Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cafe Chit Chat: Micol Ostow

Today, TEBC is hosting an author interview with Micol Ostow, the author of the GoldenGirls series. [Includes GoldenGirl (Click for review HERE) and Fashionista (Came out yesterday-Click for review HERE)]



Wdebo: Can you give us a brief overview of Fashionista?

Micol Ostow: Fashionista is the second book in the Bradford Novels series, and it's told from the point of view of Madison Takahashi, a budding fashion designer and one of Bradford Prep's elite. It picks up just where GoldenGirl left off, which dedicated readers will know is right around the time that Mads may or may not have been mackin' on someone else's boyfriend. Scandal!

W: Hope everyone can read it! Can you describe a typical day?

M: A typical day is very, very boring. No one will ever make a competitive reality show about freelance novelists, that's for sure.

Obviously my schedule is more flexible than people with office jobs, but I do treat my writing as a full-time job. I'm up pretty early and take care of things like emails and errands. I usually go to the gym. The coffee tends to kick in around 11, and between 11 and 6 are when I get most of my writing done.

I do teach a writing workshop once a week, and teaching days are hectic, especially if I'm still finishing up reading the workshop submissions. And any time I have a school visit or anything like that, all bets are off. But those days can also be the most fun.

W: Oh, that would be cool if you could visit my school :) Haha. How do you come up with the ideas for your books?

M: That is a very good question! I wish I had a very good answer for you. The answer, really, is: all over. Sometimes it's a phrase that caught me, and I work backward from there. For instance, the project I'm working on now, tentatively titled Does This Dogsled Make My Butt Look Big, was something that came out of a casual email between myself and my editor. We were talking about the glut of plus-sized modeling stories that were in the media at the time, and I said it would be funny to write a book called Does This Runway Make My Butt Look Big...and things evolved from there.

Other stories, like 30 Guys In 30 Days, came from conversations friends and I actually had. I had a friend just out of college who had broken up with a long term boyfriend who had challenged herself to talk to at least one new guy a day, just to get her dating skills back up and running. I don't even know if she really went through with it, but it was a great idea for a book. Or so I thought.

So Punk Rock is very heavily based on my own experiences in Jewish day school (and my brother's experience in a band), and Gettin' Lucky was a blatant attempt to cash in on the poker craze. Popular Vote came about because my editor at Scholastic thought it would be fun to publish some chick lit to tie into election fever.

So really, all over. Like I say.

W: Wow, it's soo cool to learn more about where ideas come from. Are any of your characters based on someone you know?

M: Yes and no. It's kind of impossible to write a character who doesn't have SOME of one's own characteristics, I think. For instance, Emily from Emily Goldberg Learns to Salsa grapples with meeting her Latino family for the first time, which is something I've experienced first-hand. But the fun thing about fiction is that you get to take "true" stories and make them better by making stuff up! I can say with certainty that despite certain similarities, Emily is definitely not me.

W: So true, I like adding some "true" things into the stuff that I write. What is your favorite thing to do (apart from writing)?

M: Reading. Followed closely by relaxing, spending time with my friends, and playing with my dog. I'm pretty low-key.

W: Yeah for dogs!!! I love playing with my dog too! What's your favorite color?

M: I seem to own and wear a lot of blues and purples, so do with that information what you will.

W: Bahaha I wear a lot of blue too! If you were stranded on an island and could only bring five things what would they be?

1. sunscreen
2. books
3. dvds/something to watch them on
4. my yoga mat
5. my boyfriend and dog

Okay, I know that's technically more than five things. Sorry!

W: Haha it's ok, and I would totally bring my dog too. Who are some authors you look up to?

M: So many! I've had the great opportunity to work with and meet many writers through my line of work (writing/editing/teaching). They've all been incredibly supportive and I've learned something from all of them.

Just a few off the top of my head:

AIMEE FRIEDMAN: is an amazing editor who still finds time to write breathtaking stories. Her work gets better and better.

NOVA REN SUMA: has been writing for over a decade but is new to the YA scene and one to watch. She has great insights and is fantastic with pep talks.

NATALIE STANDIFORD: can flip from commercial fluff to serious fiction on a dime. I'm so envious.

LOUISE HAWES: was my adviser during my last semester at grad school and her guidance truly altered the course of my writing career. I'm in tremendous debt to her.

People I don't know whose writing blows me away: Ellen Hopkins, MT Anderson, Gabrielle Zevin.

I'm leaving out a million zillion billion people here.

W: I really need to read some of Aimee's books. Do you have a new project you are working on? And if so, can you tell us a bit about it?

M: The above-mentioned Dogsled, which is about a wallflower type who moves from Miami to Alaska with her celebrity-shrink father and retired telenovela-star mother, embarks on a GPS-driven scavenger hunt across the tundra, and in the process learns to incorporate a bit more color into her waiting-in-the-wings lifestyle.

W: Sounds exciting can't wait for it! Do you have any pets? And so, what kind do you have?

M: Miss Bridget Jones Ostow, aka the cutest French Bulldog in the whole wide world. You can read more about her on my website.

W: Aw :) What is your favorite book of the moment?

M: Currently reading Clay by David Almond, and loving it. Just finished The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and loved that, too. I'm a big reader.

W: I really need to read Jenny's book! Do you enjoy watching movies if so, do you have a movie you absolutely cannot stop watching?

M: I love movies--probably why I'm marrying a film producer! ( Favorites include: Heathers, Clueless, Clockwork Orange, The Shining, Shaun of the Dead. I think that probably tells you all you need to know about my personality.

W: Cool! Finally, do you have anything else that you would like to say?

M: Thanks for having me, and check out So Punk Rock, available now, and Fashionista, coming 8/25 [Wdebo's Note: This interview was given before today, so Fashionista has already come out yesterday] ! And visit me at!

W: Thanks for letting me interview you!!


Remember to comment here where you can get TWO extra entrees into the contest HERE, where you have to chance to win a copy of GoldenGirl, Fashionista, or So Punk Rock.

Wdebo :)


  1. Okay - love the title "Does this Dogsled Make my Butt Look Big". I will for sure check that out when it's released! Great interview!

    melacan at hotmail dot com

  2. Pam--I love that title, too, but it's probably not going to be the final title of the book. Right now we're working with LIES MY CELLPHONE TOLD ME. Stay tuned for final confirmation. And thanks for reading!

  3. Nice interview. I am a fan of all the movies Micol listed as well.

  4. Does This Dogsled Make My Butt Look Big sounds really interesting! It's great how Micol writes so many different kinds of books instead of sticking to one type.


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