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Bloody Bookaholic's Commandment:

Thou Shall Read Till Thy Eyes Bleed

Friday 20 March 2009

An Authors Whisper

Hello and welcome to another Authors Whisper. Today we got with us Jonathan Bernstein author of the new YA novel Hottie. Jonathan Bernstein is also the author of Knickers In A Twist which is a dictionary of British slang that addresses Cockney rhyming slang, TV catchphrases, pop-culture references, swearing and incomprehensible abuse that I brought with me from my native Scotland. His book was called Pretty In Pink: The Golden Age Of Teen Movies which was an extremely un-intellectual look at the 80s, taking in every genre from slasher to gross-out and paying extended homage to the John Hughes canon. Raised in Scotland, and currently living in Los Angeles.
Now we start the questions...

Why did you decided to write Young Adult?

The best audience. The most voracious readers. The most honest and immediate feedback. Plus teens don't have college tuition fees or car payments or mortgages so they can afford to buy books...

What inspired you to write this book?

Every fermale superhero movie was boring and humorless and miserable. Catwoman was worse than Elektra which was worse than Aeon Flux. I just wanted to take all the stuff you'd expect to see in a superhero story and make it funny.

How much time did it take you to write the book?
About two months. Then there were a couple of rewrites that took about a month each. Then another month of so of edits. Publishing is a slow lumbering beast so it was actually quite a speedy process.

Can you tell us a little about this book?

It's the story of Alison Cole, the most popular and privileged student at Beverly Hills High. Her social standing makes her best friends so insecure and jealous that they persuade her to undergo experimental cosmetic surgery. The operation has side effects: whenever Alison gets mad or excited or angry, flames shoot out of her fingers. She loses her popularity and begins a shunned loner. She attracts the attention of another shunned loner: a comic-book-obsessed geek who sees her superhero potential and helps her evolve into Hottie, LA's most fashion-forward firestarter.

I know some people have described the book as Clueless meets X-Men, but how do you see the book?

That's a pretty accurate description. But it's also about what happens when you lose all the things you take for granted and you find that you're an entirely different person than you thought.

Will there be sequels?

I've just finished the second draft of Hottie 2 which might-- but probably won't-- be subtitled `Burning Ambition'. It'll be out this time next year.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

If you mean the sequel, it's `The Devil Wears Prada' set in a teen magazine. With a real devil.

When writing, what do you do for brainstorming?

See how much better and more popular other writer's books are. Become insanely jealous. Vow to destroy them. Plunge into despair. Switch on daytime TV. Switch off daytime TV. Return to computer. Start new chapter.

What are some of your hobbies?

Movies. Music. And cheeses. I like all sorts of cheeses.

Was writing like your ultimate dream?

It really was. I'm amazed I've been able to make any sort of living at it. But along with YA fiction, I also work in journalism and screenwriting. And if I can do it, anyone can.

If you were to give advice to the young writers of today, what would you say to them?

There's a very, very smart and helpful website called http://queryshark.blogspot.com/. It gives a good indication as to what agents and publishers are looking for and what they will and won't respond to. It also continually hammers home the point that you can have the most boring and cliched story in the world but people will be interested in you have a unique voice and a different take on the subject. The prime example of that is Twilight. If someone had just given you a two sentence description of that book, you might not have been interested. But the way the author dealt with her world sucked you in, bad pun intended.


What are some of your favorite authors?

Richard Price. George Pelecanos. Megan Abbott.. In YA, John Green, Louise Rennison, Scott Westerfeld.

What is your favorite superhero (s)?

Probably Iron Man because the movie was so good. And Rorschach from Watchmen.

Your number 1 book?

"We Need To Talk About Kevin" by Lionel Shriver. Not saying it's the best book ever written but it's the last one i can remember staying with for a long time after I finished it.

And with that we conclude our interview. I hope that u guys like it and go run to buy the book when it comes out! Im in kinda of a hurry right now, because I got to go to the twilight movie thing on borders, so Ill see you guys later!!

For more information about Jonathan or Hottie you could go to his Blog or you could go to his Shelfari Page. Enjoy your night fellas! ^^


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