Friday, December 3, 2010

Interview: Mary Hogan

Mary Hogan is the author of several hilarious and inspiring YA novels, including all four books from the Susanna series (Susanna Sees Stars, Susanna Hits Hollywood, Susanna Covers the Catwalk and Susanna Loves London), Pretty Face, The Serious Kiss and Perfect Girl.

In Susanna Sees Stars, Susanna receives and internship at Scene magazine by sending a locked box with a key. What inspired this idea?

When I was young and impressionable, I met a woman who told me that she got her job in advertising by hollowing out a walnut shell, folding her resume up inside, then sending it to an ad agency with a note that said, "I hear advertising is a tough nut to crack." I never forgot how clever she was, and I wanted Susanna to be clever, too.

Do people like Nell Wickham (Susanna’s evil magazine editor-in-chief boss) really exist?

Don't tell my former bosses, but heck YES!!!

Susanna Covers the Catwalk was set mainly at New York Fashion Week. Did you go there yourself?

My absolute favourite part of writing the Susanna books was the research! I got a press pass to Fashion Week, a private tour of the Oscar Night Theatre (for Susanna Hits Hollywood) and a fabulous adventure in London. Mostly, it was fun to watch the fashion shows through Susanna's eyes....figuring out how to get backstage, etc.

In Susanna Loves London, Susanna travels to London. Have you ever been there and if so, how was your experience?

I love, love, love London...though I am constantly lost when I'm there. The best part of my last trip to London was discovering Top Shop (there's one in NYC now, but it's not nearly as good.) London is like New York City in that you can't appreciate it as much if you live there. Buckingham Palace. Yawn. I was a total tourist, dying to see the Queen and her Corgis. Embarrassing, but true.

What do you find intriguing about the glamorous worlds of celebrity and fashion?

I'm most amazed by how unglamourous those worlds are! Backstage at a fashion show is utter chaos. Models huddling near the doors to smoke. Designers screaming. And, I've seen how lonely it can be to be a celebrity. Nobody really sees you...they see your celebrity. It's like people are blind to the fact that there is a real person in there! Plus, how would you feel if you had to look "perfect" each time you left the house so some awful photo of you doesn't end up online? I'd rather be annonymous in sweat pants.

Throughout the Susanna series, Susanna learns a lot about body image and acceptance of oneself. How do you express these views without sounding too preachy?

With this book, and all my books, I only try to tell the truth. I grew up in L.A. so I know how hard it is to be a size normal in a city of size zeros. My favourite saying is a quote by Oliver Stone: "Be yourself. Everyone else is taken." Susanna has such a wonderful self...I just wanted to make sure she never tried to be anyone else.

Will you be writing any more sequels to Susanna’s adventures?

Susanna Loves London is the final book in this four-book series. I felt sad to see her go...I miss her! But I know she's back in New York taking the city by storm, she's in love, and--most importantly--she's still absolutely Susanna!

Thank you Mary for your time and interesting answers! You can visit Mary's website here for more information on her books.

1 comment:

The Chicken can see you >_>