5 Feb 2014

Chick Lit / YA Author Allison Rushby is here!

I'm delighted to have the author of The Living Blond Trilogy, Allison Rushby, with me today!

Do dreams ever inspire your writing? What did you last dream about?
Hmmm… I don't think so, as the last dream I remember was three huge, multicolored, bouncy balls chasing me down a hill! I do, however, keep a little notebook beside my bed for those 3am wake-up calls where my brain has remembered something that I need to add to the novel I'm currently writing.

When did you first start writing? And when were you first published?
I started writing novels in 1998 (might be giving away my age here…) and had my first novel (the second novel I wrote – the first one is terrible) published in 2000.

What is it about 'chick lit' that appeals to you the most? Do you read other genres?
When I started writing, chick-lit was huger than huge. Bridget Jones's Diary was a huge hit and I was devouring a lot of British chick-lit – from Marian Keyes to Jenny Colgan, Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell. I pretty much adored everything I read and publishers were producing a lot of it, which worked just fine for me! I think what I really loved about it was that a lot of the YA that had been seen as 'worthy' as I went through high school was dark and depressing. It was truly refreshing to be able to read something funny for the sheer joy of it.
I do read other genres. I'm a huge historical fiction fan and now read the kind of YA I like!

Can you tell us a little about your latest book – Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend?

In Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend, we get to meet Nessa – a thirteen-year-old (almost fourteen-year-old!) with quite the vivid imagination. Infatuated with Marilyn Monroe, she has such a vivid imagination that the plots from Marilyn's movies somehow tend to work their way into her life. A lot. This is something that tends to get Nessa into quite a bit of trouble!

What inspired you to write it?
There definitely was! Nessa had a funny start in life as a character. I was house-sitting for a friend, who told me to peep inside her housemate's room one day (she was also away at the time). When I did this, I couldn't believe my eyes. All over the room were huge glamour portraits of the housemate dressed up as Marilyn Monroe. Apparently she had quite the Marilyn obsession, as the portraits demonstrated. I wondered about this for years afterwards – I couldn't stop thinking about how a young person could be so obsessed with Marilyn Monroe, a star long dead. This is how Nessa evolved – I took that character trait to an even younger, stranger place. Imagine a thirteen-year-old with a Marilyn obsession – how strange would that be? What would people make of it? What would her parents do about it if it got out of control? And that was how Nessa came to be. It was interesting to stay with her over three books and watch her grow and her obsession slowly fade, with her eventually handing the torch over to a new Marilyn fan by the end of the third book.

Have you ever spotted anyone reading your books anywhere?
I have! I saw someone in an elevator once holding one of my books. Unfortunately, I was desperately uncool and immediately blurted out, 'That's my book!'. She took this the wrong way and clutched it to her chest, probably thinking I was some crazy person who was going to steal her book from her!

Who designs your covers?
The amazing (and, thank goodness, patient) Rebecca from Berto Designs designed the Living Blond covers for me http://bertodesigns.com.

If your latest book was made into a film, who would you cast?
I'm not sure about Nessa, but I always imagined Holly as Catherine Zeta-Jones.

What's your favourite Chick Lit book that made it to the big screen?
I adored Allison Pearson's I Don't Know How She Does It, which made it to the big screen, but I didn't love the film, unfortunately.

What were the last two books you read?
I've just finished Rainbow Rowell's Eleanor & Park, which I loved (Loved!) and I'm steadily working my way through all of Gail Carriger's books, which are a lot of fun.

Name one female author who you think deserves to be better known.
Jane Fallon. I really adored Getting Rid of Matthew.

Where do you write?
Usually at home. On the couch (yes, probably very bad for my back).

When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? And did you follow the dream?

Embarrassingly, I wanted to be a ballerina with pierced ears. I got the pierced ears.

In the movie of your life, who would play you?
Photo credit: The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas via photopin cc
Probably Toni Collette, as (apparently) I look like her. I have quite seriously had more than one person stop me in the street and ask me if I'm Toni Collette.

Speed Round...
Top drink to make you tipsy? 
French Martini.
Shopaholic or shopadon't? Shopaholic, of course!
Sky high heels or closer to the ground? Flats all the way. But nice Camper flats.
E.L. James or Jilly Cooper? Jilly Cooper.
Cry baby or tough cookie? Tough cookie (but with chocolate chips).
Exotic beach or enchanted forest? Enchanted forest.

Allison Rushby is the Australian author of a whole lot of books. She is crazy about Mini Coopers, Devon Rex cats, Downton Abbey and corn chips. You can often find her procrastinating on Twitter at @Allison_Rushby or on Facebook. That is, when she’s not on eBay, or Etsy, or any other place she can shop in secret while looking like she’s writing…
Twitter: @Allison_Rushby

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