Last week, I reviewed Meredith Zeitlin's debut novel Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters - now I have a review with the author herself!
Interview with (Debut) Author Meredith Zeitlin:
Kelsey, Jojo, Cass, and Em are a great group of friends! Each of them has their own personality, which of them were you most like in high school? Oh, I'm really glad you thought so; making each girl an individual was very important to me, and something i worked hard on. I'm most like Kelsey in general - then and now. But I also think that friends help shape each other, and sometimes really close friends blend into each other a little bit. So in that way, there are parts of each of the other girls (some good, some bad) that came from me, too.
You're obviously not a giant fan of Loehmann's - or your character is not - where did you high school wardrobe come from? Where did you want it to come from if that was somewhere different?
Actually, I AM a giant fan of Loehmann's - now. For one thing, they've greatly updated their wares (though there are definitely some scary items lurking in there - and I still hate the group dressing room of horrors!), and as a person who has to pay for her own clothes, I see the appeal of designer discounts. But as a kid? Getting dragged to the strip of Route 10 (NJ) that featured Loehmann's and Marshall's was my nightmare. My sister and I would act like monsters in the aisles until my mother threatened to smother us with giant stretchy sweaters. I wanted to shop at these little boutiques that sold $90 jeans (verrrry expensive at the time) called Farlow's or Farlo's which had a picture of a Can-Can dancer on the back pocket, and shirts from Free People. When grunge was the thing, all I wanted to wear were giant jeans I stole from my guy friends and my dad's old flannel shirts over "Coed Naked" Tshirts. My mother begged me to let her take me to the mall and buy anything I wanted from The Gap. We were at an impasse, fashion-wise, til I was in my 20s. Now we're both pretty reasonable on the subject - though she hates my hair. What can ya do, right?
Freshman Year and Other Unnatural Disasters plays out like one of the best last 90s/early 00s teen movies, do you have a favorite teen flick from that time?
Thank you!! Oh, that's a tough one... Clueless, of course. And Don't Tell Mom, the Babysitter's Dead. And Heathers (though that's technically the 80s, it has to count b/c it is great AND has Christian Slater in it). And for a later entry, Harold and Kumar Go To White Castle. Hilarious. I could watch that movie all day, and I don't even smoke.
Kelsey has a lot of 'disasters' and some things she wrongly sees as disasters, what was your biggest 'disaster' natural or unnatural of freshman year?
Probably if I had to choose one, it would be the one that got the ball rolling on many of the others. I started at a new school that year and was very nervous, of course. So I went into "I'm so funny and smart!" mode right away. That included amusing my new pals in homeroom by writing limericks about the teachers. (I know - brilliant idea, right?) This was working out great until one of those teachers found a poem that was about her, somehow figured out I had written it, and held a grudge against me - making no secret of this, by the way - for my entire high school career. And the worst part is: she was the English Lit teacher, and as brilliant as she was mean. Sigh.
Is there a 2012 YA book that you're super excited for?
Besides mine? ;) Well, I'm always excited for anything Cassandra Clare, but I'm not sure if she has a 2012 release... there are lots of YA books on my TBR list, including The Fault In Our Stars and There Is No Dog (I know, that's 2011 - I'm very behind!) And I'm always looking for suggestions, so feel free to make some if you have any!
Any book news, about anything upcoming or anything at all, really, that you can share?
No especially exciting news, except that I'm hoping to do some readings for this book and then get back to work on my next project (which is another YA book set in the same world as Kelsey's, though not a sequel). I also wrote a children's book and a horror screenplay (something a bit different!) that I'm hoping to find a home for. I'm keep you posted, I promise!
Thank you, Meredith!!
Find out more about Meredith and Freshman Year, along with Kelsey Finkelstein, its main character:
@zeitlingeist on Twitter
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