I'd like to welcome Jillian Larkin, author of Vixen (one of my favorite books of 2010!)
Bookworm: Hi, Jillian! To start off: what was the inspiration behind Vixen?
Jillian: I'm a huge film nerd, so a lot of my inspiration comes from movies. One of my favorite films is Annie Hall. I think Annie is such a fantastic character. She's smart, funny, and the lady pulls off suits like it's her job. Her actual job as a nightclub singer helped spark the inspiration for Gloria and her story.
Splendor in the Grass is another big inspiration. It's a gorgeous film that takes place in the 1920s and deals with some very heavy, modern issues. It helped me realize that being a teenager girl back in the Jazz Ages wasn't as different from being one in contemporary times as one might think.
Bookworm: What drew you to writing a book set in the 1920s?
Jillian: I've been in love with the Roaring Twenties practically since before I could remember. I was obsessed with the film Thoroughly Modern Millie as a kid and forced my family to watch it with me repeatedly. I've always admired the independence and strength flappers showed and it continues to inspire me. Also writing about gorgeous jazz, fantastic slang, and sparkly dresses is deliciously fun.
Bookworm: If you could travel back in time, what era would you visit, and
Jillian: Would it be too boring and predictable of me to say the 1920s? I really would love to spend and evening at the Cotton Club listening to Fletcher Henderson and his orchestra play while dancing the Charleston. I would also like to visit the 1960s. That's another era with some amazing fashion, musicians, and historical events that would've been wonderful to witness firsthand.
Bookworm: Which character in Vixen as your favorite to write about?
Jillian: Aw, I love them all in different ways. Before I decided I wanted to be a writer, I planned to pursue musical theater. I still love to sing, but mainly in the shower, so it's nice to follow Gloria through her musical aspirations. Clara is how I wish I had been in high school. She's witty, smart, and unafraid to speak her mind. Despite the fact that she's lying about who she is, I think Clara knows herself best out of the three girls. I have fun with Lorraine too, since she can be silly in ways Gloria and Clara would never be.
Bookworm: What's next for the characters of Vixen in the novel's upcoming sequel, Ingenue?
Jillian: Each of the girls is thrust outside of her comfort zone in the next novel. Instead of the pampered ease to which they've grown accustomed, they try to make their way in new careers and settings. This novel takes place in New York rather than Chicago, which was easier on me research-wise since I live here. A new main character also comes into the fold.
Bookworm: What YA book have you read recently and loved?
Jillian: I recently read Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins for the second time because I read it too quickly the first time, haha. I just love that Suzanne Collins didn't go the easy District 13 = Good, Capital= Bad route. She acknowledges that no side is without corruption and it's staying true to your own values that matters.
Bookworm: What are your writing essentials (snacks, music, setting...)?
Jillian: I have a special Flappers playlist with authentic 1920s as well as Jazz Age-influenced jazz that I always listen to while working on the series. I have three favorite Brooklyn coffee shops I alternate between which all have delicious iced coffee and vegetarian options. When I'm home, I lay on my bed, bend my knees, and write with my computer in my lap. It's probably terrible for my neck but great for inspiration. :)
Bookworm: If Vixen were made into a movie, who would pick to play the main characters?
Jillian: I think Emma Stone would be a fantastic Gloria. She's gorgeous, feisty, and she can even sing! For Clara I could see Dianna Agron from Glee or Mia Wasikowska. Lorraine's tougher..maybe Troian Avery Bellisario? She's got the right kind of angular beauty.
Bookworm: If you could be any one of the characters for a day, who would you choose?
Jillian: It depends on which day--there are certain times in Vixen when I wouldn't want to be any of them! But I would love to spend a day living Clara's fabulous old New York life.
Thanks so much, Jillian! Check out the Flappers website here, where you can see the (gorgeousamazingwonderful) book trailer and Flapper-ize yourself!
Make sure to check out Jillian's upcoming blog tour stops, too:
Jan. 23-The Book Scout
Jan. 24-Bloggers Heart Books
Jan. 25-Daisy Chain Book Reviews
Jan. 26-Moonlight Book Reviews
Jan. 27-Teen Reads