BY MINDI SCOTT
Elise Allen’s Populazzi came out last week, so she stopped by to answer a few Very Important Questions for me. Hooray!
(FYI: I’m noticing that the more of these interviews I get back, the more I see Beatles coming up as the response for the last question. Very interesting!)
At age eight, what did you want to be when you grew up? And at age eighteen? And while you’re at it, what about at age twenty-eight?
Elise Allen: At age 8 I wanted to be a veterinarian… despite the fact that I can’t bear the site of blood and would doubtless pass out if I had to give an animal a shot. Clearly, this career trajectory wouldn’t last.
At age 18 I wanted to be a star of stage and screen… despite the fact that I freeze on camera, and can’t get out of my own head enough to dive into a character on stage. Small problems. The world would undoubtedly love me anyway.
By age 28, I’d found the career I love. I was getting paid to write television, worked in both prime time sitcoms and kids’ shows, and knew there was nothing in the world I’d rather do for a living than write.
Which Breakfast-Club-style label would have best fit your teenage self?
EA: Theatre Geek for sure! My life ebbed and flowed to the rhythms of whatever plays we were doing, or between plays, whatever we were doing in theatre class. (You can tell I’m still a geek about it because I can’t help spelling the word with the “re” at the end.)
Without giving away too much from your newest book, which character or scene from it are you the most pleased to have created, and why?
EA: Robert Schwarner! I love him, and I love him most of all because he was completely unexpected. I’m a plotter, and I had a full outline for Populazzi before I started writing, in which Robert Schwarner did not appear. He appeared briefly in the first draft, a Happy Hopeless in a Beastslayer cloak (Happy Hopeless = lowest rung of the popularity tower, so out of sync with what’s cool that they don’t even realize there is a popularity tower, nor are they aware of their lowly spot on it). Then draft after draft he grew to this bizarrely wise oracle who’s actually far more together than anyone else around him.
Which are your favorite movies to watch again and again?
EA: PeeWee’s Big Adventure, The Muppet Movie (the original), Casablanca, Johnny Dangerously. Not sure Casablanca has ever been listed in that particular company, but there ya go.
And, now, the most important question of all: Beatles or Elvis? Please support your answer. 😉
EA: BEATLES!!! I love me some Elvis, but he didn’t really evolve the way the Beatles did. You more or less get what you get with Elvis, while with the Beatles you can enjoy everything from the joyful simplicity of All My Lovin’ to the lyrical beauty of In My Life to the more complex lyrics and music of Revolution or the stuff on Sgt. Pepper.
My own coolest Beatles (sorta Beatles) moment? I went to see Billy Joel’s Last Play at Shea concert… and he brought out Paul McCartney to play Let It Be. Oh. My. God. Even Billy Joel was geeking out.
Now I think I have to go look up tickets for the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show in Vegas. I’ve been dying to see it and now I’m newly motivated!
Thanks for having me on the blog, Mindi!
WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be? Would you grab it? Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?
Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. One of the Populazzi.
It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.
When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.
The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.
About the author:
After starting her career in television, ELISE ALLEN has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction. She is the co-author of Hilary Duff’s New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets. She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons. Visit her at http://www.eliseallen.com, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.