Author Chat with Alexandra Leigh Young (Idol Gossip), plus Giveaway! ~US Only
Today we are chatting with Alexandra Leigh Young, author of
Read on for more about Alexandra, her book, and a giveaway!
Meet Alexandra Leigh Young!
Alexandra Leigh Young currently produces the New York Times podcast The Daily. She produced tours for pop bands for three years before moving to South Korea as a freelance journalist. An assignment on K-pop for NPR’s Radiolab became the basis for Idol Gossip, her first novel for young adults. She lives in New York City.
About Idol Gossip!
Delicious gossip squares off with genuine heart in this inside look at a K-pop academy.
Every Friday after school, seventeen-year-old Alice Choy and her little sister, Olivia, head to Myeongdong to sing karaoke. Back in San Francisco, when she still had friends and earthly possessions, Alice took regular singing lessons. But since their diplomat mom moved them to Seoul, her only musical outlet is vamping it up in a private karaoke booth to an audience of one: her loyal sister. Then a scout for Top10 Entertainment, one of the biggest K-pop companies, hears her and offers her a spot at their Star Academy. Can Alice navigate the culture clashes, egos, and extreme training practices of K-pop to lead her group onstage before a stadium of 50,000 chanting fans—and just maybe strike K-pop gold? Not if a certain influential blogger and the anti-fans get their way…
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
So-hyun! I had so much fun writing her because she's such an individual and her reactions to Alice crack me up. So-hyun is partially based off of one of my best friends from high school, and if she weren't a fictional character, I would definitely want to be friends with her in real life.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel came first, and it took me months and months to come up with the title. I kept a running list of titles on my phone and none of them were ever quite right. Originally, I wanted to title it "American Idol", but of course that franchise already exists!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I'm most proud of the scene that takes place in Joon's car, when he confronts Alice about her M Countdown appearance. It needed to be a transformative moment for Alice, but the transformation couldn't happen too fast, so I had to really tease it out. It's also difficult to add action to a scene that takes place entirely inside a car, and I had to get creative so that the scene wasn't just 100% dialogue.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The first time I saw Idol Gossip's cover I teared up. It was incredible to see a Chinese-American girl's face on the cover of a book I wrote. I love scanning YA sections in bookstores now and seeing such a great diversity of faces; it's wonderful that Idol Gossip contributes to that.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2022?
I can't wait for the release of Axie Oh's The Girl Who Fell Beneath the Sea, which will be out in February, 2022! Axie wrote one of my all-time favorite K-pop novels, XOXO.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I'm currently drafting my next YA novel, and instead of featuring the artists who perform on stage, this one features all the people who work backstage. It's the story of a girl who goes on tour across the world as a roadie for a pop band. It includes a complicated and messy romance, something I didn't get to explore in Idol Gossip.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
It took me a long time to find Alice's voice. In early drafts, the plot was sort of just happening to Alice, and she was like an empty vessel passively receiving the action. I spent a long time working on her motivations and making her an active participant that drives the plot forward.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Although revising sometimes feels like the hardest part of writing, I enjoy it more than drafting. It's like polishing a cloudy spoon to a shine, or sharpening a dull pencil to a hard point—it's very satisfying.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
A lot of people tell me they raced through Idol Gossip, reading it in 1-2 sittings. I think I have a knack for writing fast-paced plots, and that probably comes from my day job working at a news podcast, where I write and produce 25-minute narrative episodes every day!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
While I was writing Idol Gossip, my aunt Lotus passed away. She was a fixture in my childhood and one of the most loving people I know. She was also a big supporter of St. Jude’s Children's Research Hospital. Last year, I donated to them in Lotus's honor, and will continue to do so every year in memory of her.
Author: Alexandra Leigh Young
Publisher: Walker Books US, an imprint of Candlewick Press
Release Date: September 14, 2021
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