Feb 28, 2012

Author Q&A with Allison Rushby!

Posted by Emily at Tuesday, February 28, 2012
I really enjoyed Miss Rushby's YA novel, Shooting Stars, which is out today, you can read my review HERE and order your own copy of this amazing book HERE.
Anyways, Miss Rushby answered a few questions, and since it's the release of Shooting Stars, I thought today was a lovely day to put them on the blog. (:
Here they are!:

 Was there something in particular that inspired you to write this book?

The initial inspiration was reading an article about a real-life sixteen-year-old paparazzo. I found my eyes boggling as I read about how he got around LA either on his bicycle, or his dad drove him late at night. I couldn't imagine what this part-time job must be like (as I guessed it had to be extremely cut-throat, especially compared to working at McDonald's!), so I decided to imagine away and came up with Jo. I had an absolute ball researching this book, including reading trashy magazines and a lot of books written by, and about, the paparazzi (fellow Aussie Darryn Lyons's Mr Paparazzi is a fabulous one if you're looking). The things they had to say about celebrity – about the dark side of celebrity and fame – were truly revealing.

The plot of Shooting Stars revolves around the career of Josephine Foster, a young photographer. Did you have an interest in photography before writing Shooting Stars?

I wasn't interested in photography so much as fame. As a writer, I've been interested in fame as a concept for keeping two romantic interests apart for some time (can you guess one of my favourite films is Notting Hill?!). After reading an article about a young paparazzo, I then did quite a bit of research into how the paparazzi operate (in LA, in particular) and delved into their thoughts on fame and how it operates in Hollywood. It was amazingly fascinating stuff. It's all quite parasitic -- the stars can't maintain their stardom without the paparazzi and the paparazzi have no work without the stars.

Have you ever seen the paparazzi in action?

I have! In London, Sydney and NYC. I've only ever once seen the person they were trying to shoot, however. That was in NYC and it was Jim Parsons (Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory). These days, out in the Cambridgeshire countryside, I see more trainspotters with cameras than paparazzi, I'm afraid!

Do you have any special talents (tying cherry stalks with your tongue etc.?!).

I think mine would have to be my secret bargain hunting habit. I am a slave to eBay and Gumtree. I love a bargain and am good at selling, too. It's the Taurean in me (I like to blame it on this or I just sound cheap!). I love giving things away on Freecycle too. I am crazy about de-cluttering.

What sort of books do you like to read?

Anything and everything! At the moment, I'm reading a lot of lovely fiction and non-fiction set in the 1920s, which has been great in helping to shape the dialogue in the historical e-serial I'm writing. A YA book I've read recently that I just adored was Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss and I have Lola and the Boy Next Door all ready and waiting for me on my Kindle. I'm really looking forward to getting to it!

Do you have any pets?

I have a gorgeous Devon Rex cat, Violet, who is currently living with my parents in Australia while we're in the UK. I miss her sitting on my shoulders and keeping me warm while I'm writing! Devon Rex cats are very odd – rather like monkeys. They like to be up high, on top of bookcases (and shoulders!). After you've had a Devon Rex, you'll never go back to a normal cat! At one point we had three of them. Trust me, that's a lot of Devon Rex.

This is your debut US YA release, but not your first release. Has the publishing process been different in the US, compared to Australia, or is it pretty much the same?

I think Shooting Stars is my eleventh published book (I'm starting to get confused now!), but it is my first YA release in the US (I've had adult women's fiction out in the US before, however). The publishing process has been reasonably similar, though it's been nice to have an editor in-house editing my manuscript, rather than a freelancer. In Australia, the in-house editor usually co-ordinates the publishing process, using a freelance editor to edit the actual manuscript. It was nice to get to know my US editor and have her actually edit the manuscript as well. It was a little more personal!

Why did you decide to write YA?

I actually started out writing women's fiction, published four books in that genre, and then realized that my voice was slightly more suited to YA. I really love the immediacy of YA and the fact that characters tend to act on their true emotions, rather than already being weighed down by years and years of emotional baggage!

Do you have a favorite writing quote?

I really love this quote from Harlan Ellison. I'm often asked where I get my ideas from, or people will tell me it must be amazing having such a creative job. When they do, I'm always reminded of this:

People on the outside think there's something magical about writing, that you go up in the attic at midnight and cast the bones and come down in the morning with a story, but it isn't like that. You sit in back of the typewriter and you work, and that's all there is to it. – Harlan Ellison

This is so true. In so many ways, writing books is a job like any other. Sometimes it's very, very difficult, sometimes it's easy. You have good days and bad days. And deadlines! I never forget, however, it's a job I'm extremely lucky to have. Not everyone gets to work in their pajamas or use movie ticket stubs as tax deductions.


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