Interview with Micol OstowApril, 2012
SS: How would you describe your life in only 8 words?
MO: coffee, keyboard, sunshine, dogwalks, catnaps, coffee, keyboard, coffee.
SS: What is your motto or maxim?
MO: "Writing is a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia."--E.L. Doctorow
What Readers want to know...
SS: How would you describe perfect happiness?
MO: Oh, that one's too easy: a day in bed with no deadlines looming, a stack of books I want to read, my doggie, my fiance, and some good movies on demand. Oh, and an endless supply of coffee.
SS: What’s your greatest fear?
MO: Running out of story ideas. And heights.
SS: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you choose to be?
MO: Right this very second I am sitting on a cozy couch overlooking the swimming pool and the sun-drenched InterCoastal here in Palm Beach--not too many complaints.
SS: With whom in history do you most identify?
MO: I don't know that I identify with her per se, but I grew up reading the "Little House" stories and I was fascinated by Laura Ingalls Wilder.
SS: Which living person do you most admire?
MO: I am in awe of the entire faculty at Vermont College of the Fine Arts, where I received my MFA in writing for children and young adults. Brilliant minds, all of them, and amazing mentors.
SS: What are your most overused words or phrases?
MO: You tell me--I'm sure you'll find them in my books!
SS: What do you regret most?
MO: I always wished I'd learned to play a musical instrument when I was younger. These days I'm way too busy/lazy/old.
SS: What is your greatest achievement?
MO: Well, that kind of depends on one's priorities, no? I'm still pretty astounded to be making a living writing books for teens--definitely a lifelong dream of mine.
SS: What’s your greatest flaw?
MO: "High-strung" would be putting it kindly.
SS: What’s your best quality?
MO: I'm a little bulldog. Seriously, I'm quite determined when it comes to the things that are important to me. I'm dedicated to my close friends, I will work round the clock to turn a manuscript in, I will reach out to help emerging writers in whom I believe...you get the picture.
SS: If you could be any person or thing, who or what would it be?
MO: Um, me, but maybe a few inches taller and less inclined to oversleep in the morning and to bite my nails.
SS: What trait is most noticeable about you?
MO: Some people say I'm funny. Also, I get very very tan in the summer.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional hero?
MO: It's always changing depending on what I've read lately. I was blown away by THE HUNGER GAMES and Katniss. Wasn't everyone? I also loved Tabitha of the upcoming PURE.
SS: Who is your favorite fictional villain?
MO: If you will permit me a moment of immodesty, I'd say Paige Andrews from my own Bradford Novels series. She's a mean, mean girl, and I love her!
SS: If you could meet any historical character, who would it be and what would you say to him or her?
MO: I have some thoughts about this--but they are for me to know and you to (maybe) find out!
SS: What is your biggest pet peeve?
MO: It drives me bonkers when my fiance leaves his sneakers on the living room floor. I also can't stand excessive air-conditioning. I'm one of those annoying people who is always cold.
SS: What is your favorite occupation, when you’re not writing?
MO: Teaching and editing, or some combination thereof. Both take me out of my own head and enhance my work.
SS: What’s your fantasy profession?
MO: Are you kidding? Teen novelist!
SS: What 3 personal qualities are most important to you?
MO: 1) loyalty 2) determination/hard work 3) creativity
SS: If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your days, what would it be?
MO: Chocolate or coffee. I suppose some sort of hybrid cafe mocha-type beverage.
SS: What are your 5 favorite songs?
MO: Whatever my hipster brother has loaded onto my ipod most recently. Lately I've been listening to a lot of Regina Spektor.
SS: If you could acquire any talent, what would it be?
MO: I would LOVE to be able to dance. Lovelovelove. I took tap and ballet as a teen, but neither quite "stuck." I love to watch all forms of dance.
Questions About Books and Writing
SS: Who are your favorite authors?
MO: This could be a while! Way too many to name; I read books like some people drink water. I just finished my MFA and some of my faves from my program include: Carrie Jones, Louise Hawes, Cynthia Leitich Smith, Kathi Appelt, Kelly Bingham, Emily Wing Smith, Varian Johnson, the soon-to-be published Mariana Baer, Jill Santopolo, Mikki Knudsen... Some of my favorites from my own writing class: Shani Petroff, Taylor Morris, and Heather Duffy Stone... And from the file marked "misc:" Scott Westerfeld, Justine Larbalestier, Gayle Foreman, John Green, Maureen Johnson, Judy Goldschmidt, Rachel Cohn, Lynn Weingarten, Aimee Friedman, David Levithan, etc., etc., etc. I could literally go on forever. Thank goodness, there are SO MANY great books and talented writers out there.
SS: What are your 5 favorite books of all time?
MO: This is a hard one. My best attempt: 1. Bridget Jones' Diary, Helen Fielding 2. On Writing, Stephen King 3. Different Seasons, Stephen King 4. Feed, MT Anderson 5. Holes, Louis Sachar
SS: Is there a book you love to reread?
MO: I read "Bridget Jones' Diary" at least once a year. I usually need it for a laugh when I'm struck with a dreaded winter flu.
SS: Do you have one sentence of advice for new writers?
MO: The only way to be a writer is to write. Don't worry (at least, not for a while) about getting published. Just put butt in chair and (proverbial) pen to paper.
SS: What comment do you hear most often from your readers?
MO: I get a lot of questions about whether or not there is a sequel planned for "30 Guys in 30 Days" (not as of this interview, sorry!). People really want to know what happens to Claudia in the long-term.
SS: What is your birthdate?
SS: What were your previous occupations?
MO: book editor, children's and young adult fiction
SS: What was/is your favorite job?
MO: writing fiction for teens!
SS: Where did you go to high school and/or college?
MO: I went to a Jewish day school for high school called Solomon Schechter, and I went to Tufts University for college.
SS: Name of your favorite composer or music artist?
MO: FAVORITE? I'm a big fan of The Wrens and The Kimballs--two NJ-based indie bands. Does that work?
SS: What is your favorite movie?
MO: Anything Kubrick.
SS: What is your favorite television show?
MO: Anything cheesy reality, anything medical drama, anything police procedural. I'm easy that way.
Get more on Micol Ostow at SimonandSchuster.com