Thursday, April 24, 2008

Day 4: Debbie on Alice in Wonderland

2k8: Welcome, peeps, to the Class of 2k8's blog. We're celebrating the launch of debut young adult author Debbie Reed Fischer's Braless in Wonderland. Yup. Braless in Wonderland is out in the world and making friends everywhere! 

So, Debbie, how does working in the modeling business compare to working as a writer?

Debbie Reed Fischer: Aside from inspiring the characters and plot, every day in the agency is a race. You’re racing other agencies to get the best models before anyone else signs them, you’re racing to get models to their castings on time, you’re racing to make sure the model arrives at her booking before the photographer loses light. Every situation in the modeling business is a deadline situation, just like publishing. It’s excellent preparation for doing any job well under pressure, I think. It’s also a very creative, artistic environment, which inspired me a lot. I still enjoy feeling that vibe when I visit my friend Allee at the agency.

2k8: Allee? You mean like your main character?

Debbie Reed Fischer: Yes, there is a real Allee, and she’s a modeling agent. She and my character are not the same person, though. It’s just a name thing.

2k8: Ahhh.... And just how important is the South Beach setting in your book?

Debbie Reed Fischer: Very. I wanted elements of Alice in Wonderland to be woven throughout the story, and there is no place more Wonderland-esque than Miami Beach. The art deco district is dream-like. Candy-colored hotels look like cruise ships, graffiti murals, plastic flamingos, modern art galleries, neon lights in the palm trees, retro cafes. And where else do you have pink sidewalks? It’s kooky gorgeous.

The Delano Hotel (featured below) appears several times in the book, because the interior design is based on Alice in Wonderland. Guests enter the hotel through a hedge, then walk through a breezy, tunnel-like lobby with mismatched furniture and harlequin patterns. The back garden has furniture submerged in the pool and an oversized chess set on the lawn. South Beach is not your random tourist beach. It has a soul and a history. Not to mention it’s the perfect metaphor for a transformation story. There was a time no one would go near the art deco district because it was run down and dangerous. Now it’s America’s Riviera.

2k8: Tell us about Allee’s transformation.

Debbie Reed Fischer: Posing in front of the lens allows Allee to express herself in new ways, forcing her to take a close look at her goals and her values. As Allee re-discovers what it means to be a feminist and to be happy with herself, she also learns that there is more than one way to be a woman. It’s a classic geek-to-chic story, but also raises questions about stereotyping, independence and family. As Allee’s appearance changes with the rise of her modeling career, her beliefs change too . Views about her sister, her model roommates, and ultimately, herself, are turned on their head.

Not your average Alice in Wonderland...

2k8: Superstitions: Athletes have wacky superstitions, but writers have some too. Do you have any?

Debbie Reed Fischer: I have to buy a new skirt from the same store the day before every SCBWI conference. The reason is because the first time I did that, I was signed by my agent at the conference. The following year I did it again, and I met my editor. Now I have to buy a skirt from that same store the day before every conference. It brings me luck.

2k8: Any model tips for us?

Debbie Reed Fischer: If you need to hide your belly, put a baby on your lap.

2k8: Thanks for stopping by, Debbie. How would you feel about organizing a 2k8 reunion at the Delano Hotel? :)


TJ Brown said...

I'm all for a trip to the art deco district!

Congrats again Debbie on your book release!

PJ Hoover said...

I'd be in for that reunion! Great post!

Nancy Viau said...

I love books with contemporary settings I am unfamiliar with. Based only on your description, I'm ready to pack!

daphne grab said...

i love your belly-hiding tip :-)

Barrie said...

Count me in on the trip! And on the belly hiding!