Alexa Young may not be a fashionista, but she's still fabulous! She's funny, she's got some serious taste in music, and she agreed to party with me. (If that's not enough to name someone a cool cat I don't know what is.) So check out her blog, MySpace, and website. You can also check out the FRENEMIES website. Or you could just read my interview to learn more about the Alexa Young.
FRENEMIES and FAKETASTIC are available now. FRENEMIES became available in Australia yesterday.
1. Your series' titles are portmanteau names, so I must ask: is GLAMNESIA a combination of glamour and amnesia? I picture Dynasty every time I see the title.
Ha. I love that! Joan Collins gets into some awful accident and suddenly forgets about her penchant for large-collared, poofy-sleeved satin gowns—instead wearing polyester tracksuits wherever she goes. :-) It’s a perfect image. Nicely done! To answer your question, though—yes, GLAMNESIA is definitely a combo of glamour and amnesia. But there are a lot of variations on that theme explored in the book itself (does Avalon accuse Halley of forgetting how to dress herself? Is Avalon completely out of touch with what’s TRULY fashion-forward?). Let’s just say the girls go on something of a “Project Runway”-style adventure (at L.A. Fashion Week!) and a lot of people seem to be suffering from “glamnesia” on one level or another.
2. Halley and Avalon, the protags of FRENEMIES, are fashion-obsessed. How much did you know about fashion before you began writing the series? Are you a shoe or a purse girl?
My protagonists would be horrified at my lack of fashion sense. I mean, I know a bit about clothes and I’ve had my own label fixations and whatnot through the years, but I am definitely NOT a fashion aficionado by any stretch of the imagination. And I realize this goes against every female cliché ever (which I guess is kind of cool), but I can’t say I’m a shoe OR a purse girl. I generally wear flip-flops. I have one pair of knee-high boots that look semi-stylish. I used to wear three-inch heels but now I can’t stand the pain. To be tragically honest, I generally try to wear shoes as infrequently as possible. As for purses, I do love a nice bag, but most of the ones I like are way out of my price-range. So I don’t really go there. I mean, I used to carry tiny little coin-purses that I made myself (!) and, after having a kid, I pretty much started carrying around giant diaper bags as purses. I did have one gorgeous bag my husband bought me for my birthday one year—a black leather HYPE hobo with lime-green lining. But I used and abused it so much it recently fell apart, and I replaced it with a cheap nylon bag. Don’t get me wrong…I would love to have a zillion different purses and pairs of shoes, but seriously? The sticker shock kills it every time.
3. How do you recognize a frenemy in your own life? Do you end the relationship or keep them close for Machiavellian purposes?
Oh, there are so many different kinds of frenemies. There are the friends who never seem to be there when you need them—even though you’re there whenever they need you. There are the friends who’ve been in your life forever, but then suddenly you head down different paths and wonder if you ever really had anything in common. There are the friends who get upset/bitter/jealous whenever something good happens to you. Personally, I have let friendships fade away, and I’ve attempted to break up with one or two friends through the years. At this point in my life, I don’t have the time or energy to FAKE a friendship. All of that said, I do find that most relationships can be salvaged and are worth salvaging—not for Machiavellian purposes but simply because I think it’s a lot more productive to talk things through, eliminate the negative energy, and try to at least find some sort of way to make things work/agree to disagree and move on. Does that make any sense? Could I be more convoluted?!?
4. In addition to writing the Frenemies series you're a freelance writer. What's the oddest story you've reported?
Well, I’m more of a magazine feature writer—so it’s not like I cover breaking news or anything like that. But I have interviewed a few odd people, especially for the music magazine HITS. The two strangest, I think, would be Chris Isaak (who, frankly, can be as crazy as he wants and I’ll still love him) and the Dandy Warhols (who can be as crazy as they want and I’ll still love their music…but they really are just beyond weird).
5. Which cover do you like better, FRENEMIES or FAKETASTIC? Does GLAMNESIA blow both away?
I hated them both at first. But now? I like the French cover for FRENEMIES best…and the U.S. cover for FAKETASTIC has grown on me (and the FRENEMIES cover has too…I guess!). I have no idea what the GLAMNESIA cover will look like (the manuscript is still being edited…the art comes much later!). The Australian cover for FRENEMIES is pretty cool too. My husband said it looked like a CREEM magazine cover. I think he meant that in a good way. :-)
[Ed: You can see the French and Australian covers on Alexa's website.]
6. Who is your favorite minor character?
I love Tyler Brandon—Halley’s older brother. He’s just completely dork-a-licious. I love everything about him. To me, he’s kind of like Seth Cohen from “The O.C.” TV series, but even more endearing and hilarious (if that’s possible). I LOVE HIM!
7. What do you enjoy doing beside writing? What is one of your favorite past jobs?
I’ve recently become obsessed with, um, exercise. Crazy, right? (Well, if you knew me you’d know it was crazy.) But I honestly love it. I go to the gym almost every morning (I’m actually annoying myself right now, but I’m going to continue). I love kickboxing, Spinning, step aerobics…all of it. It’s really fun and it feels SO GOOD to do something for myself that way. I also love doing Wii Fit—and really, anything on the Wii. I love Guitar Hero. I love music (listening to it). I love wine. (A little too much.) As for one of my favorite past jobs, I just did a whole interview with Tera Lynn Childs about that (I was the first author profiled in a feature she calls “Prologues”). You should check it out here.
8. If you were a teenager again, which part would you like least? Most?
One word: BOYS. Pure torture. Having a crush on a guy and hoping and praying he’ll just look at you…but also dreading him looking at you, especially on that day when you’re feeling kind of fat or have the world’s most grotesque zit? Honestly. Dealing with guys and the prospect of a relationship as a teen was just brutal. I didn’t quite get the hang of it until I moved to L.A. after graduating…from COLLEGE (!). That’s when I realized how much power I actually had, and how unworthy most guys were of me (even when my butt looked big—to me—or I had acne that apparently only I could see). HA! And I hate to say this, but I’m having a really tough time thinking of something I would like most about being a teenager. I honestly think it’s such a challenging time—emotionally, physically, academically. I think teens are under even more pressure today. I really don’t envy them at all. The world just feels like it’s in chaos and is going to explode at any given moment, doesn’t it? Or am I being completely melodramatic? I know I had fun back then—like, hanging out with my friends at slumber parties, dancing and singing at the top of our lungs to cool new artists like MADONNA. But I was so painfully insecure in my teens, even the good times were sort of tainted with angst. I’m still painfully insecure, but I’m able to keep it in perspective more effectively as an alleged “grownup.”
9. What 2009 book releases are you looking forward to?
Melissa Walker’s LOVESTRUCK SUMMER
Stephanie Kuehnert’s BALLADS OF SUBURBIA
Jennifer Banash’s SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE
Tera Lynn Childs’ GODDESS BOOT CAMP
Bennett Madison’s THE BLONDE OF THE JOKE
Lisa Yee’s ABSOLUTELY MAYBE
And, simply for the laugh factor, Lauren Conrad’s L.A. CANDY ;-)
10. How do you describe the Frenemies series to strangers?
I don’t talk to strangers. Um. That was a bad joke, right? Sorry. I generally tell people it’s about two fashion-obsessed BFFs who reunite after spending a summer apart, only to realize they’re completely different people. Those differences become the basis of all-out catfights, insecurity- and angst-fueled arguments, and potentially the worst eighth grade year of their lives. I also make sure to note that it’s a groundbreaking work of teen fiction—one to rival the classic works of authors like Jane Austen and J.D. Salinger, and the contemporary works of writers such as John Green and Maureen Johnson. (I mean, if they’re strangers who I’ll never see again, I shouldn’t really worry too much about lying through my teeth…right?)
Alexa is offering two copies of FRENEMIES or FAKETASTIC. The winner will get to choose which book he or she prefers. You can find the contest rules here.
I also want to know: have you ever been a frenemy to someone else?