Melissa Walker

Thursday, April 17th, 2014 Melissa Walker

I was interviewed in the NY Times this week about my record collection, which was fun. Of course, the way I describe sitting on the couch with a glass of wine and the lights out makes me sound a little douchebaggy, but I think The Times likes that sort of thing.
I really liked talking to the writer, Roy Furchgott. He knows a lot more about records than I do, and that was interesting.
A photographer, the awesome Angela Jimenez, also came to take pictures, and she snapped the lead photo, where I have no chin. But my skin looks really good, right? Glowing, even? I’ll take what I can get.
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It was a funny day because the cable guy came at exactly the same time as Angela, so she had to wait around and shoot stills of my records while I showed him how to navigate the basement. But she was really cool and fun to talk to, and we really just sat there chatting and listening to albums like New Order and Bishop Allen.
Happy Friday!
PS-Something else to know about: Yahoo! Shine’s Gifts for the literary fan includes Violet in Private (among lots of great gift ideas). Go find a book that you can give as a gift!

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Party Pics!

I had a really fun book party last night at Butter (totally where Blair Waldorf eats) with Gamer Girl author Mari Mancusi, who rules. Here she is signing her book. Isn’t she pretty in purple?
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Also there (with me) were awesome authors Bennett Madison (The Lulu Dark mysteries) and Deborah Gregory (Cheetah Girls series and Catwalk).
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And Mari and I got to rub elbows with Scott Westerfeld (Uglies) and Diana Peterfreund (Rampant). They came with fellow fabulous authors Justline Larbalestier and Maureen Johnson.
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And my ELLEgirls were there too! Here’s me in the center of Linnea, Mariel, Erin and Marie.
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Mari put games on the table, so here’s Becky, Jeff and Dave getting into Hungry, Hungry Hippos.
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Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us–too many awesome people to name. Also, thanks to Butter, and to Clarins and Lierac for the gift bag contributions. We had a blast!
PS-Something else to know about today: Flip cams going to non-profits so they can document the cool stuff they do (great idea!).

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The winner of last week’s copy of Meg Cabot‘s How to be Popular is… BookBegger! Send me your address, BB. And, everyone should come join the chatting with Meg on the readergirlz forum.
0545068932.01._SX140_SCLZZZZZZZ_.jpg Now, on to this week’s contest. I’m giving away a copy of Matthue Roth’s Losers, which I read in an afternoon and just adored! Matthue is a really cool, energetic guy, and his hyperness comes through in the book in the best possible way as he tells the story of Jupiter, a smart/funny/off-beat foreign student who seeks popularity with a high school crowd that doesn’t quite understand him. The quirky world Matthue creates is one I wanted to keep spending time in–so much fun.
To enter to win this contest, you must buy someone a book for the upcoming holiday season. Seriously, books are the best gifts–how else can you buy someone a whole world for under $10? I’m getting a book for every single person on my list this year, which will mean lots of money saved and happy friends!
Comment below about a book you’re gifting this year. You can also list your purchases here and help booksellers sell a million books. That will get you an extra entry–just tell me you also commented at When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Buy Books.
I’ll choose a winning commenter next Wednesday, and you can have one more book to read and wrap up this winter!
Good luck.
PS-Something else to know about today, per my friends at The N: This awesome rock you like a Unicorn pin. Unicorns are all around these days!
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CG%20Gossip%20Girl%20cover.jpg When I saw the cover of the November COSMOgirl (RIP), I noticed that my story had a cover line (see lower left corner), which is usually a thrill. But then I realized I was being branded as a Gossip Girl, which I guess I was, but I’m not altogether proud of it.

In any case, I let the magazine print a page from my diary, so I’m sharing it here too. Rest assured that I’ve learned a LOT since high school. I still like to talk (which is probably why I blog so much), but I keep it positive!

Here’s the inside story:
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And, after the jump, you can see the real entry from my high school diary, scanned in here just for fun. It’s the same as in the magazine (except I so did not write “Dear Diary,” but you can see my handwriting, if that’s of interest.

Continue reading…

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First, I want to say that I am bummed about the news of slowing book sales, so I want to ask everyone to buy at least one book as a holiday gift this year (copying editorial ass’s inspiration)! That may be a part of Win-It Wednesday… hmm…. You can enter the titles of the books that you buy here and add some good book karma to the world!

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Also, I’m going to make my above request even more fun. If you buy one of the Violet books as a gift this year, I’ll send you an autographed bookplate signed for the recipient. Just email me and let me know where to send it–and do it soon so it’ll arrive in time!

Now, on to the story behind Violet in Private. I didn’t send a ton of inspiration images like I had for Violet by Design (story here), but I did send this one image (left) because I think the position of the model’s legs make her look kind of “private” and vulnerable, which is Violet’s mood in this book. Plus, I love these vintage book covers and this one is totally seventies in a very good way–check the glasses. Obviously, no one paid attention. Haha. But that’s okay. I did really express that I wanted Violet be on a college campus because this book is set largely in that world.

VIOLET%20IN%20PRIVATE-city.jpg When I saw the original cover design, I was shocked to see Violet’s face! I had gotten used to not seeing what she really looked like, though I was acquainted with Molly, the model who poses as Violet on the covers (look forward to an interview with her very soon!). I liked that she had sunglasses, though, which covered her eyes and keep her a bit of a mystery. I loved the deep purple coloring, and I adored her button-down shirt and lush-looking scarf, not to mention the killer heels. Totally honestly, I didn’t like the skirt. But I understood that the silhouette was a striking one, and that’s what the art department was going for–and is very good at!

Also, this cover obviously has a city background. I know the team at Penguin wanted the books to look very “glam,” which people tell me sells well, but I really felt strongly that I wanted Violet to be in a more grounded atmosphere, so I brought that point up with my editor. I also suggested that Violet have a book in her hands.

violet%20in%20private-lowres.jpg My editor went back for round two, and was able to get the background changed. They also played with Violet having a book in her hands, but I was told it looked awkward, so they nixed that. Ah well! I was really happy with the background change, especially because this building looks very much like Main Building at Vassar, where Violet lives in the book.
Overall, I am really happy with the three covers for the series. What do you guys think? (Don’t be shy because it’s me! I really want to know if you like the Violet covers–or not.)

Like I said, I’m going to interview Molly, who poses as Violet for these covers, later this month. She is super cool and has lots of interesting stories.
Happy Monday!

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Lucile did something really creative for the Big Violet Contest last summer–she wrote the first chapter of a novel that was inspired by Violet’s story. Now, I’m going to post a the short prologue of e. by Eleanor here. I really like it! (Lucile also drew some fashion designs to go with her story, but unfortunately, I can’t get them to show up as jpegs so I can’t post them. Sorry!)
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“Jumbo size of M&Ms? Check. Latest issue of Vogue? Check. Latest issue of NYLON? Check. Pack of cinnamon gum? Check.
“‘Flight 1694 for New York LaGuardia will begin boarding in five minutes with our First Class and Priority passengers.’
“To complete my checklist–and possibly because I’m always slightly paranoid that my plane ticket is going to vanish off the face of the planet somewhere between security and my handing it to the attendant at the gate–I look down at my lap for the ninety seventh time to check for my ticket.
“I know what you’re thinking: Why don’t you put it in your bag? Why don’t you put it in your wallet?
“Nope. It’s been sitting in my lap for the latest thirty four minutes since I got back from my trip to the newsstand and the bathroom and that’s where it’ll be until I get up to board the plane.
“Why? Because if it’s in my lap I can continue to read the ‘Arriving New York LGA 7:54 PM, Seat 1B, First Class.’ None of that is anything I haven’t seen before. Not even the First Class bit (back during one of his guilt trips, Dad flew us First Class to Telluride for Christmas a few years ago). No, what has my attention so focused is the combination of the ticket declaring that I, Eleanor Sheridan, am going to New York tonight, and the dress that is visible underneath said ticket.
“You see, it is that dress, the very one I am wearing now, that is, in many ways, the reason I am going to New York at all; the reason my lifelong dream of becoming a fashion designer just might be about to come true.”

So how did Eleanor get on this plane? And how will she prove to her cheerleader sister that being the artsy one has value? Maybe it has something to do with the red-headed woman who spotted her at a barbecue and told her that her dress, an original design, had a little bit of “Galliano, Lipsy, Stella, and a little Religion but from last season” in it.
Hopefully Lucile will keep writing and we can find out about Eleanor’s adventures in New York!
Thanks, Lucile!

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Is there anything better than a family beach walk?
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Hope everyone had great Thanksgiving weeks!

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I’m preparing for turkey, which means I had to pre-schedule this entry… you have one more week to win How to Be Popular by Meg Cabot, so keep the entries coming!
If you want a second entry into the contest, tell someone about Win-It Wednesday and this week’s giveaway (blog it, bulletin it, comment somewhere, talk about it, whatever works), and comment below tellling me that you did it. Voila! Two entries.
Yes, this is lazy, but I can’t be blogging all the time (just most).
Happy Thanksgiving!!

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On Sunday, Romer Pedron, a photographer and student at the Fashion Institute of Technology, photographed me for a project he’s doing on people “in the industry.” It was total fun and he had fancy equipment, like the umbrella light thingy. Here he is in my living room (obviously, I’m a blurry photographer):
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Hopefully I’ll post some of the photos soon.
In other news, I’m all over the place lately, but here are some two spots to find me:
1. Visit the readergirlz blog, where I wrote about LETTERS TO A BULLIED GIRL, an amazing new book (seriously, check this out).
2. Go to Teen Fiction Cafe, where I posted a new video blog about what I’m reading! (You can weigh in here on whether I sound like I have a lisp when I do vlogs…)
And I might not be around later this week. Thanksgiving calls! Anyone have cool plans?

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41bwdiHH8DL._SL500_AA240_.jpg Lynn Biederman is my facebook friend, and I fell so in love with her profile pic/book cover, that I had to ask her for a Cover Story. Little did I know there was drama, a teen survey, and saggy boobage involved. Exciting! Here’s Lynn:
“I thought about the cover of Unraveling 24/7 as my co-author and I were finishing edits. I’m very visually oriented, and everything in my eclectically cluttered house “speaks to me.” So, it was only natural for potential covers to appear nightly, like fashions coming down a runway. (Hello, Violet!) But cover ideas halted when, last minute, we decided to change the title from The Deal on the DL, which stood for The Deal on the Down Low, to Unraveling. The generally accepted meaning of “down low,” a situation kept quiet and private, suddenly had an alternate usage according to Wikipedia and a NY Times article released the day our edits were due — ‘down low’ also refers to men discreetly having sex with each other. No judgments at all, but not exactly matching the content of our book!
Despite a new title, we still wanted a cover that related to a pivotal part of the story–The Deal. Fifteen-year-old Amanda, frizzy-haired, and frazzled by a toxic relationship with her mother, whom she calls The Captain, thinks a solution to her problems has arrived when Rick, a popular senior, offers her a deal on the down low. The Deal is a date to the big Homecoming Dance in exchange for her promise to sleep with him. Amanda gets caught up in a whirlwind of analyzing friendships, virginity, and family as she weighs The Deal, all of which leads to her unraveling. We offered our ideas for the cover–Amanda in a prom-type dress with a thread coming out of the hem, as if pulling the gown apart, and spelling out Unraveling, our new title, in loopy string-like letters. Our editor, Stephanie Lane, liked the idea and passed it along to the powers that be. Soon after we received cover #1.
UnravelingComp_Final.jpg So, what did we think when we first saw this cover? We freaked. We screamed. We thought about torching the project and moving to Alaska (pre-Palin!). But we’re not dramatic, so we called our editor, who listened to our objections which included that the female pictured looked nothing like a 15 year old. In fact, we thought she appeared older than us–”even our boobies are perkier” my co-author and I told Stephanie. We agreed, however, to take a few days to let the cover sink in and see if our opinions changed.
During this brief totally-sweating it period, I looked at covers in bookstores and online, took note of trends, and developed a quick cover survey for girls 14-16, which I arranged to have handed out in a local high school. (Survey asked about fonts, colors, fave covers, etc.) Michelle lived in Ohio at this point, so she also gave out the survey and we compared NY teens and Ohio teens for more information. Then, we took our new wish list to Stephanie. We told her we wanted a photographic cover, set against white background, with a young teen matching the description of Amanda, and we wanted to see her face, not have a headless image. And we sent pictures of prom dresses and asked that it be lavender like the one Amanda wears in the story. We also talked colors and fonts for title (teens said font matters!) and Stephanie graciously took our comments to the art department.
41bwdiHH8DL._SS500_.jpg When we saw Take Two, we again freaked and screamed but this time out of total joy. What emerged is our beautiful, glorious cover. Our editor and everyone at RH loves, LOVES the cover. We get so many awesome comments about it and it completely matches the mood and tone of the story and captures Amanda, our main character, right down to her wild frizzy hair. We are so grateful to our editor and Kenny Holcomb, the art director. They both cared deeply about two never-been-published authors’ opinions. How great is that?!”
It’s so great! I love that Lynn and Michelle got their voices heard–and the cover is 1000x improved because of it, and the willingness of their editorial team to rework things. How gorgeous is that final cover? I love her hair, her dress, her gaze. Yay. Happy story.
What do you guys think?

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