Confessions of an Angry Girl is about Rose Zarelli, a high school freshman with some serious rage. She’s having a tough year because her father lost his job and took work as a contractor in Iraq, and was killed. On top of that, she likes the “wrong” guy, his scary girlfriend is now her nemesis, and her best friend is suddenly talking about losing her virginity. Rose isn’t ready for many of the issues that arise in high school—especially not while she’s learning how to deal with grief—and she finds herself without a support system at a crucial moment. It really makes her angry.
It’s sort of a sad story, actually! I wrote my first play when I was in elementary school, when a group of actors came to the school to run a workshop. The play won the class contest, and the prize was that the actors were going to perform it. But for some reason, the actors never came back to the school, and the play was never performed. I was so hurt and disappointed, but someone—maybe my teacher—told me that they had given me another prize: by choosing my play, they’d told me that I had talent as a writer. And I think I decided subconsciously that day that I would keep going.
3. Where do you find your inspiration for your novels? (If it’s not a secret) Have you ever found it in your real life?Writers and actors who can tell amazing, captivating stories inspire me. I have a huge crush on William Faulkner—As I Lay Dying is one of my favorite books of all time. I also love Michael Chabon, Edward P. Jones, Jhumpa Lahiri, Joyce Carol Oates, Sam Shepard, Tom Stoppard, Stephen Sondheim... And as far as actors who inspire me: Marion Cotillard, Michael Fassbender, Irrfan Khan...
But as far as inspiration in real life, I would say I’ve always been interested in how girls feel and express anger. I think girls are somehow subliminally—or maybe not so subliminally—taught that they are supposed to be nice, quiet, and accommodating all the time. While those are valid ways of “being” in many situations, they shouldn’t overrule the expression of emotion. Girls should be able to express their anger without being told that they’re loud or impolite—or worse, too emotional or crazy.
4. Do any of your fictional characters resemble you?
I think Rose does, to some degree. But she’s also very much herself. The best thing about creating Rose was trying to figure out what made her who she is. When Rose first started talking to me, so to speak, I knew right away that she was furious, but I didn’t know why. She would only tell me a few things at a time, so it took a while to get it out of her. When she finally revealed what was going on, it completely changed the entire book. I think that’s an amazing experience for a writer, when a character says one thing that changes the whole picture. But Rose has had it a lot tougher in life than I have.
5. Which book is the first one that you’ve read?
The first book I remember loving with all my heart was a book about a group of abandoned cats living together called Pyewacket. I made my mother get it out of the library for me again and again and again.
6. Do you have a favorite book?
My favorite book of all time is The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay by Michael Chabon. It absolutely kills me. Plus, I’m still I'm madly in love with Joe—one of the main characters—even though I read the book about 10 years ago. I just can't help it.
7. If you were about to leave in a trip which book would you take with you?
Definitely The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Because then Joe and I could be alone together!
It drives me totally crazy how people will take out their phones and start checking email/texts/voicemail/whatever when we’re in the middle of a conversation. It really makes me worry about whether we’re going to lose the ability to speak to each other face to face and be polite.
9. Is there a moment in your life you’d like to live again?
Oh yeah. I was in love with this beautiful guy once, and he gave me the greatest kiss of my entire life. I still think about that kiss...and I wouldn’t mind reliving it!
10.Do you have a message for Romanian readers? Why would you recommend your book?
Thank you so much for your interest in Confessions of an Angry Girl! I’d love for it to be translated into Romanian. I recommend the book to young women because I think it’s important to understand that you’re allowed to be angry, and you’re allowed to express it. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.