We welcome Carol Weston, author and columnist to TeenFX.com! Many of our viewers already have Carol's books and are familar with her advice column. Now to hear more from this highly popular teen writer.
What age were you when you wrote your first story and what was it about?
As soon as I learned how to write, I started keeping diaries. I have a whole shelf of early diaries in my office, from about third grade on. My first published article was in Seventeen when I was nineteen. I was in college walking along with a copy of that magazine, and a professor said, "Aren't you
a little old to be reading Seventeen?" I smiled and said, "I'm writing for
What influenced you to start writing books, and what inspired you to write
books for teens?
My parents were both writers so we talked about language and grammar a whole lot at dinnertime. My English teachers said, "Write what you know about," and I thought: What do I know about? Answer: "Being a teenager!"
By the time I was in my midtwenties, I'd written articles for Seventeen, YM, Teen, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, but I really wanted to write a book. That's when GIRLTALK: All The Stuff Your Sister Never Told You was born. Believe it or not, there were very few books then that offered advice to teens. Publishers Weekly called me a "pioneer in the field"! Now GIRLTALK is out in many languages (Czech, Chinese, Russian, Romanian...) and has been in print in various updated editions since 1985. My other HarperCollins advice books for
teens include FOR TEENS ONLY: Quotes, Notes & Advice You Can Use; FOR GIRLS ONLY: Wise Words, Good Advice; and PRIVATE AND PERSONAL: Questions and Answers for Girls Only.
Do you write books other than those for teenagers?
Yes. Recently I've started writing novels for children, ages 8 to 12; THE DIARY OF MELANIE MARTIN, MELANIE MARTIN GOES DUTCH and WITH LOVE FROM SPAIN, MELANIE MARTIN.
In my advice books, I try to solve problems. In my fiction, I create problems!
When writing a story what are the most important things to think about
when developing the theme?
When writing novels, it's important to think about theme and structure but also to stay creative. My first Melanie novel is about family, the second is
about friendship, the third is about love. But I want readers to enjoy the books and not to be too conscious of what I'm up to behind the scenes. My
advice books have themes too, I suppose. Each one has chapters on Mind, Body, Friendship, Relationships, Family, Money, Work. FOR TEENS ONLY also uses 580 quotes from famous men and women, whereas PRIVATE AND PERSONAL uses letters that girls have written me over the years.
What are the steps you take before writing a book, and then how long does
it usually take for you to finish a book?
I think about the book for months; I take lots of notes; I finally write it fairly quickly but then I rewrite and rewrite and rewrite; I hand it in; my
editor gives me suggestions; I make more revisions; she gives me more suggestions; I do more revisions. Over a year can go by before a book gets launched.
Do you submit your final manuscript to a number of publishers or just
one? After being accepted by a publisher does it take long to have your book
At this point, HarperCollins publishes my advice books and Knopf publishes my fiction. But, for instance, before Knopf accepted my first novel in 1999, it had been rejected at several publishing houses. Getting started as a writer means facing a fair amount of discouragement. But you can't give up! Now I
work with specific editors. It can take many months for a manuscript to turn
into a book, especially if it will be illustrated, as my novels are.
Are you currently working on a new book? If so, what is the book about?
When can we look forward to its release?
Right now, I'm working on several projects. I'm updating GIRLTALK for a fourth edition. I'm updating FOR GIRLS ONLY. I'm making the final edits on WITH LOVE FROM SPAIN, MELANIE MARTIN which will come out in 2004. I'm hoping
to start the writing of MELANIE IN MANHATTAN. And of course, I'm doing my Dear Carol column for Girls' Life. Visit carolweston.com (or
melaniemartin.com) for more info, and if you like quotes specifically picked out for teens, please check out my newest advice book, FOR TEENS ONLY. It's my first one that is also for boys.
How old are your daughters and do they have any interest in writing
stories, or your writing ability?
My daughters are fifteen and almost thirteen. They are both good writers, though at this point they are not planning careers in writing. One wants to
be a pediatrician and the other wants to be a science teacher. We'll see--they have plenty of time to figure it all out.
May I also add that they are very helpful with my work? They are among my first editors and they let me know when they like a page and when they don't. I love to spend time with them, and I guess that also helps me know about
When you are not writing, what hobbies or interests do you have?
I love to travel and I keep great scrapbooks. I like to ski and to take walks. I speak French and Spanish and Italian. I don't cook but I make excellent chocolate chip cookies. I like to visit art museums. I like to talk about writing at schools. I read a lot and am in three, count 'em three, book clubs--one with each daughter and one with adult women friends.
Do you have a message for our TeenFX viewers who hope one day to be an
author of books?
this guy at school likes me. but, i don't know if i like him. he makes farting sounds in class. his friend said that if i date him, he will stop. his friend says he does that so i will notice him. what do i do?
jaimie, i could tell you how to decide over a guy in a few sentances! i dont really fell like saying it infront of guys that maybe reading this. jk
I have not read any books yet, and i probably will after she comes to my school tommorow! YAY CAROL! mesa so happy! i really need her !
I've never seen any of Carol Weston's books in bookstores around here, but I have heard of her a few times. She seems to be an interesting person and I always enjoy reading about writers' methods of working on books. Maybe I'll get to read "For Teens Only".
yes cindy they do and its very ful to girls who are afraid to ask their mom
ohhh my god i your books they me through alot of things. your awsome can you write a book a really really long book on how to decide over alot of guys thanks jamie
Do her books discuss periods? God to I need !
I enjoyed this interview and I know would luv Carol Weston's books.
Carol Weston's books are a must-have for all girls...
I've never read any of her books because teen books usually don't interest me very much, but I'll make an effort to find one of her books one day.
Keep writing. I your books and so do my friends.
I have just read your interview and found it very interesting. You obviously writing and do it well. The teen topics you have chosen to share your knowledge are needed for us in our everyday life. Things can get a bit much to handle at times.
This sounds to be a really interesting book, and , light reading.
This is just what my teenage sister needs for Christmas.
This book has been my favorite summer reading. It was awesome!
/Pen Name/ Misty
Carol Weston is awesome :D I her stories and her articles in Girl's Life. She rocks my world (but no, not in that way).
This is an awesome book. I have been lending it to my friends.
I just purchased book from the FX Store for my girlfriend. I decided to get it because after I read this article, it sounds like what girls like. I am giving her the book as part of her graduation present. We are graduating in June. So thanks for the interview and thanks to everyone that replied because you really ed me out!
I have just seen the contest with your book on TeenFX and I hope I win it. Otherwise, I will go out and get it as I think I need it!
I am real fan of yours and read your column in Girls Life. This sounds a book. I really like reading about other kids problems, and how they should go about fixing their problems up. I quotes too.
I agree with Shaunese. I luv your books. They have ed me a lot and been a good friend. Thanx.
Regardless of the fact that I'm new in thins TeenFX, I know when someone deserves to be honoured for their doings. And you really need to hear these words......Even though I know that you've heard them all before. You have done a lot in peoples' lives and we need more people like you!!!!!!
I haven't read any of her books yet, but now that I have read this interview i think i will!
I haven't read her books, but after this interview, I'd be interested in hearing her advice to teen girls in an age where we are facing so many societal pressures; if she would address the fact that mass media portrays unrealistic images to young girls; that "cosmo girl" does nothing but create superficial necessities to d capitalistic needs by keeping the individual unsatisfied with herself thereby creating within her a necessity to purchase/accessorize. I wonder she deviates from the norm of mass media and "advice columns" that only force girls into gender roles that may not be consistent with their values. My point of this comment is to say that I think the advice books and colums of today targeted towards teens should discuss the above topics and offer advice along those lines to bring such realities to the consiousness of the impressionable teen.
i'm gonna get her book
Neat interview, neat lady. Your advice book would be good.
Wow...I am so impressed that a teen author did an interview on TeenFX. I have read two of your books and I d them! I am about to start another one