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Interview: Micol Ostow

September 30th, 2006 (11:47 am)
hopeful

Current Mood: hopeful
Current Song: She Works Hard for the Money by Donna Summer

You could say that Micol Ostow and I go way back - back to the days (and nights) when a certain Slayer ruled the airwaves. We knew each other by association; mutual friends gave us one or two degrees of separation, but we never met in person or worked together directly.

Now Micol is an established author in her own right, and I'm pleased as peaches for her. Our paths crossed again recently, and she allowed me to interview her as part of the Simon Pulse blitz.

Did you write 30 GUYS IN 30 DAYS before or after you landed the book deal? Did the publisher approach you to be a part of this line?

I wrote the book after we made the deal -- since I work full-time, I don't have enough hours in my day to write a manuscript on spec! I was in the unique position of having worked directly with the original editor of the RoCom line, so when I had my idea, I took it straight to the source. Many, many, many outlines (and one new editor) later, I was ready to start writing.

Did you title your book before, after, or while writing it?

The title is always the last thing I do, since I'm always hoping inspiration will hit at the eleventh hour and I will come up with something extra-amazing. In this case, 30 GUYS was the result of an extensive brainstorming session with my editor. I think I may have been the one to come up with the title, but she was the one who decreed it the winner.

You've written for a wide variety of book series and licenses: everything from Angel and Buffy the Vampire Slayer to Fearless and Fearless FBI to Bratz and Trollz. Which of these projects were the most creatively fulfilling? The most challenging?

I think most writers would agree that writing our own original fiction tends to be the most challenging and also the most fulfilling, but that being said, it's certainly a worthwhile exercise to rein ones writing in so that it corresponds to a series style. Fearless was one of my first jobs, ever, so I remember being extremely daunted by the prospect of writing an entire novel from start to finish. Also there's that whole "Alias" aspect to the plot that was a little bit unfamiliar to me. So the fight scenes and the espionage were also tricky.

EMILY GOLDBERG LEARNS TO SALSA, your first hardcover novel, hits the shelves at the beginning of November. Congratulations! On the cover of novel, Emily is reading a book and carrying a suitcase. What is she reading, and where is she going?

Emily is on the way to visit her mother's family -- that is, her Puerto Rican relatives -- for the first time in her life. Her maternal grandmother has just died and she's pretty overwhelmed at the idea of embracing an entire culture with which she hasn't really associated. Her brother, a disaffected hipster, and a slightly sulky young lad, sneaks a copy of Siddhartha into her suitcase, which Emily only reads when she feels especially homesick.

You have another Simon Pulse romantic comedy on the way - GETTIN' LUCKY, an April 2007 release. No doubt that this and other titles in the line may raise the eyebrows of a few parents, though readers know the imprint is much tamer than such titles might make it seem. Thoughts?

Yes, I said the same thing to my editor when she suggested the title to me. But of course it's a play on the whole “gambling” theme, as the story takes place in Las Vegas. Cass Parker is a very lucky (good-looking, smart, popular) teenager who discovers, to her horror, that her boyfriend is cheating on her -- with her best friend! She ditches them both and takes up weekly poker nights with a new crowd (don't worry, the bets are capped so no one loses too much) -- until her ex decides to try and get in on the action! The title is very wink-wink, as those who are familiar with the series will know.

What are your favorite romantic comedies?

The very best of all RoCom is, in my opinion, the original Bridget Jones' Diary (book, not the movie, no offense to Renee). And I love the movie "Clueless."

What are your top ten books of all time?

Oh, gosh. I hate to be pinned down. It changes all the time, but here's my best guess:

ADULT: The Poisonwood Bible, Barbara Kingsolver
Stephen King's Different Seasons
Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding
The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood
Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood

YA/Middle Grade: Speak, Laurie Halse Anderson
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl
Feed, MT Anderson
The Wizard of Oz, Frank L Baum
A Little Princess, Francis Hodgson Burnett

Click over to Micol's official website and blog. Pick up EMILY GOLDBERG LEARNS TO SALSA at your favorite local bookstore or library.