Simmone Howell on Madonna, the Pussycat Dolls, and spandex

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Simmone Howell is the Aussie author of two fabulous YA novels - Notes From The Teenage Underground and Everything Beautiful. Her books are incredibly real, raw and honest. My personal favourite is Everything Beautiful, but both novels are powerful. Check out her blog, Post Teen Trauma. Megan of Literary Life and I recently did a book chat on Simmone Howell's second novel, Everything Beautiful. You can still win a copy of the novel here!

1. List the books you've written. Which one are you most proud of? Which was the hardest to write?

notes from the teenage underground and everything beautiful
NFTU was the hardest - it took AGES - because I wrote it in bits and pieces and had to kill off weird characters and nonsensical plotlines... and I'd just a had a BABY. But I am proud of both books. I think there was a lot that I learned rewriting NFTU that made EB easier... and it was less of an 'ideas' book and Riley, bless her, wouldn't shut up!

2. What three words would you use to describe yourself? (Don’t use the words ‘nice’, ‘pretty’ or ‘good’ because your Grade Six teacher will read this and be very disappointed)

tired right now

3. Complete this sentence: My teenage years were...

full of sound and fury. I kept trying to run away. I was always asking my mum if I should go to a psychiatrist (she didn't think so). I could not get a boyfriend. I wrote essays based on song lyrics. My favourite occupation was watching TV movies.

4. Have you always wanted to write for young people? Or did you set out to become a brain surgeon and wind up stumbling down this path? Was the road to publication rocky for you?

i always always wanted to be a writer. Or an artist. If I was smart I would have become an art teacher - but it's not too late. Other dream occupations included film reviewer or band booker.

5. Who were your biggest inspirations and idols growing up and today?

I was obsessed with madonna until she started working out. Then in high school I loved pamela des barres, the 60s supergroupie. Today I am inspired by patti smith and my mum and people who are self-sufficient but I don't idolize anyone anymore...

6. Who are your favourite authors and what novels do you love best?

so many: j d salinger, patricia highsmith, charles willeford, paul auster, barry gifford, carsen mccullers, raymond carver, nathaneal west, TC Boyle, Denis Johnson, raymond chandler, gavin lambert

YA-wise I love jenny valentine, meg rosoff, kevin brooks, sarah dessen, cecil castellucci, francesca lia block, ron koertge, ellen wittlinger: some recent (ish) ozya books I loved are: pip, the story of olive by kim kane, a brief history of montmaray by michelle cooper, the push by julia lawrinson and the good daughter by amra pajalic ....

7. If you were in a novel (any one you’ve read), who would you be?

I would be moominpappa endlessly working on his memoirs ...
(from Finn Family Moomintroll)

8. Did you have an imaginary friend as a child? (Or today? Don’t worry; we won’t call the men in white coats on you)

No and no.

9. Complete this sentence: My life outside of writing is...

real nice.

10. If you were a superhero, what would be your name, power and costume?

i seriously don't know how to answer this question! For some reason I thought of spandex ... I would like to be able to freeze the world at will ...and erase bad people and mcdonalds and the pussycat dolls

11. Xena Warrior Princess or Sabrina the Teenage Witch?


12. Have you read Twilight? Did you enjoy it? Do you secretly believe your own books are better? (I know you do, don’t try to lie…)

I read about a third of it then I had to give it back to the library and then it became huge and was stolen from the library and other books started calling to me ... I will find it again and finish it, however. And I applaud anyone who can write in their head while watching their kids at swimming lessons. I saw the movie because I love Catherine Hardwicke, but I have trouble with the whole suspension of disbelief thing. Maybe my books aren't better ... 50000000000000000 people can't be wrong (or can they?) I issue a challenge: get 50000000000000000 people to read my books and ask them.

Thanks Simmone! Remember to check out her blog! (And yes, I know the titles of my posts are misleading. I'm in training to write for soap magazines.)

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