Wednesday, February 06, 2008

What's Fresh with Micol Ostow! (Actually, there is a lot of fresh going on!)

Hi Micol, thanks so much for joining us! Could you please tell us a little about your writing background and how you made your first sale?

Micol: Sure! I started out working as an editor, first at Simon & Schuster, and later, at Penguin, working mostly on commercial teen and tween fiction. It was at S&S that I rediscovered my LOVE for YA, though at the time, I no designs on being a writer. Luckily I had some fantastic bosses and mentors who recognized my passion for writing and encouraged me. When I left S&S, I was immediately hired to write a work for hire for them for a media tie-in program (remember the show AMERICAN DREAMS?). That was a crash course in hitting a deadline, and from there I was off! I basically spent the next three years editing by day and writing by night, alternating between ghostwriting for various series and writing my own original material.

My real big break was the chance to write a romantic comedy for the Simon Pulse line, which became 30 GUYS IN 30 DAYS. You may have seen the ro coms in the bookstore--they get great placement and are really popular. It was a fabulous opportunity for me, since I had the security of the line's success, but the freedom to write a standalone story. To this day I get lots of fan mail about that book and have written two more for the line (GETTIN' LUCKY, CRUSH DU JOUR).

Wow, Micol, great! I'm a big fan of S&S *grin* And yes, I love the Simon Pulse Romantic Comedies. 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.

Micol: I'm still working on it!

Honestly, there isn't a whole lot of "typical" in my schedule, especially since I'm still in school (Vermont College, MFA in writing for Children and Young Adults). My program is low-residency, but about once a month I have a week where I hunker down and do nothing but schoolwork.

Tuesday nights I teach through media bistro (, so Mondays and Tuesdays are basically spent editing my student's work and polishing up my lectures. Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays are my days for my own writing or schoolwork. Generally speaking, I'm up early-ish and off to the gym, then I spend an hour or so on emails and other boring administrative stuff. On a good day, I get in about four hours or so of writing or revising. Then with any luck there's time to take the dog to the park and still cook something for dinner (though I'd be lying if I didn't admit to having the local sushi place on speed dial!)

That is an incredible schedule! Please tell us about your latest novel and what we can expect from your characters.

My current work in progress is a hybrid graphic novel tentatively titled I'M WITH THE TRIBE: A GUY, A GUITAR, AND A DATE WITH (NON-DENOMINATIONAL) DESTINY (July '09). It's the story of a yeshiva (Jewish day-school) boy who decides to start up a garage band to amp up his "cool quotient," only to discover in the process that he's actually a budding artist. It's also about religious and moral identity, independence, and, of course, the angst of unrequited crushing. Oh, and the quintessential divide between pop and indie music.

My brother is the illustrator and we have had a blast working together. His drawings are FAB. And Flux, our publisher, always does such a great job with buzz--and such brilliant editing, so this project has us really excited!

I've become a big fan of graphic novels, so looking forward to it! What's up next? Do you have another project in the works? If so, please tell us about it.

Micol: My next book out is called POPULAR VOTE. It's coming from Scholastic Point in November '08 (natch), to tie in loosely with the election. It's the story of an overachieving girl who becomes fed up with both her father, the Mayor, and her boyfriend, the perpetual class president. Ultimately she decides to run *against* her (ex)boyfriend for student government, and to challenge her father's platform. Obviously wackiness ensues. It should be some fun and timely chick lit. Keep an eye out!

Will do, Micol! Thanks for a great interview, and I wish you the best with everything--your novels and school. Would you like to close with a writing tip?

Micol: Hmm...Being in school, and in New York City and surrounded by brilliant writers, I feel very tipped-out. I think what's been most helpful to me in the last year has been READING so much of what's out there--as an editor, I didn't have the time, but it's required for my MFA program. I'm constantly inspired and impressed by other writing, and I honestly believe that reading other people's material is the best way to keep your own creative juices flowing.

Micol Ostow is the author of dozens of books for children, tweens, and teens. She has written and/or ghostwritten several media tie-in and series novels for Penguin, Scholastic, and Simon & Schuster.

Her first hardcover novel, EMILY GOLDBERG LEARNS TO SALSA, was released by Penguin Razorbill in November 2006, and was named a New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age.

Currently, Micol is pursuing an MFA in writing for children and young adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives a caffeine-addled existence in New York City.

She also has a French Bulldog named Bridget Jones who is her biggest fan.

Visit Micol (and Miss Jones) at:

5 fresh comments:

TinaFerraro said...

Hi, Micol, wow, okay, I thought I was busy...your schedule here of commitments and books made my head spin.

Your books sound great, and I know I've seen 30 DAYS being passed around here by local teens.

Thanks for joining us!

Little Willow said...

Hurrah, Micol and Kelly! :)

micolz said...

Oh, Tina--note that I explained that was my IDEAL day. Keep in mind it's almost lunchtime and here I still am on the couch in my pj's!

Thanks for having me!

Lisa McMann said...

Great interview! Sounds like a really fun book!


Kelly Parra said...

Thanks again for joining us, Micol!