A website dedicated to books in the Young Adult genre, featuring book reviews, author interviews contests and much more!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Interview with Mandy Hubbard, Author of Prada & Prejudice

Today I'm excited to be interviewing author Mandy Hubbard about her debut novel Prada and Prejudice!

Mandy grew up on a dairy farm outside Seattle, where she refused to wear high heels until homecoming and hated them so much she didn’t wear another pair for five years. A cowgirl at heart, she enjoys riding horses and quads and singing horribly to the latest country tune. She’s currently living happily ever after with her husband (who, sadly, is not a Duke) and her daughter (who is most definitely a princess). Prada and Prejudice is her first novel.

Let's get started!

In Prada & Prejudice, fifteen year old Callie takes a tumble in her new Prada heels and comes to in 1815 Regency England. If that was to happen to you, what would be the best aspect about being dropped into the past, and conversely, what would be the most horrifying?

I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’m kind of a snob about chivalry. If a guy walks into a building in front of me and lets the door slam in my face, I’m totally annoyed. Conversely, if a guy is standing a ways from the front door and actually moves to go open it for me—even though he’s not even going inside- I’m inordinately pleased. So I think I would love to see what a true gentleman is like—guys back then would never talk crass in front of a girl, would stand up at the table if she did, etc. That would rock!

On the other hand, the food, ICK. Growing up I didn’t even eat lunch half the time because I hated what the cafeteria was serving. Mashed potatoes and gravy? GROSS. Meatloaf? YUCK. So I can’t even imagine what I’d eat there!

Do you remember writing the very first line of Prada & Prejudice and is it still in the novel today? Also, is there a certain line, scene or passage from the book that is a particular favorite of yours?

Oh, it’s definitely not in the book anymore. The very first version of Prada & Prejudice featured a spoiled eighteen year old college freshman. The first few chapters were her on campus, getting an invitation to a costume ball and finding the perfect costume—a regency dress. The whole cast of Twenty-First century characters don’t even exist anymore!

My favorite scene of the current book is toward the end. I can’t say what happens as it would be a spoiler, but it involves the front lawn at Harksbury (You know which one I’m talking about if you’ve read it!). When I got my revisions from my editor, she had written ELEVEN pages, much of which went chapter by chapter and talked about ways to ratchet up the tension. EVERY SINGLE CHAPTER was discussed. But when she got to that one, all she said was, “this is pretty much perfect as is.”

That’s the only scene in that book that is almost untouched from the way it was originally written.

In Prada & Prejudice, Callie is a clumsy, lovable teen who buys a pair of Prada to impress the cool crowd but ends up back in 1815 before she knows it. What were you like as a teenager? Did you draw from your own experiences or the people in your life when constructing the characters in the novel?

I was, to put it simply, a dork. I had plenty of quirky characteristics, but like all teens, I wanted to hide them instead of enjoy them. For instance, I was 5’10, and no way would you have been able to convince me to wear heels to school. If I went into Seattle—the largest city outside my cowtown of Enumclaw—I felt like Crocodile Dundee or something. It took me until the last few years to start enjoying what makes me unique. Now I love to make fun of myself for being a country girl instead of trying to hide it, and I wear heels all the time. If I am taller than the guys around me, I tease them for the fact that I’m taller than them—in a goofy, self-deprecating way, of course.

I did draw from that, while writing. I think wanting to fit in is a universal goal for teens.

If Prada & Prejudice were to be made into a movie, do you have any actors you envision playing the roles of Callie and Alex, or do you think unknowns would be better suited for the parts?

Callie is the easy one for me—I picture Taylor Momsen, the actress who plays Jenny Humphrey in Gossip Girl. (Though she’d be more season 1, less of the rocker girl she is now…) . Alex is harder. The actor needs to be insanely hot and pull off an English accent. I’d be cool with an uknown or, yanno, Robert Pattinson, because he’s got the accent, the charm, and the cult-like following.

Since your book features Prada, I obviously have to ask—do you own any Prada or designer shoes? If not, do you have your eye on a special pair right now of any type of Prada or style in particular?

Sadly, no, but I held a pair once. Does that count? I’m not eyeing any particular pair of Pradas, but I’d be thrilled to have shoes that look like the ones on the cover—any ‘ol brand would do.

In your opinion, why do you think that readers just can’t get enough of Jane Austen and the Regency period in particular?

Not a clue. I think it involves magic dust though. Kidding. I think Jane just had the unrivaled ability to create believable people, and to throw in some wit and humor while doing it. My greatest fear is that people are going to think I went in trying to rip her off or ride her coattails, and that was not my intention. The first draft wasn’t even called Prada and Prejudice and had little to do with it. It was through the guidance of revision letters that it came to slightly resemble Pride & Prejudice.

For fans who didn’t want the story of Alex and Callie to end, is it possible there ever might be any type of sequel to Prada & Prejudice? Also- is it true you wrote an alternate ending to the book as well?

I do have a super duper seekret idea for a spin-off/sequel, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get the chance to write it. We’ll see!

Also, the very first ending of Prada and Prejudice was very, very different. I thought about sharing it, but it wouldn’t really make sense—the character in that version is a spoiled 18 year old with an entirely different set of goals and desires.

At this point, are you able to tease us with anything new about “You Wish”, the romantic comedy scheduled for release in the Summer of 2010? What other upcoming projects can we look forward to?

Man, I’m dying to talk more about YOU WISH, but my publisher has sworn me to secrecy! All I can say at this point is that it contains the requisite romance and humor, and possibly a life-sized My Little Pony. I’m working hard at writing it and they’re working hard at creating a kick-butt cover. I am hoping after I turn it in on Oct 1 they’ll be comfortable announcing the details.

Thank you Mandy for taking the time to stop by!

To impress the popular girls on a high school trip to London, klutzy Callie buys real Prada heels. But trying them on, she trips…conks her head…and wakes up in the year 1815!

There Callie meets Emily, who takes her in, mistaking her for a long-lost friend. As she spends time with Emily’s family, Callie warms to them—particularly to Emily’s cousin Alex, a hottie and a duke, if a tad arrogant.

But can Callie save Emily from a dire engagement, and win Alex’s heart, before her time in the past is up?
More Cabot than Ibbotson, Prada and Prejudice is a high-concept romantic comedy about finding friendship and love in the past in order to have happiness in the present.

To learn more about Mandy and her writing, visit her at her Official Website & Blog!

Prada & Prejudice is available for sale now. You can order from Amazon HERE!


The Obsessive Reader said...

Great interview! I'm a country girl to so like you I have never owned 3-4 hundred dollar shoes. I think I'd never wear them. Just keep them in a shiny case. I'll have to read this soon. I'm floozy for a man with a English accent.

The Obsessive Reader said...

I'm a floozy for a man with a English accent.

Fantastic Book Review said...

Great Interview! Mandy seems like a fun person to hang out with! I'm looking forward to reading her book!

Rebs @ Book-Rants said...

I loved this book, can't wait for more from her

Unknown said...

This turned out to be one of my favorite books this year and I loved hearing more from Mandy! Thank you so much for the insight!

Unknown said...

I have to read this Book now!! Thanks for a great interview! The questions were so fun!