August 21st, 2012

The Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit presents Elise Allen!

popThe Girlfriends' Cyber Circuit is a web ring of YA authors. Check these posts for the latest releases!

After starting her career in television, ELISE ALLEN has emerged as a vibrant new voice in teen fiction. She is the co-author of Hilary Duff's New York Times Bestseller Elixir, as well as its sequels, Devoted and True. She received an Emmy nomination for her work on the PBS show Dinosaur Train, and fulfilled a lifelong dream when she wrote for the Muppets. She lives in Los Angeles, where she indulges her inexplicable desire to run marathons. Visit her at, or on Twitter @EliseLAllen.

WHAT WOULD YOU DO if you had the chance to erase your past and reinvent yourself as the person you’ve always wanted to be? Would you grab it? Would you stick with it, no matter what the consequences?

Cara Leonard always wished she could be one of those girls: confident, self-possessed, and never at a loss for the perfect thing to say. One of the Populazzi.

It always seemed impossible… but now could be her chance.

When Cara moves to a new school just before junior year, her best friend urges her to seize the opportunity and change her life… with the help of The Ladder. Its rungs are relationships, and if Cara transforms herself into the perfect girlfriend for guys higher and higher on the Popularity Tower, she can reach the ultimate goal: Supreme Populazzi, the most popular girl in school.

The Ladder seems like a lighthearted social experiment — a straight climb up — but it quickly becomes gnarled and twisted. And when everything goes wrong, only the most audacious act Cara can think of has a chance of setting things even a little bit right.

Jenn: What’s your favorite gizmo advertising your book?

Elise: I have a book trailer!

The coolest thing about the trailer was that we shot it in my house, and it was a wild adventure. A crew of incredibly talented people all but donated their time and energy for a day I’ll never forget. We had so many lights going that we blew all power about halfway through the shoot. Luckily one of the grips is also a master electrician… and an actor – he’s one of the voiceover guys at the end. My daughter loved the shoot because she got to hang out in the hair and makeup department (a.k.a. my home office) all day, and get made over again and again.

EliseJenn: How does this book fit in with your others? Is it part of a series, unrelated but the same sort of book, or a real departure?

Elise: This is my debut solo YA novel, but it’s definitely a departure from my other work. I co-write Hilary Duff’s Elixir series, which is paranormal, so very different from Populazzi. When I’m not writing books, I write kids’ TV and Barbie movies, both of which have a very different audience. Comedy would be the one thing that ties together all my work – no matter what the genre, I have a lot of trouble dislodging my tongue from my cheek.

Jenn: What’s the weirdest thing you were doing or the weirdest place you were when you came up with part of this book?

Elise: Wow… I have absolutely no idea, but I do remember exactly where I was when I got the call that Populazzi sold. I was at Disneyland, about to board the raft to Tom Sawyer Island (yes, yes, I know it’s Pirate Island now, but whatever, I still call it Tom Sawyer), which is perfectly appropriate since it’s the Happiest Place on Earth!

Jenn: What good books have you read lately?

Elise: I’m on a Nora Ephron kick as my way of mourning her loss. I just finished I Feel Bad About My Neck, which is both hysterical and soul-wrenching, especially as she ponders the horrible finality of death – comically – in the book’s final essay. Now I’m going back to her beginning and reading Heartburn, which is sharp, witty, and everything you’d expect from the woman who made When Harry Met Sally.

Jenn: What’s next for you?

Elise: The most immediate thing is the third and final installment of the Elixir series. It’s called True, and comes out in April 2013. In the meantime, I’m working on a bunch of TV and book projects… but they’re all at a place where I’m not allowed to talk about them yet!

Thanks so much for hosting me, Jenn! I loved the questions and had a lot of fun!