Wednesday, March 28, 2007
Welcome to “Up Close & Personal.” For every interview I will be introducing a literary personality discussing his views and insights, as well as upcoming literary events around the world.
Today’s interview is with Antonio Pagliarulo. He is the author of two YA novels. Antonio is an American of Italian descent, born and raised in New York City. He started writing at an early age. In middle school his notebook was full of stories he had written, but no homework. This pattern of marching to a different drummer stayed with him through high school.
While he was working as a tutor for inner city teens, he became inspired by the stories he witnessed playing out between the cops, the community and the kids for whom everyday was a struggle to survive in the inner city.
His first novel, ‘A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEAT,’ is about inner city youth and their plight. It deals with the uncontrollable angst, confusion, fear, the constant desire to rail against authority, and the overwhelming desire to find a comfortable place in what most often seems a very cold and unforgiving world.
His latest novel, ‘The Celebutantes: On the Avenue,’ for YA readers will be release May 2007. It is the first of a series to be published by Random House. ‘The Celebutantes’ is about the “Hamilton’s,” wealthy, famous and powerful triplets. Though they are heiresses to a billion-dollar media empire, their wealth and power cannot shield them from a dilemma that seems a match for their bigger-than-life status. ‘Celebutantes’ will be available online, and in all major bookstores.
E. I. Antonio thanks for giving us the opportunity to do an interview. Would please tell your fans in what part of working on a book is most enjoyable to you?
A. Pagliarulo: I'm one of those (odd) writers who enjoys the whole process of writing a book -- from initial conception right on through to publication. I love fleshing out characters and plot lines and doing research. Research can be a lot of fun. For my CELEBUTANTES novels, I often end up interviewing quite a number of people. These books, of which the first will published in May 2007, combine fun, fashionable characters with crime detection, so I have my work cut out for me. (Interviewing a fashion designer and a detective in a relatively short span of time can be very confusing!) I also love going through the editorial process with my wonderful editor after I hand in a manuscript. Most writers dislike this part of the process because it often leads to rewriting, or listening to some constructive criticism, but I find it very fulfilling. In every instance, my editor has strengthened what I've written, and thus made a better book!
E. I. What changes took place after you published your first novel, i.e. how different has writing been since you turned it into a career?
A. Pagliarulo: This is a great question, and I think about it a lot. Since my first novel, A DIFFERENT KIND O HEAT, was published last year, I've gotten a whole lot busier. I've signed contracts for several more books with my publisher and have gotten used to living on deadline. And I like that just fine! I've also gotten more involved with my readers. I love getting emails from readers and I respond to every last one of them. I also visit schools and speak to young adults about writing.
E. I. Has your writing based on experience affected your creativity/ imagination?
A. Pagliarulo: It has only strengthened my creativity!!
E. I. Did you feel pressure, either self-imposed or external, to duplicate that success for your second book?
A. Pagliarulo: My first novel, A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEAT, won an ALA Quick Pick Award for Reluctant Readers and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. Many readers have written to me telling me how much they enjoyed A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEAT, but I don't feel any real pressure about my second book because THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE is very different and so much fun. First of all, it's the beginning of a new series; second of all, it's much more multi-layered than my first novel; third, THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE will very likely make readers laugh out loud, whereas my first novel (according to many readers), made people teary-eyed. In THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE, readers will meet the Hamilton triplets -- Madison, Park, and Lexington -- and will be swept up in a very fast-paced story set against the backdrop of my glittering hometown, New York City.
E. I. Can you share with us some of the toughest experiences you had to go through to finally get published?
A. Pagliarulo: Like all writers, I've dealt with my fair share of rejection. This, I believe, is simply a piece of that really big puzzle called "creativity." Whether you're a writer, an actor, a dancer, a painter, a sculptor...you will undoubtedly stare rejection in the face several times over the course of your career. The road to publication is like that -- but it shouldn't distress or discourage writers in the slightest. New voices are emerging all the time, and a well-written book will always find a home.
E. I. Your readers and other writers often like to get behind the author's writing routine. Would you like to share with your fans a typical writing day schedule?
A. Pagliarulo: I write full time. Most of the time, my days start early. I am at my desk in the morning, where I just dive right in to whatever project I'm working on. This, mind you, involves several cups of coffee and a few self-inflicted slaps to the head, but I always end up making sense of things. I write for several hours. In between the writing, however, I check email and return phone calls or make phone calls. I might speak to my agents, or respond to my editor, or go through a copyedited manuscript. Most of the time, though, my days just involve writing. Now, that might sound a little boring, but I've been known to blast music in my office and dance around my desk, which can spice things up and make a few people laugh. (I'm not too keen on the fact that people laugh when they see me doing this, because I happen to think I'm a good dancer....???)
E. I. Do you write books with having them adapted to the movies in mind?
A. Pagliarulo: No. Books and movies are two different animals entirely. I don't think anyone writing a book should write it with a movie adaptation in mind. There are significant differences between novels and screenplays: a screenplay is a story told in pictures; a novel involves getting into the mind of your characters on the page, providing vivid descriptions for your readers, and creating a "voice" that will propel your narrative through many chapters. While writing a book, I think about my readers, and what will add to making their reading experience all the more enjoyable.
E. I. Please tell us about your latest book “Celebutante” by Delacorte Press which will be published this coming May. What do you think your fans should expect differently from your characters?
A. Pagliarulo: THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE is the first book in a new young adult series being published by Random House. As I explained above, it's about the Hamilton triplets -- Madison, Park, and Lex -- and their lives as wealthy, famous, and powerful teenagers. They are very close as sisters, but each has a very unique character. They are intelligent, sophisticated, and warm-hearted young women. They know how to navigate the world of fame and fortune, but the have a tendency to fall smack into the middle of scandals. Readers should expect to be enthralled, excited, and amused! THE CELEBUTANTES novels are funny, romantic, and very suspenseful; they're also full-bodied mysteries, so readers should expect to be surprised too! The second book in the series, THE CELEBUTANTES: IN THE CLUB, will be published in January 2008. Readers can learn more about the books either on my myspace page, or at www.thecelebutanes.com
E. I. If you were allowed total control of a Hollywood version of Celebutante who would be in it? In your own opinion who do you think should direct?
A. Pagliarulo: So many people who've read THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE, have asked me this question! But the truth is that I just don't know who I'd cast in the movie version! That's actually something I'd like my readers to do for me once they've read THE CELEBUTANTES. I'm looking forward to hearing their opinions on the characters! As for a director....there are so many brilliant ones, so many I am completely in awe of. The list is very long. Let me think about this. Can I get back to you after my next trip to the West Coast? :O)
E. I. Would you like to close the interview with any of your writing tip to other young aspiring authors out there?
A. Pagliarulo: Write as much as you can and read as much you can. There's no better way to hone your writing skills than to read. If you love mysteries, you should be devouring as many mystery novels as possible. Same for romance, or fantasy, or young adult fiction. Become a better reader, and you will inevitably become a better writer. I would also tell authors to get informed about the publishing industry as a whole. These days, a working writer needs to be "in the know" about what's changing in the industry. I would suggest reading Publishers Marketplace, Publishers Weekly, and hitting as many sites about the business as possible. It's a wonderful industry filled with great ideas and great people. Keep on writing!!
E.I. Thanks again for dropping by and giving us the opportunity to get to know you better. Good luck with your next novel and keep us posted.
A. Pagliarulo: Thanks, E.I.
To learn more about Antonio Pagliarulo, please visit him at:
Posted by E. I. Johnson at 2:08 PM