Louise Rozett is the author of Confessions of an Angry Girl!
Tell us, how does it feel to be a published author? You must be super excited to see your book on the shelves!
I am totally beyond thrilled, and you’re right, I can’t wait to go to a bookstore and see my book sitting there, waiting for someone to come along and bring it home! I love the idea that the characters who depended on me to tell the world their story are now out there, on their own, in book form! It’s so exciting.
Did you always want to be a writer?
I studied both acting and singing, and spent time in New York doing musical theatre, which I loved. But there are things about a performer’s life that I couldn’t live with, and I became more and more drawn to making my living as a writer. I started writing when I was a kid, and I wrote lots of short stories and several plays as I was growing up, but it wasn’t until I became disenchanted with my life as a performer that I realized how much I love writing, and how it feeds my soul.
Now tell us a bit about your debut novel, Confessions of an Angry Girl.
Confessions of an Angry Girl is about Rose Zarelli, a high school freshman with some serious rage. She’s having a tough year because her father lost his job and took work as a contractor in Iraq, and was killed. On top of that, she likes the “wrong” guy, his scary girlfriend is now her nemesis, and her best friend is suddenly talking about losing her virginity. Rose isn’t ready for many of the issues that arise in high school—especially not while she’s learning how to deal with grief—and she finds herself without a support system at a crucial moment. It really makes her angry.
Where did your inspiration come from, to write about a girl who has so many troubles in her life, causing her to be, well angry?
I’ve always been interested in how girls feel and express anger. 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. While those are valid ways of “being” in many situations, they shouldn’t overrule the expression of emotion. Girls should be able to express their anger without being told that they’re loud or impolite—or worse, too emotional or crazy.
Did you have any road bumps along your journey? Within the story process or publishing process?
It was a long process, because it took me a number of years to figure out what I was writing! I started writing a novel for adults 12 years ago and the chapters alternated between the woman as an adult in the present, and the woman as a teenager in high school. I worked on it on and off for about 6 years before I realized that I was really drawn to the high school character—I kept going back to her chapters when I was supposed to be working on the chapters in the present. But even after I realized that, I still let the book languish on my hard drive. At a certain point about 4 years ago, the book really started to call to me after I had become interested in YA literature, so I decided to pull out the high school chapters and string them together to see what I had. And that’s when I truly met 14-year-old Rose Zarelli, face to face (so to speak).
The sequel, Confessions of an Almost-Girlfriend, is set for release in May 2013. Can you shed any light on what we can expect?
I’m really excited about Almost-Girlfriend. Everybody’s a little older, the stakes are higher, and some of the characters have undergone pretty major transformations over the summer. Also, there’s a new character I just love: Conrad, a gay freshman whose battle against homophobia becomes part of Rose’s life in an unexpected way.
Sounds like it will be a fantastic sequel, I can’t wait! Now just some random fun questions!
I am also a playwright—I love writing for theatre. I have a fantastic collaborator—an actress/director named Tracy Middendorf—and we did a play together last summer about 9/11 at the New York International Fringe Festival. We’re now working on a screenplay together.
Any special writing habits?
I can’t stay in the same place when I write! I sit at the kitchen table with my laptop for a few hours, then I’ll move to the dining room table, then I’ll end up on the couch or on the bed, then at my desk… I’m not sure why I move when I do, but I’ll snap out of my writing daze and realize that I’m not sitting where I was when I first started working. It’s funny. And odd. Which might be an apt description of me in general, now that I think about it.
Favourite book of all time? (Apart from your own of course!)
My favorite book of all time is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. It absolutely kills me. Plus, I’m still I’m madly in love with Joe—one of the main characters—even though I read the book about 10 years ago. I just can’t help it. (Apologies to my lovely boyfriend.)
Louise Rozett spent her junior year of college at the University of New South Wales, and returned to Sydney in 2000 to cover the Olympics for Scholastic.com. Australia is her favorite place in the world, and as a result, she has a tattoo of the Sydney Opera House. She’d like to think she is the only person in the world with this tattoo, but she knows that’s probably not true.