Elise Allen

Elise Allen

Elise Allen is the author of POPULAZZI, co-author of the New York Times Bestselling ELIXIR series, and of the upcoming AUTUMN’S SECRET GIFT, first book in the JIM HENSON’S ENCHANTED SISTERS series. She also has a penchant for sharing her web page with wild Muppet chickens. Check it out at www.eliseallen.com!

MACI & ZOE:
What’s your favorite bookstore?

ELISE:
Vroman’s in Pasadena. It’s huge, everyone who works there is both genuinely lovely and knowledgeable about books, and the place is wonderfully supportive of authors.

MACI & ZOE:
Do you read books on an electronic device or a real book?

ELISE:
Both. Often if I get excited about something I want it NOW, so I download for immediate satisfaction. That said, nothing’s as good as a real book in my hand. Most of the time I’m juggling at least two books: one on the phone (ipad’s a bigger interface, but my phone’s with me all the time) and one real book.

MACI & ZOE:
How did you get started writing?

ELISE:
I’ve been writing as long as I can remember; my first “published” work was a story I wrote in fourth grade about my cat as a hard-nosed detective. It was culled from all the student writing and published in the end-of-year anthology sent out to all the parents. I was beyond-all-proportion proud. I kept writing after that, but it never occurred to me that it could be a profession. In fact, I came here to L.A. to act. Everyone I worked with knew this, to the point that when I was production secretary in the Saved By The Bell world and one of the California Dreams writers named a 1-line character after me, the fabulous Franco the Producer, and his ever-faithful companion Josh gave me the role. I said, “Whoa, that guitar player is hot.” I now show the clip at school talks to explain why I quickly STOPPED pursuing acting.

Actually, Franco, Josh, and Chris at Saved by the Bell were directly responsible for making me a writer by profession. When opportunities for outside scripts came up on the shows, Franco and Josh told me about it, told me I needed a spec (a sample script of a show already on the air), and encouraged me. I didn’t get that first opportunity, but I loved writing the spec and knew writing was my path for the future. My first produced script was a Saved By the Bell: The New Class (thank you Franco and Josh), and my first job on a writing staff was on Cosby (a job I got through Chris the associate producer on Saved by the Bell).

What I’m saying is I pretty much owe your dad some kind of finder’s fee.

As for moving from scripts into books… that happened later. In the interest of not talking (typing?) your ear off, I won’t go into every detail right this second. 🙂

MACI & ZOE:
What books are you reading right now?

ELISE:
I just finished going through all of John Green’s books in chronological order. When I like an author, or think I might like an author, I like starting from his or her first book and reading up to the latest. I also recently read Matthew Quick’s Forgive Me Leonard Peacock. Matthew and John Green are two of my favorite YA writers, and I will always read everything they write.

As for what I’m reading right now (your actual question…), it’s a tough answer because I started a book I’m not loving, and I’ll probably end up putting it down and moving on. I have a couple Mary Roach non-fiction books on my shelf calling to me way louder than this one.

MACI & ZOE:
How many books do you read a year?

ELISE:
Great question, but I don’t have a great answer because I don’t count. “Zillions” is probably an exaggeration… but not a big one.

MACI & ZOE:
What’s your favorite dessert?

ELISE:
A really really good lemon meringue pie. Mouth watering thinking about it…

MACI & ZOE:
How long does it take you to write a book?

ELISE:
Really depends on the book. Populazzi took anywhere from two to eight years depending on how you look at it (eight years percolating in different versions; two years from selling it to the final draft). On the quicker end of things, I wrote an adaptation of the movie Frozen from Anna’s point of view (for Disney — not something I did randomly on my own), and that only took a couple weeks.

MACI & ZOE:
What are you working on now?

ELISE:
2014’s going to be a GREAT year for books (at least for me)! In fall I have a series coming out called Jim Henson’s Enchanted Sisters, and the first book is called Autumn’s Secret Gift. The series is for young readers, ages 7-10, and I wrote it with The Jim Henson Company, which I adore. The books are about the Seasonal Sparkles — four sisters who are best friends, but have VERY different personalities and quirks. They live in a realm just a sidestep from our own and have the power and responsibility to control the changing of seasons in our world. Yet when they’re not doing that, they have wild adventures together as they dream big, play hard, and do their best to avoid the wicked nastiness of Bluster Tempest and his awful Weeds.

I’m also honored to work with the incredibly talented Bella Thorne. Her book series, Autumn Falls, will also come out in 2014, and I’m co-writing it with her. I can’t say much about this series at the moment, but I’m absolutely loving it!

Beyond that there are some more things in the works… but nothing I can share at the moment. Everything I can share is on my website, www.eliseallen.com. I’ve been hideous at keeping it up, but New Year’s Resolution — I will give it more time and attention in 2014!

MACI & ZOE:
What gave you the idea for the book Populazzi?

ELISE:
I was reading Custom of the Country by Edith Wharton, and it hit me the very stratified society of turn-of-last-century Manhattan was a lot like the equally stratified world of high school. That’s how the idea started percolating, but before I could make it work, I had to solve a puzzle. In Wharton’s book, Undine is an incredibly unlikeable social climber. That’s on purpose. It’s a biting satire, and it’s terrific. I loved that, but I didn’t want to do the same. Instead, I wanted to create a character who’d make the choice to social climb, but in a way that kept her likable and relatable. It took a long time to crack the nut, but in the end I feel like (I hope!) I succeeded, and I’m really happy with the result.

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(as of 27-12-2013 02:41:49 UTC - Details)

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