Tuesday, August 7, 2012

THE FIVE W’S Of Elise Allen + Giveaway of Populazzi

Elise Allen has written Young Adult and Childrens' fiction, television and features. Her books include the Young Adult novel Populazzi and she co-wrote on Hilary Duff's Elixir series. I'm so excited to have Elise here on A Novel Review today and we are lucky enough to be giving a copy of Populazzi (now out in paperback) away! Now let's get to know:

The 5 W's of Elise Allen

I’m a roiling mass of ecstatic passions, neurotic quirks, and manic energy.  At the risk of angering Queen Kinehora, I will honestly say I’m deliriously happy with my life… and yet if my high school self could see me, she’d be slack-jawed in stunned disbelief.  

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
Hanging out with my daughter and having outdoor adventures.  (I love doing that with my husband too, but he’s busier than Miss M, so he’s often at work when we’re playing.)  My favorite days are when she and I go bike riding, or head to the beach… anything that gets us out of the house and exploring.  

Oh – I totally include going to Disneyland in the category of “outdoor adventures.”  We’re annual passholders, and completely buy in to the Magic of the Mouse.  Sometimes we’ll go just to hang out and feed the ducks.   

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember.  In sixth grade I wrote a series of short stories starring my cat Sousa as a hard-boiled detective; in 7th and 8th I collaborated on a romance novel featuring the torrid exploits of my BFF and I with Wham!’s George Michael (yes, I know, but I still thought I had a chance) and Andrew Ridgeley (I just Googled him – he’s bald now!); and in college I co-founded a spectacularly awesome mystery party business where we wrote customized characters for every single guest.
And all that time, I never once considered a career as a writer.  

I was going to act.  Check that – I was going to be a star.

Oh, sure, there was the slight issue of me freaking out whenever a camera was in my face… plus my complete inability to immerse myself in a character without feeling like a red-faced buffoon… but other than that, it was a slam-dunk career.

It wasn’t until I was working as a receptionist at… wait for it… Saved by the Bell: The College Years that I saw people making a living – and a really good living! – doing what I had always done simply to amuse myself and my friends.  I teamed up with a partner and wrote my first spec script, was hired to write my first produced script (a Saved by the Bell: The New Class) soon after, and have been at it ever since. 

WHERE? Where do you write?
Wherever I can!  I’m not precious about it.  I juggle too much.  If I get the chance and I have my computer (I can’t read my own handwriting – not even kidding), I write.  When I was with my daughter in Scotland recently, I waited until she went to sleep, then sat cross-legged on the floor of the hotel room’s giant shower, plopped my computer on the shower bench, and wrote.  The only place I can’t write is a plane, which is a bummer because it seems like such a perfect chunk of uninterrupted time.  I think it’s because space is so constricted; I need a little breathing room to create.

WHY? Why do you write?
I love that you asked me this question, because oddly enough, I never sat down and examined it.  It helps that you asked “when” first, because it reminded me how my greatest joy in things like the mystery party characters was the reaction I’d get from my business partner.  I’d write the characters knowing she’d read them and laugh out loud, and that got me so giddy and excited, I’d laugh out loud just imagining it.  Actually sending them to her left me jumping in my seat, waiting for her reaction. 

That’s what’s addictive to me.  I’m not the kind of person who writes in a vacuum, and would find great satisfaction in simply getting my creations on paper, whether or not they ever saw the light of day.  I write because there’s no greater high than the shared experience between writer and reader.  When worlds and people that didn’t exist before I created them come alive for readers, that to me is the ultimate thrill.  

What great questions!  Thanks so much for the interview, Laura, and for featuring Populazzi on A NOVEL REVIEW!!!

You can get to know Elise more by follwing her: 

 POPULAZZI by Elise Allen

WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be?  Would you grab it?  Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?

Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of  those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say.  One of the Populazzi.

It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.

When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder.  Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.

The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted.  And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.

Sounds like such a great book, doesn't it!?! Well here is your chance to win a copy! This giveaway is for US only (sorry!) and 


  1. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air of cours! <3 me some Will Smith to this day! <3

  2. Gosh I had so many favorites. The Facts of Life for sure! Can't wait to read this!

  3. (as I seriously date myself) - The Partridge Family - David Cassidy was *the one*!

  4. One Tree Hill or Fresh Prince. :D


  5. I loved Dallas! So glad the new series is on. It's even better than the first one!

  6. most definitely buffy the vampire slayer! oh angel *swoon*

    ame1184 at gmail dot com

  7. What a great interview! Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. I had SO many favorite tv shows while I was in high school. It wasn't that long ago, but I loved Smallville, Gilmore Girls (which was reruns), Ugly Betty (obsessed with that show!!), Greek, and SO many others!! :)
    Thanks for the awesome giveaway!
    I've really wanted to read this book!! Elise is super nice! I met her in February, but didn't get a chance to pick up her book, I've only read the books she cowrote with Hilary Duff and really liked them! :)