and wonderful. Sometimes you read a book that holds a special place in your heart for a long time, this is one of those books. Read our interview, then rush out and buy the book. Feel free to email me with your thoughts on it.

What motivates you every day?

I’m going to scare myself and quote my mother, but life is an adventure.
I think people are only capable of giving what they know.

What kind of upbringing did your parents have? We get a bit of your grandmother in the book. Not pleasant.

That’s so incredibly well said. I think what’s stunning about my father is not that he was a shiftless drunk – but rather that he had as much good in him as he did, given where he came from. He was drinking heavily by the time that he was 15 and as best I can tell, got no real love or support from home. The only person who really gave him any faith in himself while he was growing up was an English teacher, the one I was named after.

My mother’s upbringing was actually rather upper middle class, but I think she suffered from too much discipline and spent the rest of her life seeking out freedom and adventure.

At what age did you finally get braces? I admired how you tried to fix your own teeth.

When I was 24. I had graduated from college and got my first well-paying full time job, the FIRST thing I did with the first paycheck was get real, store-bought braces. They cost me $3,600 (I paid in installments) and it was the best money I ever spent. I no longer felt the need to cover my mouth when I smiled.

Did you ever think about running away? Doing a “skidaddle” of your own?

I think I did, actually. I didn’t run away, but I walked away very, very quickly.

When the truant officer came to the door, you turned him away. Was this because you were afraid to be separated from your siblings?

YES. Absolutely.

What was your first item of luxury when you made it to New York?

I will always consider a hot bath to be one of the world’s greatest luxuries. People who’ve never lived without running water cannot understand how miraculous it is to simply turn on a couple of faucets and be able to step into a tub of warm water. That, and a flush toilet. Push the handle, WHOOSH! It’s just gone.

When you arrived in New York, did you feel a sense of relief? Guilt?

YES! Both. Constantly. I think that sometimes I still have bouts of survivor’s guilt.

Do you plan on writing a sequel to the book? I’d love to hear about your early life in New York and working to become who and what you are today.

I’m kicking around a few ideas, but I’m sort of cool on the idea of a sequel about making it in New York. (Although a friend of mine who’s urging me to do it has a great title: “Mountain Goat Does Manhattan.”) Seriously, the country gal makes good with luck and pluck just doesn’t carry much emotional wallop.

I read you were afraid to tell your upper -class Park Avenue dwelling acquaintances about your childhood and where you came from. When the book came out, how did your friends react and did you lose any friendships over it? Did anyone look at you differently?

I couldn’t have been more wrong about how most people would respond. I hugely underestimated peoples’ capacity for compassion. I’ve also been stunned by the number of people who’ve come forward and told me that, while the details of my life may have been more extreme, they had a lot in common with me. I didn’t lose any friends, and I’ve become a lot closer to that I know of. Some Park Avenue types are probably mortified, but to hell with ‘em.

Growing up, what happened when you got sick? Did you go to the doctor? Your basic needs were not met. How did you avoid getting sick when you were living in such poverty?

When we got sick we were pretty much ignored until we got better. Being sick was considered being weak and useless. Mom thought if kids were pampered when they were sick it would encourage hypochondria. Maybe she was right. For the most part we were very healthy kids, despite our rather sparse diet. And as an adult, I almost never get sick.

Because the book is personal, how do you feel when you read a negative comment or review? Especially comments regarding your parents.

That’s a very perceptive question. I purposely didn’t pass judgment on my parents in the book; I wanted to leave it up to the readers, but I’m sometimes shocked by how hard people come down on Mom and Dad. I understand it, of course, but it’s a little startling – and very interesting. Then there was someone who wrote an online review and said that he just didn’t believe that someone who was an alcoholic like my father could also be articulate and compassionate. I thought, Jeez, honey, you need to get out a little more, maybe do some volunteer work or something.

What was your goal in writing the memoir? Was it cathartic? Did it help you understand your parents? Did you ever feel a need to understand them?

It was HUGELY cathartic. And, yes, it helped me understand my parents, but that’s not why I wrote it. I wrote it for a lot of reasons, partly because I knew I had to -- as Mom challenged me -- “Tell the truth.” I’d tried a couple of times when I was younger; I wrote a couple of hundred pages at a time on several occasions, then threw it all out. My husband was really instrumental in my finally sitting down to write it. He practically duct taped me to the desk and said, “You are writing this.”

The fascinating thing has been that even though I obviously knew all the things I wrote, sometimes you don’t know what you know, but when you force yourself to examine it and really, really be honest with yourself, you can put together the pieces of the puzzle that were all jumbled in your head. I think that’s what happened in my case.

How were you able to put the past behind you as you walked the Red Carpet and lived a glamorous life? Was it always in the back of your mind - thoughts of your childhood?

That’s one of the things I loved the most about the job! It was always such a hoot thinking, I know I’m just a scrawny girl who grew up without indoor plumbing, and here I am wearing my fancy designer clothes asking Nicole Kidman questions. Life is so strange.

Would you be the person you are today if you grew up in a house with hot water and a warm bed? Your parents heaped upon you lots of intelligence, creativity and I got a sense that you always felt loved.

That’s the whole nature/nurture question, and I’m afraid I’m not smart enough to answer it definitively. I used to think I’d have more confidence and a healthier sense of entitlement if I’d grown up with regular meals and all that, but now I’m not so sure. A very smart sociologist I spoke with said that every successful person he’s studied had to overcome some huge obstacle in his or her life, and it’s learning to navigate those rough patches that teaches you how to deal with

But yes, I actually think that in many ways I was incredibly lucky because I did feel loved and my parents both put a huge emphasis on education and self esteem. In that way, I was much more fortunate than many of the people I met while I was living on Park Avenue.

Should your family have been on welfare? Did you know how bad you had it? Did you ever complain?

At one time I urged my mother to go on welfare, and she refused. At the time I thought she was wrong, that we would have had it much better if we could have food stamps or something, but now I’m not so sure. Mom said she didn’t want us to think of ourselves as charity cases, and there’s something to be said for that. That being said, if I had four hungry kids with nothing to eat and no way of getting any money, I’d go on welfare in a heartbeat.

I had a pretty good idea how bad we had it, but no, I didn’t complain. Not much, anyway. It didn’t get me anywhere.

Did you read Angela’s Ashes, another wonderful book about growing up in extreme poverty? I can’t help but draw comparisons between you and Frank McCourt. What are your thoughts, did you read it and see similarities?

I loved Angela’s Ashes. I think it would be pretty arrogant for me to compare my book to it, but if you want to, that’s just dandy by me.

How is your relationship with your siblings today? How do they feel about The Glass Castle? Do any of them live like your mother?

I’m very close to my brother. He loves the book and was very supportive every step of the way. I showed him parts as I finished them because he has a steel trap memory and I wanted to make sure I remembered things correctly. It’s interesting, because we remembered the same events, but had different takes on them. For example, I think of the cheetah as being a gorgeous, powerful beast with rippling muscles. Brian said, “As I remember, that was as a sort mangy creature.” I ran that by Mom and she said, “It was both, but it wasn’t inside a cage. It was just walking around the zoo.” People remember the same things differently, and if Brian or my sisters had written the book, it would be entirely different.

Maureen and I lost touch when she moved to California, but after the book came out, we got together again. I’m very happy about that.

Lori and I are pretty close, but she sort of didn’t want me to write the book, although she would never have asked me not to do it. At first, she didn’t want to read it, but Mom urged her to. So she did and she said she found it sort of painful to relive some of those episodes, but she really liked it.

Would your father have ever been capable of building the glass castle?

As far as I’m concerned, he did build it. It wasn’t a physical structure, but rather a dream: the hope of a better life.

Moving on to lighter subjects- What are the best and worst parts of attending a Red Carpet function?

I love trying to get a celeb who won’t talk to any other reporter. There are all sorts of tricks – one interviewer told me she wears long chartreuse gloves. I haven’t tried that one, but you have to be creative. If, for example, some star has a child who’s trying to get into the movies, shout out a question about the kid’s career. That one always works for me.

The worst part is that you know you can only use short, simple sound bites, so sometimes a celeb gives you a long, thoughtful response to a question, and you think, “Dang, that was smart. Too bad I can’t use it.” And you end up going with comments like “I love being part of Hollywood’s most exciting night of the year!”

Did you enjoy being on Oprah? I think The Glass Castle should have been an Oprah pick, I'm quite upset with Miss Oprah. Instead you are going to have to settle for a Cindy’s Must Read. I’ve encouraged everyone I know to read this book.

I loved being on Oprah. I think she’s a magnificent woman who does so much good with her fame and power. The only greater honor than being an Oprah’s pick is being a Cindy’s Must Read!

Casting the movie, who would play you? And your parents? Who could attempt to do them justice with a portrayal? I hear there is talk of bringing The Glass Castle to the big screen...

It’s been optioned by Plan B, Brad Pitt’s production company, and I’m just thrilled about it, but nothing is ever certain in Hollywood, so I’m not counting on anything. I simply cannot cast myself. Can’t do it! Just thinking about it is too weird.

I actually believe that my mother and father have the more interesting, challenging parts. The Hollywood Reporter said the roles are “catnip for serious actors looking to play charismatic scoundrels.” I thought that was just about perfect. There are so many great actresses I could see playing my mother: Susan Sarandon, Emma Thompson, Kate Nelligan, Meryl Streep, etc. (I’m well aware that those are really pie in the sky choices, but we’re just having fun here.)

Honestly, I think that any really good actress who spent any time with my mother (Mom would do it, of course) would “get” her. Dad’s a little tougher to cast, but anyone who can capture his irresistible ne’er do well quality, his combination of charm and rage, could really take the role and run with it.

Have you considered writing a work of fiction?

I’m terrible at making up things. At one point, I tried to fictionalize The Glass Castle and I couldn’t even make up fake names for the characters. I spent all day trying to decide what to call the members of my family. I settled on Doug for my brother Brian because Douglas is his middle name, but every time I wrote “Doug” it irritated me because that’s not his name, dang it, and it felt all wrong.

What is the best compliment someone has given you?

I have been so stunned and overwhelmed and blown away by some reactions to the book that honestly, I don’t know where to start. But the other day, someone told me that after she read the book, she rethought her whole relationship with her father and they had a long talk and now she sees him differently and now, for the first time, they really get along. I thought, “Wow, it doesn’t get much better than that.” Then someone else told me she gave the book to a friend who had her daughter, a who is a very popular cheerleader reader in high school, read it and the daughter said she’s going to start treating the nerdy, outcast girls in her school differently. I thought, “Well, heck. Now I can die a happy woman.”

Where will you be in ten years from now? What is your legacy?

I have no idea! Ten years ago, if you had told me where I’d be now, I’d tell you that you’ve lost your mind!

Jeannette writes The Scoop column for You can order The Glass Castle by clicking here.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Alison Pace, If Andy Warhol Had A Girlfriend

If Andy wasn't dead- and gay- well, he would just love Alison Pace.

The book takes place in the art world.

Andy Warhol would have loved partying with Alison at Studio 54 along with his pals Halston and Liza Minelli.

I knew from the moment the book was in my hands that I would love it. And I did enjoy the book quite a lot and especially liked the backdrop of the art world in the novel. Embarrassing, yes- but I developed a bit of a crush on the character of Ian.

I never knew Andy Warhol had so many quote worthy quips, you're going to have to read the book to see what I'm talking about. Alison has a really fun blog, which you can see here. Her website can be viewed by clicking this link. And I know Ethan Hawke is a huge fan of this site, so Ethan, would you please contact Alison for date? Just be sure to wear a bib. You'll have to read Alison's blog entry to see her real life sighting of Mr. Hawke.

If Andy indeed had a girlfriend, what would she be like?

Two answers for this one.

1. I think she'd be very fabulous and exactly like you, Distressed Jeans. (thanks Alison!)

2. I think, pretty much, there are not many circumstances in which Andy Warhol would have had a girlfriend.

If you could host a dinner party with anyone past or present, who would you chose to sit at your table?

Oh, tough question. Let's see: You'd be there of course, and hopefully Andy Warhol, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and then Ed Helms would be my date. Jane Austen; Philip Roth; Ann Brashares (I love her books); My editor, she's very lovely; Ellen DeGeneres; Willie Nelson; Lyle Lovett; Tom Cruise and Katie so he could yell at everybody and we could observe the TomKat dynamic; Plato liked a good dinner party, didn't he? And then of course as soon as the invitations went out, I'd think I could have done a better job with it all, and would want to do it again, differently.

Liza Minelli or Barry Manilow? And would you wear a concert tee shirt in public?

Barry Manilow, hands down. I sometimes enjoy wearing my Super Diamond tee shirt, but that's the only one.

True or false: creative people are weird, kind of wacky and prone to mental illness.

True, definitely true.

Do you watch reality television? As you may or may not know, I like watching real people in ridiculous situations. I draw the line at Fear Factor. Rats in a blender? I don't think so.

While I think it's pretty safe to say that I watch too much TV, I don't much care for the reality TV. I was a bit taken with the first few seasons of The Bachelor / Bachelorette but more in a train wreck sort of way. Sometimes I watch The Apprentice. I liked Raj.

Talk to me about art. What is your favorite time period? If you could own any piece of art from any time period, what would it be?

Art is so important, I can't imagine a world without art. If I had to pick a time, I'd say the 50s through the 80s, which is stretching it, but it's hard to narrow down. I'm not sure I'd like to own a Warhol if I had to pick just one. I like Warhol's quotes a bit better than his art. I'd like a Rothko or an Ed Ruscha.

Who was the inspiration for Ian? I liked his style and found myself almost falling for him!

When I worked at Sotheby's there was an expert there who dressed very much like Ian. He had these fantastic-bizarre-completely-groovy outfits all the time, and I'd love passing him in the halls and seeing what he had on. I didn't know him at all though, so Ian's personality mostly came right out of my thoughts. My somewhat optimistic thoughts.

Will art feature prominently in your next novel? Can you tell me what you are working on?

My next novel is called Pug Hill and it will be out in May. So soon! It's about public speaking and yes, pugs, much more than it is about art. Though my narrator, Hope, works as a Paintings Restorer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. So the art is still there, but it takes a back seat, pretty far in back. Like if this book were a station wagon, art would be in the way back, but I still wanted it along for the ride.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

Stress out about what I've just written. Other than that, I do quite like the email, blogs, yoga, going to dinner, movies and plays. I have a wonderful group of friends in NYC, so seeing them takes up a good amount of non-writing time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Lauren Weisberger, Everyone Worth Knowing

The author of the best selling novel, The Devil Wears Prada has written a new book, Everyone Worth Knowing. Lauren Weisberger takes us behind the velvet ropes of the exclusive Manhattan nightclubs and parties attended by the infamous and popular A-listers where all kinds of tawdry and ribald behavior occurs. Imagine Paris and Lindsay dancing on the bar top sans underwear while Kate Moss huddles in a cornor snorting something and Colin Farrell gets naked in the alley with a supermodel. All right, none of that exactly happens in the book but think along those lines.

Lauren was kind enough to answer my questions and I believe she's going to invite me onto the set of The Devil Wears Prada so I can meet Anne Hathaway. And then we will be best friends forever and go shopping and gossip about Anna Wintour, not my bulldog, the other Anna.

I want to let you know I thought the book was really funny. I especially enjoyed all the references to the 1980's. With that being said, how much of an impact did your childhood have on your writing today?

Thank you! First of all, you should know that I'm going to print this email and post it on the bulletin board above my computer. Hearing that someone thinks the book is funny is the best compliment ever. But as far as my childhood, I think it definitely impacts my writing. My parents are both really witty with senses of humor that skew toward the darker side, so it was always an effort just trying to get attention at the dinner table. And the eighties? Well, there just CAN'T be better decade for childhood. Who needs the family values of the 50's, the social consciousness of the 60's, or the political awareness of the 70's when you have The Breakfast Club and hair bands? I mean, really!

Did the huge success of The Devil Wears Prada make you more or less secure when Everyone Worth Knowing was being written? I mean, you cannot just sit back and skate on the achievement of a previous best seller. It could be a lot of pressure.

Well, you can sure TRY to sit back and skate (I definitely tried this), but it's not always going to work. In some areas it was easier to write because I knew what to expect. But most of the time, the pressure got to me. Every word that was written about Prada--positive or negative--reverberated in my head and made it really hard to write sometimes. But my editor (who just so happens to be the best editor on earth) talked me down from the ledge. And now I'm not reading reviews at all, which will hopefully make it easier the third time around....

If you could choose actors to portray Bette, Sammy, Philip and Penelope, who would you cast? And would you give a non-speaking role to Paris Hilton because she is such an "it" girl right now? You could use her for all the club scenes. She's like a permanent fixture, her or the Olsen girls.

Hmm, let's see. I haven't actually thought about this yet, but if you're FORCING me to pick fabulous people, I'd have to go with:

1. Annie Hathaway for Bette. I've been watching her week after week on the set of TDWP and she's amazing. She can do innocent/naive and sexy/sophisticated in a single scene. I'm a huge fan.

2. Jake Gyllenhaal as Sammy. Aside from the obvious (he's hot), I think he personifies that strong, silent type. That, and it'd guarantee I'd meet him.

3. Jude Law for Philip. He's exactly the persona I envisioned when I wrote that character--roguish, gorgeous, and solid with the British accent. And let's be honest: he's got the bad boy thing down perfectly.

4. Katie Holmes for Penelope. Putting aside all the TomKat, Scientology, pregnancy weirdness aside, I think she's really talented.

Free association. What do you think of when I mention:

(Donald Trump) The Apprentice: So over.
Britney Spears: Those highly disturbing pictures from US Weekly that showed her barefoot in numerous gas station bathrooms. Those stayed with me....
Howard Stern: Don't mind him, loathe sidekick Robin
Colonics: Yuck. That falls under the "bodily function" category which is something no girl needs to be discussing, ever.
Starbucks: I bitch and bitch how I hate their coffee and I buy one every single day.
The Nanny Diaries: One of the funniest opening chapters I've ever read.
Ear Candling: What? What is this? I'm looking it up right now....

Do you think you could ever write about a farmer in the Midwest or will you always write what you know: fashion, New York, the world of the upper class society, Conde Nast? PS I had a job interview at Conde Nast once. It was horrible.

I admit I don't know much about farming, but I haven't always lived in New York. I grew up in Scranton and Allentown, PA, and had a childhood VERY different from all the New York stuff I write about now. I definitely hope to go back to that in my writing at some point. And as far as your CNP interview...hey, you said it, not me!

Did you really say the following about PR girl, Lizzie Grubman, "she has a face like a crocodile handbag." If you are so sarcastic, we could be great friends.

Ok, I admit it: a friend of mine said that EXACT line and I ripped it off without crediting him. I think I laughed for two straight days over that one. I've never met Lizzie and don't know anything about her, but there's no denying it's a funny description.

Tell me about being in Playboy...

Hah! You make it sound like I was IN Playboy. I wrote an article for their 50th Anniversary issue, and it was such an honor to be included with all those super accomplished writers. It was about sex in the workplace, which in hindsight is ironic: I've only ever worked with women and gay men and as such have ZERO firsthand experience with the topic. But my real standout memory of being in Playboy was the photo shoot. The make-up artist told me he was delighted that for once he didn't have to do full-body make-up and the photographer actually said--and I quote--to "look directly at the camera and twinkle for me." I still haven't figured out what that means, but I'm guessing he did a lot of work with the Playmates.

I liked your essay in American Girls about the Town. I'd love to see you write a full length book from that vignette. Have you considered it?

YES! If you'll read it, I'll write it.

What's in your make-up bag? What is the color of the lipstick you are wearing on the back cover photo for the book? I want it.

Thanks, I LOVE that one. Clinique in Mystique. Sounds random but is actually amazing--I use it as blush, too. I go through two a month.

Do you wear Prada?

I own not one single item save a wallet that was a gift after I published the first book. And I don't really ever carry it because I get a LOT of flak when people see that telltale triangle....(sorry, Mom--it was a nice thought).

Friday, October 07, 2005

Stephanie Lessing Has Issues....

Stephanie Lessing's book, She's Got Issues takes a look into the world of magazines and shoes, my favorite combination! Chloe Rose is a sweet, innocent and very naive, rather "out there" character who gains a job at Issues magazine and hopes someday she will be Shoe Editor- is there ever such a thing? And if so, I'd like that position! But only if I can be paid in free Jimmy Choos.

Stephanie's great sense of humor comes through in her writing and She's Got Issues is a quick, fun read. You will especially enjoy reading about Ruth, Chloes bunion- riddled boss who wears horrible shoes.

Chloe reminds me of Amelia Bedelia: she is very scatter-brained and naïve, but sweet. How would you describe her? And how did you come up with such a character as opposed to creating a street smart character?

I guess you could say Chloe has always existed in my sub-conscious. I just finally broke down and gave her a voice. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea that innocence is more powerful than ambition. I wanted Chloe to be void of any sort of agenda. I wanted her to be pure.

And Ruth, oye! Where did you ever come up with a character like her?

Life is filled with Ruths but this particular one got the worst possible characteristics from all of them. I think I sort of imagined her as a modern day Bette Davis from “Whatever Happened To Baby Jane” and the rest happened on its own. I wanted to give Chloe the most gruesome boss imaginable and then watch her work her magic.

Tell me about your favorite shoes. And who are your favorite designers? How many pairs of shoes do you have? I just don't think a girl can have too many shoes, boots, sandals…

I’m not really a shoe fanatic in the way Chloe is but I am a sucker for Christian Louboutin. I don’t really have that many shoes but I do treasure the ones I have, whether I can walk in them or not.

I read that you used to work for Mademoiselle magazine. What ever happened to Mademoiselle? I used to read it all the time and then suddenly- no more!

If a magazine doesn’t produce, the publisher can’t afford to keep it going so Mademoiselle went the way of many other great magazines. I loved Mademoiselle. It was originally a literary magazine for career-oriented young women but as the years went by it became more about fashion and beauty. I guess, in the end, it couldn’t compete with Glamour or Cosmo because let’s face it, sex sells and Mademoiselle never went that route.

I have always dreamed of going to Paris. You lived there. Tell me about your favorite places in that city and what it was like to be young and in college and in Paris? Did you smoke cigarettes all day and drink coffee and make out with cute French boys?

Nope, nope and nope. I don’t drink coffee. I’m a tea drinker. I don’t smoke and I had a boyfriend waiting for me at home. Suffice to say, I wasn’t exactly a girl gone wild, but I did manage to meet a ton of cool people who influenced me for the rest of my life. I was so sheltered before I went abroad. I became so enchanted with the French way of life. The way they dressed, the food, the art, the language and just the way they took everything in stride. I wanted to live there forever.

Except for that whole boyfriend thing which ended up becoming a husband thing. So I’m glad I came home. But I loved hanging out in cafes listening to the conversations around me and letting my mind wander. I guess, on some level, I imagined myself becoming a writer some day while sitting there and daydreaming.

What kinds of books and magazines to you like to read?

Anything and everything. From one extreme to another. Let me read to you what’s on my shelf right next to my computer: The Other Boleyn Girl, The Girl with the Pearl Earring, Indecision, The Mermaid Chair, Everything She Thought She Wanted, Dry, Naked, Good In Bed, Watermelon and Me Talk Pretty One Day. There’s a pile of books in every corner of my house. But David Sedaris is my favorite. I read all types of magazines too. I just discovered Believer but right next to it is Vogue and Vitals. I love Vitals. I also read a lot of comic books because I have a twelve-year-old son.

Who are your favorite fashion designers?

I guess I go to polar extremes in this area too. My favorites are Dries Van Noten and Ralph Lauren. I have sort of a split personality when it comes to clothes. I’ve got one foot uptown and one downtown.

If you weren't a writer, what else would you be doing?

I’d love to be a painter but unfortunately I can’t produce anything on paper that resembles what I see in my mind. If I couldn’t write, I’d probably write anyway.

And what happens to Chloe in the next novel?

The next novel, “Miss Understanding” is written in Zoe’s voice but Chloe managed to get herself a huge role in this novel too. I can’t tell you what happens to her but this time she’s got a whole new crop of issues!