1. Did you always want to become an author?
I began writing when I was in high school (short stories and bad poetry) but it never occurred to me to be an actual author of books. It didn't seem like something a regular person could do. Mostly I wanted to be a dancer, then a teacher, then a doctor, then a choreographer, then a director...and finally, after getting my master's degree in film production, I got serious about writing. First screenplays and then eventually, novels.
2. Who or what was your inspiration for All About Vee?
When I first moved to LA, I worked for a law firm in an area called Century City (it's where scenes from the original "Planet of the Apes" movie were shot!). It was also right near Beverly Hills where there are many literary and talent agencies. One day when I was out walking on my lunch hour, I saw a heavyset young woman standing on a corner waiting to cross the street. I began to wonder why she was in the neighborhood: was she an actress there to meet her agent? On an audition? Or maybe a writer or model? And that's when I started to imagine what it must be like to be a beautiful and talented plus-sized woman in this very superficial city and I came up with Veronica and her friends, the Vees.
3. What about for Love, Meg?
The second job I had in LA was as a standards editor for The WB network in Burbank. I often sat in traffic beneath giant billboards for television shows, including one for "Friends." I loved that show! I was so unhappy sitting in traffic that I'd begin to imagine what it would be like if I didn't have to -what if I were a friend to a celebrity like one of the "Friends" cast members? Maybe I would be in their limo or visiting their home in the Hollywood Hills. Then I started to wonder how on earth that could happen! It certainly couldn't happen for an adult like myself but what if I were a teen and I wrote a fan letter?
4. How does it feel like, knowing your books are on those bookshelves in a bookstore?
I am thrilled whenever I walk into a bookstore or library and see my books! Since I was a kid, I have spent many happy hours surrounded by books. To know that mine are now among them for some other young person is simply amazing to me. I especially love it when my brother or friend snaps photos of the books on stores shelves when they see them and sends them to me!
5. Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Never! Well, practically never. Most of my characters have small quirks or tastes that either come directly from me or people I know. Like the character of Reed in ALL ABOUT VEE. I took the name change idea from a friend of mine who did the same thing but my friend is NOTHING like Reed - she's actually a wonderfully kind and generous person, something Reed isn't!
6. What are your ten, most favorite things?
Right now? LOL! I'll probably change my mind in a minute...
1. Cold watermelon
2. Florence, Italy
3. My 3 nieces
4. Ballet class
5. Southern California summer nights
6. Iced coffee on my mother's back porch
7. Brand new exciting ideas to write
8. Reading a book in my comfy chair
9. A dab of D&G Blue perfume on my wrist
10. An email from a reader
7. What is your typical day?
I usually get up around 7 every day and check emails and read blogs while I'm having coffee. If I'm working on a new book, I'll jump right into that and get as much done as I can before class because I love to write in the mornings (if I could live on 5 hours of sleep, I'd get up at 4 in the morning and start working but alas, I need more than that). Then I'll take a ballet class which gets me focused and also limbers me up for teaching later in the day. After class, it's back to work or errands or scouring the internet for story ideas or research. I teach ballet every afternoon and evening during the week so I won't get back home 'til 9 or 10. When I'm in the middle of a book, my daily writing goal is 2K words.
8. What is your favorite type of drink?
Coffee - iced in the summer with a little vanilla soymilk and during the rest of the year, hot Americano, black, no sugar.
9. Do you have any upcoming books?
I just finished one that I hope will go out to editors very soon (fingers crossed!). It's quite different from my first 2 books: a little darker, a little more thrilling, a little bit of supernaturalish things.
Thanks Leigh!!! You Rock!