Recently Lucy Silag, author of Beautiful Americans, was able to participate in a Q&A. I enjoyed getting to know more about the author of such a fun book (with a second one coming that I can't wait to read).
On your blog you mentioned living in Paris while writing sequels to Beautiful Americans. Did you live in Paris while writing Beautiful Americans as well? If so, did you move to Paris to research for the books or did you go first and then get your inspiration to write?
I was still working full time as a publicist in New York when I was writing Beautiful Americans, so I didn't live in Paris but rather drew upon a few visits I had made there in college. Then right before I sent the book out to publishers I took a trip to fact check some of the things in the book. Then when the series got picked up by Razorbill, I decided that I wanted to write full time and thought where better to write two books about Paris than in the city itself? Living there, even for just a short time, gives me so many new ideas I never would have gotten from afar.
As you were writing Beautiful Americans, did you have a favorite character or sub-plot that you enjoyed writing the most?
I don't know that I have a favorite character, but I love writing dialogue between Alex and Zack. I also get really wrapped up in PJ's haunted past . . . I love getting to bring out that dark side of the story.
It sounds like you have had a chance to travel a lot. Do you have a favorite destination?
I am absolutely addicted to and obsessed with travel. It is kind of ridiculous. My favorite city in the world in Paris, but some other places I've loved are Budapest (that was where *I* studied abroad), Berlin, Nashville, Jaipur (in India), Fiji, and Greece. Honestly, there's nowhere I wouldn't be interested in seeing.
I teach middle school language arts. Do you have any writing advice for my students?
Just do it! The hardest part of writing is getting started, I find. I'll procrastinate, checking emails, or running errands, or whatever, knowing I have a lot of work to do, but then once I get started I'll get a momentum and start having a great time. With young students just beginning to find their own writing style, I'd say write as much as you can, and read as much as you can, too. It takes time for your distinctive voice to emerge, but that will never happen if you don't actually sit down and do it.
We are in a dual immersion school. What are your tips on integrating multiple languages into your writing? I loved the French in Beautiful Americans (even though I don't know French).
Thank you! Some people hate it, but I can't imagine writing a book about France without any French words. I try to use a lot of French words that are either somewhat familiar to non-French speakers (Bonjour, Au revoir, oui, tres belle, etc) or kind of repeat back in the answer in English to explicate a French question. I took a bunch of French classes while writing this book, and I want to put them to good use!