4 September 2009

Interview: ZOË FOSTER, the author of AIR KISSES

If you been reading this blog for a while, then you surely remember that I really enjoyed a book called Air Kisses - no? In that case, you can read my review of it here. A summary for the tl;dr crowd: I absolutely loooved it!
Well, a while after I posted my silly little review, I received a really wonderful thank you email from the author of the book and me being the smart woman that I am, I took the opportunity and asked her for an interview (right after I recovered from the shock of receiving such an awesome email from such a great writer, hehe) and Zoë kindly agreed to it so without further ado I present to you my first author interview starring the fabulous Zoë Foster, the author of Air Kisses!

1. Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your debut novel Air Kisses?
I've been writing beauty for around 6 years, first as the beauty director at Cosmo, then at Harper's BAZAAR, and now at www.primped.com.au. I wrote Air Kisses while at Cosmo, which is probably why it's based on a novice beauty editor at a glossy magazine. All fiction, of course.

2. Where does your passion for beauty come from? Has it developed after you've started your first job as a beauty editor, or is it something that has always fascinated you?
I always loved fooling round with makeup and hair, but I wasn't aware there was a whole job that existed where you were paid to do this. I didn't even know what a beauty editor was. I was just a journalist on a teen music mag who was lucky enough to be poached for the job at Cosmo, partly, I think because I wasn’t “of the beauty world”, and thus not too deep in to be able to relate to my readers from their perspective. Even now, as someone is as absolutely entrenched in the beauty arena, I try to maintain a voice and interest and writing style that mimics The General Public. As in, ‘What do I need that for? But it’s so expensive! How do I use it? Do I REALLY need it? Will it make me look like Angelina Jolie? Why not? Are there any chips left?’

3. Judging by the book (which is apparently based on your own experiences), the job of a beauty editor is far more fun(ky) and glamorous than most people would probably expect. What are some of your craziest and most extravagant experiences as a beauty editor?
Oh man. It’s one loco little ride, let me tell you. Last week, for example, Nivea took a gloss of beauty editors to learn how to do trapeze. In a couple of weeks Clinique is flying us all up to Queensland for a two nights. One time Biotherm flew us up to Byron bay for lunch. And another time, Elizabeth Arden took us in choppers to a day spa for breakfast and a massage, before choofing us off home. It is safe to say being a beauty editor is one of the wildest, most privileged, most obscenely spoiled professions in existence. I plan to never retire. EVER. (You can trapeze at 87, right?)

4. After working for a couple of important glossies, you've set up your own beauty site Primped. Care to tell us more about that?
I started a blog, fruitybeauty, while at Cosmo, back in 2006. This was because I had waaay too much product information and too many tips/tricks in my head and needed more than three dot points in the magazine to explain it all. This was a prescient move as it turned out, because when Independent Digital Media decided to launch a web 2.0 beauty website last year, (PRIMPED) they approached me to edit it, in lieu of my masthead magazine experience and my TTLY GR8 blogging/online skillzzz LOL!!!!! :)

5. How did your publishing deal come about? How long did it take you to get published?
I gave some chapters to a literary agent at Curtis Brown, who kindly informed me they had legs. (Waxed and tanned, of course.) Which was nice. From that moment til signing with Penguin it was a few months, I think, but the novel didn't hit the shelves for another year after that. It takes aaaaages from signing contracts to on-the-shelfyness.

6. Are your characters inspired by real people? And most importantly, how did you come up with such amazing male characters???
I’d be one filthy little liar if I said my characters weren't each a cocktail of Real Life friends/workmates/acquaintances. Most of the boys were also amalgamations, but with Dec there was a big element of fantasy. So many girls have asked me who the Real Dec is, (and may they have his number) but he's probably one of the only purely fictional characters. (Annoying.)

7. If Air Kisses was turned into a film, which actors would you like to see starring in it? What song would fit the film theme perfectly?
Actress... I adore Natalie Portman. Would love her to play Hannah. Song? Probably something by Fiest or Robyn.

8. What books are you working on now?
I've just finished my third book, another lady fiction number about the life of a footballer's girlfriend, which goes on sale here Feb 2010. My second book, Textbook Romance, is out next month and is a non-fiction dating book.
I have as much, or possibly more passion for writing about dating and relationships as beauty. I've been the dating columnist at Cosmo for a while now, and seem to be the bird all my friends - male/female/gay/straight/married/single - come to for advice/tough love when they need it. "What should I write back." That's the question I get the most. And I REVEL in answering it. I'm actually quite a pain in the ass when it comes to male-female dynamics, I love to dish my opinion even when it's entirely unsolicited. (Bus drivers, baristas, workmates...)

9. You're obviously a very busy woman, so how do you even find the time to write? What's your writing strategy like and how long does it usually take you to finish a book?
Oh man, it's all about discipline. Be screwed without it. Since signing my three-book deal (at 26) I've pretty much spent every Saturday, 6am til 2pm writing my books. Wasn’t always fun knowing every one else was splashing around frivolously in the waves or eating hamburgers in American style diners and chatting about the prom and if the football team would win that weekend or being hungover from a huge night on the turps while I was cooped up, blinds down, smashing keys. Laptop came on every holiday, too. Because I've worked full time the entire time, each book has taken around six months to actually write, but then the editing back and forth usually takes another six. If I was purely writing books, no full time work, and had an IV feeding me espresso, I reckon I could smash out a book in 2-3 months.

10. Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read a lot. Write a lot. And never, ever use the excuse 'I have no time.' No one has the time, you gotta make the time. It's one of my pet hates hearing people say, 'I'm gonna write a book, you know.' And then hearing them say it again and again for years. Do it already! Start! See what happens! You'll never know if you really want to - or can - do it, until you start. And don't think you have to start at the beginning. I started my first novel by getting down anecdotes I knew I wanted in, then creating the story and characters around them. Kind of felt like cheating. Awesome.

11. What are some of your favourite novels and which authors do you generally look up to?
I'm a bit of an oddball: I oscillate between self-help mind expanders like Eckhart Tolle or male humorists like David Sedaris.

Thanks so much, Zoë!

So far the novel has been published with three different covers, which you can see below (original hardback, Australian paperback and the UK paperback respectively). Which one's your favourite?

And if you still don't know what the novel is about, then let the author introduce it to you herself! (Isn't her accent fantastic? :D)

Lastly, two more important things you can do: a) you can follow the fabulous Ms Foster on Twitter @zotheysay and b) you can vote for her for the Cosmopolitan Fun Fearless Female Award in the Author section. Oh and you could also pick up a copy of Air Kisses (yay for free worldwide delivery) and have some fun reading it. :)


Rebekka said...

Awww that is so sweet. I love authors who do things like that :) Hopefully I'll be able to get a copy of Air Kisses too.

Kate said...

Great interview. I have not heard of the author or book before. Will have to check her out.

Catriona said...

Aww i love the interview :) definitely going to buy the book now! Im so jealous of her though, she's accomplished so much!x

Book Chick City said...

What a great review! I haven't read anything by this author but think I will now. :)

Book Chick City said...

And of course I meant interview ;)

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