Katelyn: I heard your inspiration for the book came partly from your experience in Boston's Garment District. Can you tell us about some of your experiences there that led to the creation of Veronica and the consignment shop?
Erica: Sure! I originally went there to consign some clothes, and back then you were sent up the back staircase to the 3rd floor, just like Veronica is in the book. When I went upstairs and saw this world that existed “backstage,” I knew I wanted to set a story there. So I started spending more and more time at the store, researching the book, discovering slang I could use, and developing characters. The store management and employees were very supportive of the project (the book is now for sale there!), which helped a lot since I did more than my fair share of loitering. Although, to be fair, I also bought a lot of clothing during my research visits.
Katelyn: I'm sure you're having a blast with your novel's debut, what's been the most fun or interesting part about the process so far?
Erica: It has been great to see how the book speaks to different people. I’ve been thrilled to hear from teens that they love it, and I’ve been flattered to hear from adults that the book takes them back to their teen years. I also love hearing that the book has a good stance on bullying and on body image issues. I didn’t set out to write a “message” book, but it is always nice when people find positive things to take away from a book.
Katelyn: If you were describing Vintage Veronica in three words, what would they be?
Erica: Vintage Clothing Paradise! Sarcastic Fat Girl! Manipulative Older Girls! Following The Nail! Lizard Boy’s… Cute? Who To Trust? Follow Your Heart. Okay, that’s a series of three word sentences… pick your favorite.
Katelyn: Out of all the characters we're introduced to in Vintage Veronica it's hard for me to pick a favorite, but I think one of the most entertaining by far had to be Bill, how did you come up with him...and of course his rules?
Erica: I love Bill, too! He has been with the story from the start, because I felt like there needed to be an elder statesman of sorts, to give Veronica guidance when she doesn’t know where to turn. But I also wanted him to be a little unreliable so Veronica had to actually rely on herself, too. I love his sense of humor, though, and his desire to see the good in people. His rules came sort of organically through his voice… as scattered as he can be, he has invented a road map and he feels close enough to Veronica to let her in. And even though at times she makes fun of him and discounts his advice, I think Veronica actually comes to appreciate Bill.
Katelyn: Favorite book/author of yours?
Erica: So many favorites… one of the classic YA books that influenced Vintage Veronica was definitely Paul Zindel’s The Pigman. The relationship between John and Lorraine, which is this sort of tender and honest relationship in the midst of a big pile of lies, is so well crafted.
Katelyn: And finally....do you have any other novels in the works at the moment, want to give us any hints about them?
Erica: I am putting the finishing touches on a middle grade novel titled When Life Gives You O.J. It is about a girl named Zelda, her extremely eccentric grandfather, and their ill-advised plan to convince her parents to get a dog. It is my most autobiographical book so far, and I’m really, really excited about it. It comes out next summer from Knopf.
Thanks so much for having me! I’d love to visit again!
Thank you so much Erica for stopping by and we can't wait for the next book to hit the shelves. If you guys haven't had the chance to read Vintage Veronica, it's a must, you can read my review here.
Veronica Walsh is 15, fashion-minded, fat, and friendless. Her summer job in the Consignment Corner section (Employees Only!) of a vintage clothing store is a dream come true. There Veronica can spend her days separating the one-of-a-kind gem garments from the Dollar-a-Pound duds, without having to deal with people. But when two outrageous yet charismatic salesgirls befriend her and urge her to spy on and follow the mysterious and awkward stock boy Veronica has nicknamed the Nail, Veronica’s summer takes a turn for the weird. Suddenly, what began as a prank turns into something else entirely. Which means Veronica may have to come out of hiding and follow something even riskier for the first time: her heart.
I'm super excited to tell you guys that Erica has offered up a signed book for one lucky winner, how cool is that? The contest is open to U.S. residents only and will end on June 8, 2010. All you have to do is fill out the form below, good luck and enjoy!