Sweet Sixteener Meg Leder recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Lisa Aldin about her YA contemporary debut novel, ONE OF THE GUYS (February 10, 2015 from Spencer Hill Contemporary).
Lisa Aldin graduated from Purdue University with a B.A. in English Literature. She now lives in Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband and daughter. ONE OF THE GUYS is her debut novel.
Tomboy to the core, Toni Valentine understands guys. She’ll take horror movies, monster hunts and burping contests over manicures. So Toni is horrified when she’s sent to the Winston Academy for Girls, where she has to wear a skirt and learn to be a “lady” while the guys move on without her. Then Toni meets Emma Elizabeth, a girl at school with boy troubles, and she volunteers one of her friends as a pretend date. Word spreads of Toni’s connections with boys, and she discovers that her new wealthy female classmates will pay big money for fake dates. Looking for a way to connect her old best friends with her new life at school, Toni and Emma start up Toni Valentine’s Rent-A-Gent Service. But the business meets a scandal when Toni falls for one of her friends–the same guy who happens to be the most sought-after date. With everything she’s built on the line, Toni has to decide if she wants to save the business and her old life, or let go of being one of the guys for a chance at love.
Meg: Your main character Toni is delightfully smart and independent, as well as ardently un-girly. Where did she come from, i.e. what inspired you to create her?
Lisa: I wanted to write someone I could be friends with, someone I knew I’d be hanging out with in fictional land for a while. Writing is hard. I wrote this book because I wanted to have fun writing. That was my main goal with this manuscript. It was still work, but I enjoyed so much of it. Toni is a big reason for that.
Meg: How did you find your editor, and what did s/he bring to the novel?
Lisa: I submitted the query to the WriteOnCon Forums, where two Spencer Hill Press editorial assistants (at the time) discovered it. I then submitted to my editor who acquired the manuscript! I actually worked with her and the two editors who discovered the query. THEY HELPED SO MUCH!
Meg: When and how did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Lisa: I think it started in high school for me. I took a theater class where we had to write a play. I loved, loved, loved sitting down to work on that. It was the first time I really enjoyed something that could be considered work. After that, I was hooked!
Meg: Imagine your perfect reader. How would you describe that person and what do you hope s/he gains from reading ONE OF THE GUYS?
Lisa: ANYONE! I welcome all readers! But I’d say someone who enjoys a fun read, a bit of silliness, romance, cuteness, would like ONE OF THE GUYS. =)
Lightning Round Questions:
Favorite place to write?
Barnes & Noble Cafe!
The book that made you want to be a writer?
Hmmm. I’m not sure it was one book. Actually, I started writing plays and screenplays first. Just the love of the process and of all stories made me want to be a writer.
Oddest job you ever had?
I was a Kennel Assistant at a vet’s office.
Your first concert?
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK.
Big sister, little sister, in the middle, or one and only?
Favorite way to spend non-writing time?
I love hanging out with my daughter and husband! And reading!
About the Interviewer:
Meg Leder likes to read, edit, buy, write, and talk about books. During the daytime, she’s an executive editor for Penguin Books. During off-hours, she likes to look at street art, throw pots, and hang out with her sweet jerk cat Rigs, named after Friday Night Lights’ Tim Riggins. Her debut Young Adult contemporary novel, MUSEUM OF HEARTBREAK (Simon Pulse, Summer 2016), follows Penelope Marx, a high school girl who, facing the end of her first relationship, builds a museum to try to win back everything she’s lost.