Today I’m interviewing Tasha Cotter, author of the NA romance, Red Carpet Day Job! If you haven’t already heard about it (or seen the be-au-ti-ful cover), then you can check it out here:https://iluvhg.wordpress.com/2014/11/14/cover-reveal-tasha-cotters-red-carpet-day-job/
Emily’s Interview with Tasha:
1. What inspired you to write your novel?
It’s hard to say where this book came from! I really like the work of Helen Fielding, Sophie Kinsella, and Julianna Baggott and I’m a sucker for romantic comedies. I suppose I was influenced by those writers, more than anything else. The character of Sophie was the initial spark for the rest of the book. After thinking about her character I began to build up the rest of her world – her somewhat-employed boyfriend, the unlikely romance between her and Nick, and a boss who’s considerate of her, but also very driven to make the agency work. He sees the ambition and potential in Sophie and pushes her to be as good as she can be. Pretty soon other events and characters – like the beautiful young Kate Farris—began to appear. My characters gave me the tension, drama, and conflict I knew I would need if this was going to be a novel. I knew I had something to work with and just sat down and began taking a lot of notes, then I created an outline, and much, much later, the book was finally written.
2. What were the easiest parts to write?
Once I know my characters really well, dialogue comes rather easily. That being said, I have to be able to visualize these people in order to write them. I have to know what their hiding. I have to know their motivations and I have to know their backgrounds, to some degree. I need to know their weaknesses. If I know them well – and I have to know them well—I can channel the dialogue. I won’t say it comes easily, but it’s easier than shaping the plot and making the book come together as a whole.
3. What were the hardest parts to write?
I think the hardest part was striking the right balance between Sophie, Nick, and Scott. Sophie and Scott have this long history – they were college sweethearts who moved to New York together because she got a good job. Scott followed her to New York and started an urban farming operation. They were once in love with each other, but have grown apart over several years. When we first meet them, they’re living together in New York in a cramped apartment, and they’ve become such different people. They’re on two different paths, which Sophie recognizes sooner than Scott does. Nick is like Sophie’s reality check. Nick comes along and represents something very different—he’s a new chapter in her life—but balancing who she was with who she becomes (is becoming) was not easy. I needed to braid the past with the present. I needed to follow her transformation and help her make sense of the present. More than anything, I needed to make it clear her moving on from Scott made sense.
4. What are some of your favourite YA novels?
I’m a big fan of John Green, M.T. Anderson, and Suzanne Collins. I love books that have a strong narrative – I love a good plot. I also love a good love story.
5. I have to ask (it is a dystopia blog): what are some of your favourite dystopian novels (or just one)?
I really loved The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. I also thought M.T. Anderson’s book Feed was terrific. It seemed to illuminate an information-driven future we’re all sort of stumbling toward. I thought the world that M.T. Anderson created was so wonderfully realized.
6. Favourite writing snack?
Usually tea and chocolate are never far from my laptop. J
7. If you could be any character in your novel, who would you like to be?
Good question! I’d have to go with Sophie. Or maybe Kate Farris? I’d choose Sophie because she’s on the way to becoming the person she always wanted to be. And that’s an exciting place to be in life. She’s on the cusp of playing a very important role at the talent agency and she’s finally working with some amazing Hollywood talent (and getting the respect she deserves). Not to mention, she may have finally met a guy who has a job, treats her well, and is not at all bad looking. Why might I choose Kate? She’s that enigmatic “it-girl” that everyone simultaneously loves and hates. She’s also a little spoiled. It’s a good thing she doesn’t have that unflappable ambition and drive to excel that Sophie does – Kate could take over the world, if that were the case!
8. What do you hope readers will learn from/ take away from your novel?
I hope this is a good story – I hope it’s a fun story. Red Carpet Day Job is sort of a modern day Cinderella story: Sophie is undergoing a transformation in this book and her life becomes a little brighter by the end of the book. Her career starts making more sense. Her life in New York starts to come together in ways she hadn’t planned, and she has to balance her career with Nick Jackson and what he’s about. I love writing New Adult because you get to follow characters through some of the most interesting and important decisions of their lives. I hope that readers come away intrigued by the big choice that Sophie has to make. By the way, her story isn’t over yet – I’m already at work on the sequel….
I’m excited for that!!! Thanks for the lovely interview, Tasha!