Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What's Fresh with Antonio Pagliarulo's The Celebutantes: On The Avenue

The Hamilton Triplets--Madison, Park, and Lexington--are accustomed to living in the public eye. Heiresses to a billion-dollar media empire, they have been raised in New York's most elite social circles and, at 16, know firsthand the demands of being celebutantes. There are people to impress, appearances to make, and paparazzi to outrun. Not to mention high school to finish.

But when fashion editor Zahara Bell is found dead in a one-of-a-kind frock from Lex's unreleased clothing line, and then the priceless Avenue Diamond goes missing, getting to class is as far from the triplets' minds as their first pair of Manolos. One of the girls is a suspect, and the sisters find themselves in the middle of a scandal that could sink their reputations and their father's companies for good. And the press is ready, willing, and able to lend a hand.

The Hamilton sisters need to stick closer than ever before. The killer is still out there, and if they don't solve the case their threesome could become a twosome quicker than you can say Cartier.

Hey Antonio, thanks for chatting with us. Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Antonio: My road to publishing isn't exactly a short story, but it is an interesting one. Like most writers, I started writing at a very young age. I began publishing stories and articles and poetry while in high school. Then, in my senior year, I wrote a book. Being seventeen and fearless, I queried a top New York literary agent and, much to my surprise, she and her associate took me under their wing and taught me about the writing biz -- that is, what it means to be a professional writer. My first sale was actually a nonfiction book, which I loved writing. A few years later, I made the jump into the YA market with my first novel, A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEAT (Random House, 2006). It's been a lovely ride thus far. I guess you could say that my road to publication has been a combination of passion, perseverance, and having the good fortune to work with quite a few great people.

Readers and writers often like to get a behind the scenes peek of an author's writing routine. It would be great if you could please share your typical writing day schedule.

Antonio: All in all, I follow a pretty rigid routine. I'm at my computer early in the morning, loading up on caffiene and story lines. I write for a couple of hours, then check and respond to emails. I also fire off a few of my own. I tend to bother my agents and editor a lot (they're very kind and pretend not to be annoyed by me), and then it's back to work. I break early in the afternoon for lunch, turn on CNN to see what's happening in the world, and then hit my desk again. There are certain periods when I have to work on more than one project at a time; this makes for very long hours, ample amounts of caffeine, and a fan to get rid of the smoke that shoots out of my ears. If I'm not writing two different books, I might be working on one book and going over edits from the last one. It's busy. Writing is hard work, but it's also loads of fun.

I agree! Please tell us about your latest novel THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE and what we can expect from your characters.

Antonio: THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE (Random House) hits stores on May 22, 2007. It is the first book of new series, and it introduces the Hamilton triplets: Madison, Park, and Lexington. They're celebutantes; they're worldly and wealthy and incredibly fashionable, but they're also smart and ambitious and incredibly funny. What's more, they have a knack for solving crimes. In THE CELEBUTANTES: ON THE AVENUE, Madison, Park, and Lex investigate the murder of a high-powered fashion editor all while juggling fame, high school, and very busy private lives. The CELEBUTANTES series is a strong mix of everything readers want in a book: romance, suspense, humor, action, and flesh-and-blood characters. As Madison, Park, and Lexington Hamilton like to say: Fashion and forensics go hand-in-hand. The second book in the series, THE CELEBUTANTES: IN THE CLUB, will be published in early 2008, followed by THE CELEBUTANTES: TO THE PENTHOUSE, also in 2008. Readers can visit the website at: www.thecelebutantes.com

Great Antonio, I'm excited about your new series. What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Antonio: In addition to THE CELEBUTANTES series, I am working on a stand-alone thriller for young adults entitled THE NIGHT OF IAGO. It's the story of a brilliant young woman who gains entrance to her high school's elite literary society, only to discover that the society is linked to a brutal murder. Set against the backdrop of Shakespeare's Othello, THE NIGHT OF IAGO examines several pertinent issues -- friendship, betrayal, elitism, the psychology of criminal behavior among young adults. It's a complex story, but a very compelling story just the same. NIGHT OF IAGO will hit stores in early 2009. I am also working on my first thriller for adults.

Wow, Antonio, you're my latest author hero! LOL. Thanks so much for sharing with us and I wish you the best with your writing career. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Antonio: I always give the same writing tip: If you want to be a good writer, become a good reader. Read as much as possible. Study how your favorite writers write; listen for the voice, the rhythm of the narrative, and study how they delineate characters and build tension and juggle multiple plot lines. Reading should, of course, be enjoyable. But for a writer, reading should also be educational. So READ -- and read a lot!!

Antonio Pagliarulo is the author of The Celebutantes: On the Avenue (Random House, 2007) and A Different Kind of Heat (Random House, 2006), which was an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers and a 2007 New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age. He lives in New York City.

10 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Hey, Kelly, this was a pleasant surprise for me...I didn't know you had interviewed Antonio!

He and I both have the wonderful Krista Marino as our editor, and as he knows--we chat on MySpace--I am eagerly awaiting my copy of his book from Amazon right now!

Great interview, Kelly, and Antonio, wishing you a fabulous launch day!

Jessica Burkhart said...

Wow! Antonio is quite an inspiration! I loved this interview, Kelly. :)

Kelly Parra said...

Tina, so cool you guys share an editor! I think this has before. haha!

Antonio is a great guy, can't wait to read his books. :) :)
Jessica, I agree! Glad you guys enjoyed it!

Sara Z. said...

Yay, Antonio! I'm looking forward to the new series, and also hope it helps more people find A DIFFERENT KIND OF HEAT.

Kelly Parra said...

Hey Sara, I've read about HEAT and definitely want to check it out too! :)

stephhale said...

I have been waiting SOOOOOOOO long for this book. I can't hardly wait to get my copy.
His new ya thriller sounds awesome! What a busy guy. I feel like such a slacker.

Steph (slinks back off to work on revisions :)

Kelly Parra said...

You're not a slacker, Steph! Because then I'd be a slacker too, and we'll...we're just not, dangit. haha! :) :)

Lisa McMann said...

What an amazing author with an admirable work ethic. I've read HEAT and loved it. Am reading On The Avenue now. Antonio has the ability to write in different styles flawlessly.

Great blog and terrific interview, Kelly! And Antonio, you know you're my hero.

Kelly Parra said...

Thanks for commenting, Lisa! :) :)

Tamaraa said...

what can i say except i loved this novel and highly recommend as a great read!
Such a enjoyable storyline and the mystery kept me reading until i finished and am just craving more from this brilliant author who is Antonio Pagliarulo. Well done on this fantastic book even though im 14 and hardly have time to read books its a big thumbs up