Interview: Author Mary Hogan Hits Hollywood
By Jillian Bietz
For most teenage girls, knowing which A-list couple is feuding, or who landed on the "worst dressed" list, is as common knowledge as their best friends cell number. And in today's media obsessed culture, peering into the fashionably chaotic lives of Hollywood's rich and famous only starts in one place- the pages of the magazines.
In Susanna Hits Hollywood the second book in a young adult series written by Mary Hogan, protagonist Susanna Barringer is presented with the opportunity of a lifetime when she scores a gig interning as a celebrity reporter for Scene magazine where she'll be reporting about the Academy Awards. But Susanna hasn't attained her perfect Hollywood ending- not yet anyway! Barely into the Kodak Theater, Susanna looses her press pass, resulting in her exile via security from the red carpet. With determination, spirit and one mishap after another, Susanna hatches a plan before she's banished from the world of celebrity forever!
Though she's written a handful of popular teen books, as a former magazine writer, author Mary Hogan knows what it's like to cover the celebrity beat. I had the opportunity to interview Mary. She shares everything from her tips on concealing the identity of her muses when it comes to less-than-kind characters to how an embarrassing moment can unfurl itself into a hit book!
How long have you been writing? What draws you to write young adult literature?
I wrote my first novel in third grade. It was called, "Eggward, the Unwanted Egg" about an egg who rolled away from home. He was scrambled in traffic, fried on the sidewalk, hard-boiled under the sun. Even then, I was a drama queen. Which is why I love YA lit. Quelle drama!!!
It doesn't hurt that I have a freakish memory for every moment of my teen years. Some sort of traumatic imprint, I think.
In your most recent book, Susanna Hits Hollywood, Susanna lands a gig interning with a magazine. Are any of Susanna's adventures influenced by your experiences in the magazine industry?
Absolutely! Nell, Susanna's nutjob of a boss, is based on a real woman I once worked for. But, don't tell anyone.
My general rule when writing about real people in my fiction is to change their hair color. For some reason, no one recognizes themselves if you change their hair color. Except my parents. But you can't have everything.
Do you have any tips for aspiring magazine writers or authors of young adult fiction?
My personal inspiration is a quote I have taped over my computer: "Today's mighty oak is yesterday's nut that held its ground." Hold your ground, be a nut, change real people's hair color.
From Gossip Girl to Princess Diaries, many popular teen books have become both hit television shows and popular movies. How do you feel about this? Do you hope to see one of your characters onscreen someday?
It would be amazing to see one of my characters come alive on screen. But, I'd be happy if it never happened, too. Writing books is SO great, so absolutely thrilling, that I wake up every morning and, like Susanna, say, "I am the luckiest girl in the world." Corny, but true. Frankly, my husband is getting tired of hearing it. Look for him in my next book. He'll be the guy with the red (wink, wink) hair.
Thanks, Mary! We can't wait to hear more from Susanna!
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