Zoe Rice accepted to inaugurate Veronika Asks and be my first-interviewed author. She speaks a little about her first novel, ” Pick me Up “, which was released in June 2006.
Hi Zoe! So, ready? Here we go!
Hi Veronika. Ok!
What would you like, first, to say to introduce yourself to our readers?
First, any opportunity to talk to readers is both welcome and fun. To find people who are excited about books just makes my day. I’m a former book editor who just had my first novel published. In the past, I edited the first three Shopaholic books by Sophie Kinsella, and she’s been so supportive as I tried to write my own funny chick-lit novel. I’m so happy when people love the book, which–lucky for me–has been often!
Ok! So, to talk about you: I’ve heard that Aquarius are usually original and don’t care about being different. They love change, are independent and intellectual. Are you a typical Aquarius?
In many ways I am a typical Aquarius. We’re supposed to be creative, I hear, and sensitive to others. I don’t know that much about astrology, but I do think I like to be different while still remaining one of the gang.
So, you’ve been an editor before, how did you start to write?
Being a book editor is very, very hard. You don’t usually get paid very well, but you work as hard as people who make four times your pay. Sometimes you get to work on your dream book, and then it’s all worth it. But sometimes you’re assigned a book you’re not in love with, and then it’s not as rewarding. In the end, I decided to create an ideal of the book I’d most like to read. I thought it would be more fun, and in many ways it was!
That’s cool! I love the idea to create a book you’d like to read.
That was really my greatest goal, and it really worked out.
Now, tell us, please, a bit more about your first novel, “Pick me up”…
Pick Me Up centers around Izzy Duncan, a gallery director in New York City. Unlike many chick lit characters, she loves her job and is great at it. Early on, though, changes at the gallery threaten her career. Now, she has to put her professional future in the hands of two men: one a painter with whom she fights constantly, but whose show is her next big project. And the other is her new boss, who seems to be the man of her dreams.
That sounds really great! It takes place in New York’s art world. Why did you choosethe world of art and not another? Did you research about it? Did you meet artists?
My second love after books/writing is art. I spent a semester studying History of Art in London, and it was tremendous fun. Also, my boyfriend is a painter and works for an art dealer, so I’m around that world a lot. I did research very carefully with one of the stars of the young gallery scene, and she was a lot of help.
I love art too. What are your favorites?
My favorite period is Modernism, although I also love the peacefulness of Renaissance art. I particularly like art that plays with language, like Jasper Johns, and I’m a big fan of Picasso’s cubism. I could probably take a lot of time just talking about artists!
Is your novel only for women and girls or would you like to reach another public?
The men who have read the novel so far are surprised at how much they enjoy it. While the primary audience is women, I’d say that guys who want to get in good with their girlfriends/moms/sisters should pick them up a copy! (I should also note that two of those men are my father and boyfriend. So they may be biased…)
The question every young writer would ask: How do you work in general? Do you need a special time or a special place (or state)? Never faced the “writer’s block”?
I don’t remember battling writer’s block. The actual writing was finished a year ago, but my publisher waited to put the book out in summer because it’s such a fun beach read. I like to write in the afternoon, when I’m least tired. I always have two enormous mugs of coffee first. Once I start, I get in a zone of focus. I find that hours will pass without me even noticing. If I can’t get that focus, though, the process is very tedious.
You have a great book cover. Did you pick it yourself?
Thanks so much Veronika! I was worried about the cover, because I think it’s so important to grab someone’s eye. When my publisher showed me the artist they wanted to use, I thought it seemed more sophisticated than what I wanted. But when I saw the drawing, I fell in love. I think the artist did great! I did give some key words to my publisher about what I wanted. Mostly: “pink!”
Aw, a girl’s favorite subject: I’ve noticed you own a cool blog about beauty products. Which ones are your favorite? Do you prefer modern cosmetics technology or old GrandMa’s tips? Do you have some tips to share with girls?
Ahh, yes. Real Girl Beauty has become surprisingly popular, and I’m grateful for everyone who sends in comments with advice. I like modern products best because they have innovative ingredients. I very much like Aveda’s lip tints, which have sunscreen. The most important beauty product is always sunscreen!
Returning to books and your novel, do you already have another project? Or would you like or continue a bit with Izzy? Or simply have a break and enjoy?
Right now I’m deciding whether to continue writing chick lit or to try out writing young adult. I have ideas for both, and my publisher is just waiting to see how Pick Me Up does in stores. I think at some point I’ll write young adult fiction. I like the idea of writing for eager young readers.
So you’re not interested in trying fantasy or mysteries (or something really different), you’ll continue with chick lit…
My favorite part of writing is making people laugh. I might try a chick lit mystery, where I could combine the two. But certain traits of chick lit–the humor, the female protagonist, the first person voice–really appeal to me and make the writing process more enjoyable.
And now the nothing-to-do-with-books question: you’ve just found 100 $ in your pocket, how will you use that money? Without thinking too long
I would buy a great dinner in New York. We’ve got super restaurants, but they’re expensive and so often it feels like a “splurge.” Every good chick lit character loves food!
Well, before starting the “pick an answer up” (don’t ask me why I chose that title would you like to say something to our readers?
Welcome to Veronika’s interview blog! I wish you great success. And anyone who wants to find me on MySpace and talk about the book is welcome. I do truly appreciate every reader who takes the time to enjoy (hopefully!) my novel.
Thank you so much, Zoe
Thanks Veronika! Best of luck to you, and I can’t wait to read your future interviews.
That’s really nice. So, ready for a quick “Pick an answer”?
“Tea or Coffee?” (yes, we changed the title since)
Saturday evening. Going out or reading a book ?Going out. There’s too much here to do!
Holidays. Beach or Mountains ?Mountains. I love hiking.
Country or City ?City city city. It’s all I’ve known.
Watching a movie. Comedy or Drama (or something else ?) ?Comedy.
Shy or Easy-going ?Easy-going most of the time.
Serious or Funny ?Funny, definitely!
Traveller or not ?I wish I were more so. So I’ll say yes.
Sporty or not ?Depends on the sport! Baseball/tennis yes, American football not so much.
Working on team or alone ?Alone, for me. I like to create my own little worlds.
TV show: Lost right now
Movie : Hmm. I do love the Bridget Jones Diary movie. The perfect chick flick! Also The Forty Year Old Virgin.
Book (and by the way, what are you reading during your free time ?) ? : Right now I’m reading Wickett’s Remedy, the second novel by the author of “Bee Season.” My favorite book is so hard! But I’ll say Confessions of a Shopaholic because I loved getting to work with Sophie Kinsella for the first time. She is brilliant, lovely, and hilarious!
Music : I like Gwen Stefani a lot, and Norah Jones. Also, like the character in the novel, I confess a soft spot for Robbie Williams.
City to visit : I’ve been lucky to see many of the cities I’ve wanted to. But I’d love to return to Paris. I went when I was 16, and even then I appreciated the art.
Favourite place to write: My apartment, with my cat right behind me.
Quote or motto : That’s a hard one! I’d say “Keep your chin up.” Because when you feel successful or pretty or outgoing, then others feel that too.
Thank you, Zoe!
You can visit Zoe’s site http://www.zoerice.com