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Interview - Louise Rozett + Giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Today, I am delighted to be interviewing with Louise Rozett, the author of Confessions of an Angry Girl!

Rose Zarelli, self-proclaimed word geek and angry girl, has some CONFESSIONS to make... #1: I'm livid all the time. Why? My dad died. My mom barely talks. My brother abandoned us. I think I'm allowed to be irate, don't you?

#2: I make people furious regularly. Want an example? I kissed Jamie Forta, a badass guy who "might" be dating a cheerleader. She is now enraged and out for blood. Mine.

#3: High school might as well be Mars. My best friend has been replaced by an alien, and I see red all the time. (Mars is red and "seeing red" means being angry-get it?)

Here are some other vocab words that describe my life: Inadequate. Insufferable. Intolerable.

(Don't know what they mean? Look them up yourself.) (Sorry. That was rude.)

Louise Rozett is an author, a playwright, and a recovering performer. She is making her YA debut with Confessions of an Angry Girl, published by Harlequin Teen, coming out 8/28/12. She lives with her cool boyfriend Alex and awesome dog Lester in one of the world's greatest literary meccas, Brooklyn.

Tell us a little about yourself and how you got into writing.
The first thing I remember writing was a play in elementary school. After that, I was always super excited whenever I had the opportunity to write creatively in class. But it wasn’t until I reached high school that I understood how important writing was to me, in a number of different forms. I did an independent study with one of my teachers and I started working on plays and short stories. I’ve been writing ever since. I have a really busy, noisy brain—there’s something about writing that calms me down and focuses me. I think writing is actually good for my health!

It's so cool that you got to work on an independent study project with your teacher! I saw that you grew up performing. Has it impacted your writing in any way? 
It really has. All the work I’ve done as an actor in terms of understanding story structure and creating character has informed and helped my writing. Most of the time, that’s a very positive thing. But occasionally I feel like my writing is too character-focused, and not plot-focused enough, and I think that’s probably because actors focus primarily on character. I’m hoping that someday I’ll feel as confident with plotting as I do with character creation.

Characters are the most important factor to me in a novel, and I think you did a fantastic job with the characters in Confessions of an Angry Girl. Same with the plot. What was the inspiration behind Rose's story?
I’ve always been fascinated by how girls feel and express anger, probably because it took me a long time to understand that I was allowed to be angry. I think girls are somehow subliminally—or maybe not so subliminally—taught that they are supposed to be nice, quiet and accommodating all the time. But girls should be able to feel and express their anger without being told that they’re being too loud, or that they aren’t being polite. When Rose started to take shape, I realized that I’d found my Angry Girl, so to speak, and that she had a lot of things to say.

That's true. It's something we need to learn how to express. What kind of research did you do for the book?
I did a lot of personal research—I went back and looked at my journals and photo albums from high school. I also spent time at a high school in Connecticut where a friend of mine teaches. It was so fun—I loved listening to what the students had to say in class, and how they spoke to their teachers. I also loved listening to the way they spoke to each other in the halls and the cafeteria. In addition, I read about people who worked as contractors in Iraq (Rose’s father worked as a contractor in Iraq), and the kinds of struggles they faced. It was fascinating in the sense that I didn’t know anything about how contractors function during a war, and it was also heartbreaking—a lot of people who took those jobs had no experience with the military or with war zones, and the experience was often difficult, and in some cases, catastrophic.

It's interesting how much you learn by observing real high school students in their daily lives. Why did you decide to explore the gritty reality behind high school life (like sex, drinking, and bullying)?
I really loved high school, but I was not prepared for a lot of the big issues. And I think most people aren’t. But for some, all those brand new social experiences make high school exciting and thrilling, while for others, they make high school a total nightmare. I was interested in exploring who thrives and who struggles, and what happens when friends navigate those kinds of issues differently, as Rose and her best friend, Tracy, do.

I wasn't prepared for it either, and I like how you explore how different people make difference decisions. Rose is angry about a lot of things in her life. What challenges did you face in portraying her anger and worries while making her relatable to readers? What do you find most endearing about her?
I really love Rose, so it was surprising (and informative!) when my editor very wisely pointed out that I needed to make sure that we get to see some positives with Rose, some moments of happiness and inspiration. I’m embarrassed to admit that it truly hadn’t occurred to me that she might be unlikable because she’s so angry all the time! But my editor’s comment really woke me up, and helped me make her more relatable. I find Rose’s sense of humor endearing—I think she’s pretty funny—and I also think her humor helps temper the anger and the darkness that she’s coping with.

I love Rose as well and how well you portrayed her character. How would Rose, Robert, and Jamie describe themselves in ten words or less?
I think Rose would say that she’s “mad and mystified by life but working on it.” Robert would probably say that he’s “misunderstood and not going to wait for Rose forever.” And Jamie—well, if you can get Jamie to say 10 words at a time, you’re a miracle worker! He’d probably say, “Describe myself?”

Would it help if I get Rose over here to help me interview Jamie? What are you working on right now?
I’m finishing up the revisions on Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend right now, and I’m really excited about it. It’s an interesting challenge to figure out what Rose learned freshman year about herself, and how she applies it to sophomore year. She’s definitely growing up!

I'm excited as well to see how Rose has grown since her freshman year! Thanks for interviewing, Louise!

Harlequin Teen has generously offered a copy of Confessions of an Angry Girl to one lucky reader in North America. The giveaway is open through September 4th.

To enter, follow Imaginary Reads and leave a meaningful comment on the interview, then fill out the form below. Extra entries for tweeting about the giveaway and commenting on my review of Confessions of an Angry Girl. Do not leave your email in the comments section.

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27 comments on "Interview - Louise Rozett + Giveaway"
  1. Great interview! I can't wait to read Confessions of an Angry Girl! Thanks for the awesome giveaway!!

  2. I love the part where the characters describe themselves! It's great when we get characters talking for themselves.

    HOw cool is it that the author loved her character so much, she realized later that humor would make her more likable. REally shows how much she put in the character.

    Great interview:)

  3. Great interview! I really liked how the characters would describe themselves. Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. Liked the review :D The book sounds truly very good so I will definitely be checking that out :)

  5. This is a lovely interview :) I Love how you describe your research and its a great tactic!!
    ~Steph Trujillo

  6. Thanks for the awesome interview! I can't wait to read the book : )

  7. Thank you for the great interview. I really want to read this one, because I feel that there is not enough attention given to the fact that girls can be angry too. Like you said, we are expected to be quiet and sweet and when we don't fit that mold, there is no place for us. Thank you for a book that breaks out of the box!

  8. Sounds like a very good book. I really want to read it. Please enter me in contest.

  9. Love the summary - Rose sounds like a kick-ass type of girl!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. Wow! This book sounds great! It doesn't sound like a book where I will be able to predict the ending. It sounds like a book that focuses on real life problems/struggles instead of just some romance novel... Can't wait to read it!

  11. I like the plot of the book. It's a nice book to remind you of your old high school days.

  12. Love the book description. Sounds like a great book. I definitely want to read it.

  13. High school really is full of nothing but struggles, though some do thrive. I personally struggle hah. I'm entering my Senior year and things are still hard. New obstacles are always in our way and some things are hard to grasp. I don't think it'll ever get easier, but it'll certainly be something worth looking back on in the future. Can't wait to have the opportunity to read this book.

  14. Ooo I hope I find my Angry Girl when I read this book. Thanks for the giveaway! :D

  15. Great interview! This book is on my TBR list right now, and I can't wait to start it.

  16. Loved the interview! That's neat how she went to a high school to observe :) This book sounds great!

  17. Love your view on women expressing themselves. We are not obedient beings and we will not go quietly.

  18. Thanks for the great review I love your explanation on your characters!

  19. I love the idea of the book, as well as the characters. Girls really do have a lot to say, but don't get the change to say anything most of the time. I can't wait to read this book and see more of the characters (:

  20. Oh my gosh I just LOVED This book SOOO much! And also? "Describe myself? Uh, no" is priceless!! I love Louise she's so awesome and she wrote such a relatable book! :) Thanks for the interview and the chance to win! :) Also, I've threatened more than once to steal the next book and since she's almost done with can fill in the blanks ;) Awesome interview!

  21. Great interview! It's always neat to get to see the processes behind each author and their true intentions for the story. always hated English class asking me what the author meant by something. I love actually knowing!

  22. The interview sounds great. I think this book will fit me very well. I just wish, writing for me would also be that easy. but I work well under pressure. haha. :D

  23. WOW! Louise did so much research for her book, I did not realize that before! She is a very thorough writer and I am definitely very interested in reading Confessions of Angry Girl now. And I agree, it's very important to have convincing, real characters. They are the ones we -- readers -- identify and sympathize with and if the characters are flat and lifeless, the story falls flat, too. I'm very curious about Rose, I think I myself was a very angry teenager (too much angsty punk music??), and I can see myself relating to the Angry Girl in Louise's book! Thanks for a great interview! :)

  24. I love how the characters sound very relatable. Excellent interview and thanks for the chance to win! This book sounds great.

  25. That's interesting that the editor told her to make Rose more likable. I found Rose's character to be balanced well, considering what she's going through. Now I know who to thank for that! Great interview! :D

  26. This book looks great it's hard to deal and accept the loss of someone you love without others around to support you and that sometimes faced to deal with it all on your own you turn to angry first. Great Interview, Thanks for the chance to win what looks like a great YA novel!!

  27. The characters in this book sounds pretty awesome :) thanks for the giveaway


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