Below the enterview be sure to check out the book trailer and link to the website.
Welcome to The O.W.L. G.S. Wolff!
1. Tell how you came up with the idea for The Galstanberry Girlz series.
Great question! I began writing, The Girlz of Galstanberry when I was a research fellow at the National Institute of Health in Washington D.C. It was an opportunity to just unwind after days of laboratory experiments with mice. Ewww!! I thought it would be fun to write about a prestigious boarding school similar to mine. However, I wanted Galstanberry to be completely different from the popular genre of "preppie" books on shelves and adapted into movies. My years at Wellesley College, an all women's institution, inspired me to give Galstanberry depth-history, purpose, sophistication. But, the uniqueness does NOT stop there! I wanted the characters to be realistic and relatable. Soooo, the five main girls-Lillian, Brandi, Fei, Tabitha, and Nisha-are modeled after close friends from middle school and Wellesley. Infact, three of the girls, Fei, Lillian, and Nisha, are named after close friends. My cousin Janet and her friends, who are as diverse as the characters, were my test group. They read the 5 diary entries of each character and fell-in-L-O-V-E!!! Janet's fave character is Fei because she's funky and independent. The rest, as they say, is history!
2.How long did it take you to write the first book - from start to finish including revisions?
It to took a total of 5 months to write and revise, The Girlz of Galstanberry, the first book in the Galstanberry series. My editor revised, I amended it, and then revised it about 1000th more times!! The whole process seemed like a stressful, but interesting literary eternity :-)
3. I love that you've included girls from all different backgrounds. Why did you decide to do that?
The world is diverse! Tall, short, blonde, braids, outspoken and timid-every girl is unique in her own way. I wanted to create a series that celebrates the unique and diverse voices of girls. However, diversity is not only ethnically, but also socio-economically and geographically. Each of these factors help to shape a girl's personality, her friends, and opinions on life. Therefore, The Girlz of Galstanberry is a celebration of girls' unique voices.
4. According to your bio you attended a private school. How much of the series is based on your experience there?
The series is heavily based on my life, Kindergarten-12th grade, at Detroit Country Day, a prestigious private day and boarding school in Beverly Hills, Michigan. It was, and still is, replete with students from Fortune 500 companies and political families. For example, the Galstanberry blazer and tie is mirrored after my middle school uniform. The traditions I followed at Wellesley College, such as High Tea and HouseMothers, are also incorporated into Galstanberry, but with a twist!
5. (This one my students always want to know) When you were in school, were you a good student especially in English since now you are a writer?
In school, I was a great student. However, English wasn't my favorite or best subject. If I was permitted to write stories without being graded for proper grammatical structure (ugh!), then ALL was well with the world. But, when my precious stories were returned COVERED in red pen, my heart just sank into the abyss of disappointment. Now, I can combine a really great plot with good gramatical structure. All it takes is patience, and well, a good editor :-) So, the moral of the story is: Don't let red marks scare you! Because under them is a FAN-TASTIC piece of literary work!
6.And because this is The O.W.L. WHOOOOOOOO are the authors you enjoy reading now and/or WHOOOOO has influenced you as a writer?
Hmm. My two favorite authors are: 1) Edith Wharton, particularly her book, The House of Mirth, and; 2) Isabelle Allende's famous book, The House of Spirits. I LOOOOVE these authors! Through reading their books at least once a year (seriously!), I have learned how to write vividly and passionately. These two authors can totally paint a picture with words.
7. Tell us about the Website!!Every time girls, teachers, parents, and librarians visit the site, they fall-in-love! The bright colors and super cool music (can you name the artist?) reflect the spirit of Galstanberry-fun, sophisticated, and unique! Girls can take the personality quiz to see which Galstanberry they are most like, or vote on the character that should be featured on the collectible bookmark that will accompany Book #2 (fall 2011 release). Additionally, people can watch the cute trailer or video excerpts from the special Galstanberry author event sponsored by the Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan. The website also contains links for the e-book, which can be downloaded from Amazon and Barnes & Noble. The paperback, which can be autographed and gift wrapped for no extra charge, is only available for purchased on the website. So, what are you waiting for? Check it out, http://www.galstanberrygirlz.com/!
Here's the trailer.