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Talking to Deborah Blumenthal about MAFIA GIRL

Talking to Deborah Blumenthal about MAFIA GIRL

At her exclusive Manhattan high school, seventeen-year-old Gia is the most hated/loved girl in school. Why? Her father doesn’t have a boss. He is the boss–the capo di tutti cappi, boss of all bosses. Not that Gia cares. But life gets complicated when she meets a cop she calls “Officer Hottie” and feels a suprising chemistry. Then Vogue magazine wants to feature Gia in a fashion spread about real-life bad girls. On top of this, she’s running for class president. Can Gia step out from under her dad’s shadow and show everyone there’s more to her than “Mafia Girl?

LB: You’re the rare author who publishes books for adult, teen, and young readers. Do you find it easier to write for one audience over the other?  

 DB: It’s fun for me to write for different audiences, but I’d never say that one is easier than another – or easy at all.  No matter what age group you’re writing for, you need to tell your story in a compelling way. And the more I write, the higher I raise the bar for myself.

LB:What gave you the inspiration for your latest novel, Mafia Girl?

DB: Well I was a Sopranos fan, and one day I began imagining what it would be like to be the teenage daughter of a mob boss.

 LB: I was wondering if The Sopranos had anything to do with it! Moving from TV to film, tell us your dream cast for the movie Mafia Girl.  

DB:A reader who reviewed the book online saw Lauren Conrad as Gia, and I have to say that she certainly looks the way I envision Gia.  I have a picture in my mind of what Michael, the green-eyed cop looks like, but I haven’t cast him yet in my head.

LB: The cover is absolutely gorgeous. Was that the first cover they showed you, or did you go through several? How did you feel when you first saw the cover?

DB: Actually that was the first cover that I was shown and I liked it right away.  We did discuss the font though and the metallic “bling” look of it.

LB: You published your first novel, Fat Chance, a decade ago. How has the experience of writing and publishing a novel changed? 

DB: It really hasn’t changed all that much in terms of writing the book. What has changed is the emergence of ebooks, and the whole world of online marketing.  There were also more newspapers and magazines reviewing books when Fat Chance first came out.

 LB:  I read that you spent four years as The New York Times magazine beauty columnist. That sounds like a dream job. What was it like? 

 DB: It was a lot of fun, although I was one of the first beauty writers to do investigative type beauty stories, not just report on new products and trends.  I reported on the introduction of Retin-A to the market, the fact that baby products weren’t tested on babies, and the dangers associated with using mascara when the preservatives failed.

LB: Who are your favorite authors? 

 DB: In the young adult field, which is what I’m reading most lately, I’m a big fan of Rainbow Rowell, Jenny Han, and Gayle Foreman. In the adult field, I love Anita Shreve and Sue Miller.

LB: What’s next for you?

DB: I have a new YA novel called A Different Me, that’s coming out in September from Albert Whitman.  It’s about three girls who want to have their noses done for very different reasons. And I’m in the process of finishing another YA, but it’s too early to talk about that one.

MAFIA GIRL by Deborah Blumenthal/ Albert Whitman & Company/March 4, 2014