GCC Presents…………………. Lara Zeises

I’m thrilled to be touring Lara Zeises, aka Lola Douglas.

MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET – OUT IN PAPERBACK AS OF 2/28/08
Razorbill/Penguin Young Readers Group

Just when Morgan Carter was falling in love with the simple life she’d built in Fort Wayne, Indiana, her true identity as an infamous Hollywood starlet was exposed. Now Morgan has a choice to make: return to her glamorous movie star existence–or stick with the wholesome life, and the new love, she’s found in the Midwest.

In this sequel to True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet, Lola Douglas’s heartfelt prose and headstrong heroine return to delight readers.

1. What inspired the plot for your book?

MORE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET is my second installment in a series about Morgan Carter, who’s loosely based on a young Drew Barrymore (and not Lindsay Lohan, as most readers assume). At 16, Morgan OD’s outside of L.A.’s notorious viper room and almost dies. So her mother and agent ship her off to rehab for six months. When she emerges, she can’t get any work. So her agent cooks up this scheme in which Morgan will go live with a family friend in Indiana and attend high school undercover, then emerge a year later and write a tell-all novel that will re-launch her career. This is all in the first book, TRUE CONFESSIONS OF A HOLLYWOOD STARLET, which was adapted into a TV movie that premiers on Lifetime August 9th at 9 p.m.

So MORE CONFESSIONS picks up a month after Morgan’s been outed and has decided to stay in Indiana to finish out her school year. Only instead of constantly worrying about her secret identity getting exposed, now she’s faced with a whole new set of problems: the paparazzi stalking her on school grounds, her love interest feeling insecure now that he knows he’s involved with a famous actress, her mother pressuring her to lose weight and clean up her image, and an old co-star claiming to be involved with her because it makes for good press.

I’ve been a fan of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries series since its inception, and I’d really wanted to try my hand at a diary format novel. So I tried to think of whose diary I’d want to read. Drew was the first person who popped into my mind. I chose Fort Wayne as the setting because I lived there for several months after college and it was a total culture shock. I thought, what better way to throw a teen starlet out of her element than to send her to a mostly land-locked state that’s a good three-hour drive from the nearest big city?

2. Why did you decide to write in this genre?

I kind of feel like YA decided on me and not the other way around. I actually went to grad school to learn how to write TV shows. Instead I ended up in this adolescent novel workshop and never looked back.

Sometimes when I’m giving presentations people ask me how I became an authentic teen writer, like did I eavesdrop on kids at the mall, or did I read a lot of teen magazines? And my answer is always the same: I didn’t really have to work at the teen part. That’s my voice, that’s my sensibility.

3. What is your writing process like?

Messy. I’m a plunger, not a plotter, though my new editor at Razorbill is trying to turn me into a plotter. She’s making me outline everything chapter by chapter and it feels completely foreign to me. It also takes away some of the mystery. Still, when I don’t outline I tend to have horribly messy first drafts. Then I end up rewriting seventy-five to ninety percent of the book on the second draft. I never do fewer than three drafts with editors, and that doesn’t include copyediting and galley proofs.

4. What are you working on now?

The next Lola book, actually. It’s tentatively titled FORGET YOU and was inspired, in part, but the Goldie Hawn ‘80s romp OVERBOARD. That’s about all I can say right now, except that it’s a totally fun project and I’m psyched to be banging out the first draft.

5. What do you do when you’re not writing?

I watch a lot of television. Probably too much television, honestly. I’m a sucker for competition-based reality TV shows, like PROJECT RUNWAY, TOP CHEF, and AMERICA’S NEXT TOP MODEL. But I’m also passionate about quality scripted TV, like FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS and THE OFFICE.

The other thing occupying most of my free time – these days, anyway – is wedding planning. I got engaged in early July, and even though we’re not getting married until February 2010, there’s already so much stuff to be done. It’s completely overwhelming.

6. Who do you like to read?

I love Sarah Dessen’s work. Not only is she an amazing writer, she’s one of the classiest people I know. She doesn’t get involved in the petty muckity-muck prevalent among a lot of YA authors. She just does her thing, and does it incredibly well.

I’m also a huge fan of fellow GCC’er E. Lockhart. When I read her latest solo project, THE DISREPUTABLE HISTORY OF FRANKIE LANDAU-BANKS, my first thought was, “My god, do I wish I’d written this myself.” She, like Sarah, inspires me to be a better writer.

BIO:

Lola Douglas is the author of True Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet and its sequel More Confessions of a Hollywood Starlet. A TV movie adaptation of True Confessions starring multi-platinum recording artist Joanna “JoJo” Levesque and Golden Globe winner Valerie Bertinelli premieres on Lifetime August 9, 2008 at 9 p.m.

Lola also happens to be the alter ego of Lara Zeises, author of Bringing Up the Bones, an honor book for the 2001 Delacorte Press Prize Competition; Contents Under Pressure, winner of the 2006 Delaware Blue Hen Teen Book Award and a 2006 IRA Young Adult Choices selection; and Anyone But You. Lara holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College and lives in Delaware, where she grew up.

For all of the latest Lola updates, make sure to check out Lara’s LiveJournal at http://zeisgeist.livejournal.com.

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