The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 14:
Her father's "bunny rabbit."
A mildly geeky girl attending a highly competitive boarding school.
Frankie Landau-Banks at age 15:
A knockout figure.
A sharp tongue.
A chip on her shoulder.
And a gorgeous new senior boyfriend: the supremely goofy, word-obsessed Matthew Livingston.
No longer the kind of girl to take "no" for an answer.
Especially when "no" means she's excluded from her boyfriend's all-male secret society.
Not when her ex boyfriend shows up in the strangest of places.
Not when she knows she's smarter than any of them.
When she knows Matthew's lying to her.
And when there are so many, many pranks to be done.
Frankie Landau-Banks, at age 16:
Possibly a criminal mastermind.
This is the story of how she got that way.
Jenn: Do you write full-time?
E.: I write full time. Mainly, my old jobs just show up in my novels. For example, when I was in college, I worked in a Birkenstock store, which figures prominently in the book I'm currently writing, which is the third novel in the series that started with The Boyfriend List and The Boy Book. I also taught aerobics, worked as an actress, babysat and answered phones in a talent agency -- all of which have come in handy for creating imaginary situations in my stories.
For a number of years I supplemented my fiction-writing by writing articles for magazines, and by teaching college; gradually, I phased both of those out. I liked the teaching, but there was no future in it as a part-timer. I didn't much like the magazine writing, because I had to do some stupid stupid stuff for money. "Seven Sex Questions You've Always Wanted Answers To" -- they gave me the questions, and I had to find expert responses. One of the questions was (prepare for grossness here): Can you get HIV from someone else's used tampon?
I was like, WHY is ANYONE touching someone else's used tampon? That is bonkers! In what scenario would that be happening? Every expert I called laughed at me. I rang the editor and said, "This is NOT a question anyone needs answering." And she was just like, "That's our question. We think our readers want to know the answer."
For another article, about being nude in public (like at nude beaches, saunas, locker rooms, etc.) the editor called me up and asked me if I could please add something into the piece I'd written about how much I hated my butt. How I covered it so no one could see it, something like that. I said, "I don't hate my butt! My butt is fine!" And she said, "We just want you to talk about how you hate your body." I said "I don't hate my body!" And she said, "Okay, fine, but could you just say that you do? Because our readers would like it better."
Okay. Sorry for the digression! Now that you see why I quit magazine writing, I'll tell you I've been completely full time for about three years.
Jenn: Where do you write?
E.: In my pink office! It is a mess.
Jenn: What makes you happiest about writing?
E.: Just the days when it goes well and I feel I've made something pretty cool, and I don't know quite how it happened, but there it is on the page.
Jenn: Give us a run-down on all your books. How do you see this new book fitting into the work you’ve produced so far?
E.: The Boyfriend List: Girl suffers panic attacks after bad breakup and losing all her friends. A comedy with footnotes.
The Boy Book: Sequel to The Boyfriend List. With penguins!
Fly on the Wall: Girl wishes to be a fly on the wall of the boys' locker room in her high school. And her wish comes true.
Dramarama: Summer musical theater camp. Jazz hands. Gold lamé. Broken friendships. Dreams come true.
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks: Girl infiltrates all-male secret society at boarding school. Feminist adventure comedy!
The Disreputable History is my first book for teens in third person. It has more action, more plot, more philosophy. It is, generally, a more ambitious book than those that came before it, and I kind of can't believe I finished writing it.
Thanks for having me on your blog Jennifer!
Give E. a shout out at theboyfriendlist.com.