Lauren Brown is the author of The Doggy Divas, a brand new seires for middle-grade and teen readers, and today she's here to answer a few of my questions. I also have on brand-new copy of The Doggy Divas: Roxy's Rules to give away!
In your opinion, what are the top three reasons why middle-grade readers (as well as teens!) should consider picking up The Doggy Divas: Roxy's Rules the next time they see it online or in store?
There are so many reasons but the top three would be:
1 – Characters that everyone can relate to
2 – Drama and dialog that every tween will go through (if they haven’t already)
3 – Fun, fun, fun storylines complete with adorable dogs stealing the show!
The Doggy Divas: Roxy's Rules is told from the viewpoint of Roxy, so can you tell us a little about her? Also, if you could offer her any advice what would you say?
Roxy is caught between two worlds – she longs to be popular and thinks being part of the popular clique is the best place to be. But she also is a very independent girl that has her own dreams and passions. She wants to be a good friend to queen bee Liz but deep down she knows that Liz isn’t really that trustworthy. So, while starting the Doggy Divas is tough at first for Roxy – it’s finally an opportunity for her to spread her wings and learn what how fulfilling real friendships can be.
As for advice – I absolutely based Roxy on my own middle school aged self because I often did what others wanted me to do rather than follow my own heart. So I would tell her that even though following your own heart isn’t always the easiest choice – it’s definitely the best one in the long run.
One of the aspects I loved the most about Roxy's Rules was the way you not only had scenes from Roxy's viewpoint but from the different dogs in the story as well, so what inspired you to include the dogs' viewpoints as well?
I had a dog who witnessed so many crazy scenes, overheard so many drama fueled conversations and was a part of so many pivotal moments in my life that I used to always say I was so relieved my dog couldn’t talk and reveal all my crazy secrets . . . but that made me wonder what would happen if dogs could talk and voila – that part of the story was born.
In Roxy's Rules Roxy faces major friend drama, which leaves me to wonder if you ever had friend drama like Roxy when you were her age? Also, do you have advice for girls who may be having a similar thing happening to them and their former BFF?
I had TONS of friend drama like Roxy – tons. When I was in the seventh grade, you could say I found myself in the “popular” clique. It was a lot of pressure and I never wanted to upset anyone. It turned out that two of the girls in my group didn’t like each other and would talk badly about each other to me. I got caught in the middle, accidentally repeated some of the things they were saying and I ended up getting thrown out of the group. It was devastating but allowed me to find a new group that wasn’t so catty and a lot more tolerable of different personalities and behavior. My advice to girls today is friendship should be easy, fun and natural. If it feels like hard work or you never know where you stand – your group may not be the right one for you.
Confession Time: Are you a dog person? If so, are you more like Roxy when it comes to dogs or Kim? And do you have any dogs of your own?
I LOVE dogs but I’m definitely more like Roxy than Kim. I had a dog that I adopted a few years ago named Chloe. She was a Chihuahua/terrier mix and was so sweet. She was found on the street with a limp (she pretty much only used three legs) and severe cataracts in her eyes. But we loved each other and took to each other instantly. I carried her around in a little Chanel looking tote bag and she just quietly sat on my lap no matter where we were or what I was doing. Sadly, she got sick as she was old when I adopted her and I had to put her to sleep. But, she was one of the greatest things that ever came into my life and I did write this series with Chloe at the front of my mind.
I have been writing for teen and pop culture magazines and web sites since I moved to NYC in 1999 but writing fiction – namely a series like the Doggy Divas – has been my goal since I was a child. I always loved reading and writing and happily was known as the “writer” all throughout school – even when I got to college. I devoured books like Sweet Valley High and The Baby-Sitters Club when I was a tween and when there weren’t new ones out – I would write “bonus” chapters to my existing books. So, this was a long time coming and a major career goal achieved.
Do you have a favorite scene or line in Roxy's Rules? If so, would you mind telling us all about it?
I love the scene where Roxy gets out of her dad’s car on the way to the first day of school – she’s so excited to finally get to the front steps and rule the roost with Liz – and she realizes that something isn’t right leading right up to the readers first encounters with Georgia and Kim (Kim stepping in dog poo and Georgia making a big scene because of it).
What are three things most people would be surprised to know about you?
1. I wrote three unauthorized celebrity biographies – one on Lindsay Lohan, one on Reese Witherspoon and another on Emma Roberts.
2. I watch reality shows on Bravo more than anything else
3. My fiancé and I have two kittens – Parker and Posy – we’re dog free until we move to the suburbs one day (we currently live in an apartment in Brooklyn)
So, most important question of all: Would you mind sharing a little about what's going to happen Roxy in the next Doggy Divas installment?
The next book in the Doggy Divas series is called Lights, Camera, Kim and is due out in May 2011. I’m really proud of the next installment because I think you get more insight into all the girls and what makes them tick. In it, Kim gets a dose of fame as the spokesperson for a new pet talent agency and her take on being in the spotlight is as quirky and funny as you would expect from her. Liz is back to create even more drama amongst the Doggy Divas, Roxy and Matt’s relationship continues to grow and we learn more about Georgia and what makes her so outspoken!
Is there anything else you would like to add?
You can get all the scoop on me, my career and the Doggy Divas in the following ways:
1. My web site – www.laurenbrown.net
2. Following me on Twitter - @lbauthor
3. Following the Doggy Divas (Roxy, Kim and Georgia) on Twitter - @missdoggydiva
4. “Liking” my Facebook page: Facebook.com/LBAuthor
THANK YOU FOR READING! Book two is in May 2011 and book three is in fall of 2011.
Thanks so much, Lauren! I loved finding out more about you and your book!
Here's also a fun video of Lauren's launch party:
Here's the summary, in case you don't know what it's about. You can also check out what I had to say about it here.
HAS THE DOG WALKERS' STRIKE LANDED YOU IN THE DOGHOUSE? DOES YOUR POOCH NEED A CRASH COURSE IN MANNERS? IS YOUR FOUR-LEGGED FRIEND'S STYLE SO LAST YEAR? The Doggy Divas are here to save the day!
From head of the pack to lone, lone wolf!
Roxy Davis is in the dog house. Big time. After kissing her BFF-s crush over summer break, Roxy finds herself banished to the company of Monroe Middle School misfits Georgia and Kim. And when things can-t get any worse, the town dog walkers go on strike.
Dogs are running wild, giving Roxy the bright idea to recruit her fellow outcasts to start their very own dog walking business. Roxy soon learns that pampering pooches will not only earn her points for cleaning up the neighborhood, but will also teach her a thing or two about friendship.
Here's the rules:
~ Must be 13 or older to enter. If you're not that age and would like to enter, please have your parent enter for you.
~ Limited to readers in the US, though feel free to enter if you're international but have someone in the US who could send it to you.
~ Must fill out form to enter.
~ Contest will end on November 30 at 12:00 PM eastern.