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!


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