This week for Ask The Author I'm bringing you the amazing Charlotte Huang, author of For the Record which is supposed to hit the shelves November 10th. I've read For the Record back in March and immediately knew I wanted to ask her a couple of questions about it. You should definitely mark the release date of For the Record in your calendars because it's a fabulous book worth reading and owning.
Here is For the Record and my interview with Charlotte:
For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Published: November 10th 2015 by Delacorte Press
Number of Pages: 320 Pages (Hardcover)
Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like . . . until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything.
Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen hearthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level—not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.
Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band—and their fans—love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule . . . Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t? (goodreads.com)
Interview with Charlotte Huang
1 – Describe For the Record in a haiku (or twitter pitch)
Being a rockstar
Isn’t all glamorous fun
Just ask Chelsea Ford
2 – What lead to the idea of For the Record? Was it the fact that most of us dream of being the singer of some awesome rock band or something completely different than that?
Yes, it was definitely inspired by that universal dream! But I also wanted to show the reality of sacrifice, hard work, grueling schedules, and just overall stress that comes with that level of success. Because my husband’s an agent, I’ve spent a lot of time at concerts, being around bands, listening to the planning, strategizing and anguish that goes on. So my goal in writing this book was to give an authentic, and hopefully entertaining glimpse into the world of a successful touring rock band.
3 – Was there a scene in the book you specifically remember writing because it stuck out to you, either in a positive or negative way?
Probably the scene where the band sees their DJ friend’s set in Detroit. That scene actually came during the editing process and I wrote it after I saw Zedd perform at Coachella. Originally, I’d written the scene in a diner but my editor pointed out that I had too many eating scenes so I had to brainstorm other settings. The EDM show atmosphere appealed to me because I feel like that type of music shifts everyone’s perspective a little bit and allows people to let their guard down.
4 – While writing about the life on tour and the music business itself, how helpful was having a music agent husband? Did it help you give For the Record that very real touch?
Haha, see #2. But it’s not just my husband—a lot of our friends work in the music business. Many of the details in For the Record come from years of listening to funny stories and talking about work drama.
5 – Of all the possible names for a rock band, why did you decide on Melbourne?
I’d written a scene where the original band members talk about a spring break trip they took to Melbourne which is when they formed the band. It got edited out somewhere along the way but I stuck with the name.
6 - How long did it take you from first idea until publishing deal? And how many queries did it take until you found 'the one'?
I started writing this book in the summer of 2013 and my agent sold it in February 2014. But that’s fairly misleading because this story has been percolating in my brain for years.
Do you mean queries to agents? My guess is I sent out about 25 before entering a pitch contest and connecting with my wonderful agent. That was with a different book though.
7 – How do you feel about the fact that in a couple of months, thousands upon thousands of people will be able to read your book?
I feel excited! Also nervous. But mostly excited.
8 – Did you listen to specific bands or albums while writing For the Record or do you rather prefer writing silence?
For the most part, I actually prefer to write in silence. Sometimes when I try to write to music, I get really frazzled and can’t figure out what’s bothering me until I realize that I have to turn the music off. That said, when writing this book, I listened to Panic! At the Disco’s Too Rare to Live, Too Weird to Die! album on repeat, for hours at a time. I have no idea why this was an exception. If I had to guess I’d say that in addition to being a great album, the mood fits perfectly with what I was trying to write. I was never tempted to skip any track. That’s not a common occurrence.
9 – What was the first band you ever saw live and what’s your favorite band?
The first band I ever saw live was Echo and the Bunnymen in Boston. Sadly, I don’t remember anything about the show. And I really don’t have a favorite band! I like so many. People ask what I like to see outside of my husband’s work and most recently I’ve gone to The Foo Fighters, The Pixies and My Morning Jacket.
10 – Music genre: Grunge or Punk?
Do I have to choose? If so, grunge was probably a more legitimate part of my experience growing up. I feel like I witnessed the beginning and end of that era.
11 – If you were forced to participate in The Hunger Games, as female from District 12, what would be your strategy? Fight or flight?
From District 12, definitely fight. I don’t think I’d know any other way.
Charlotte Huang is a graduate of Smith College and received an MBA from Columbia Business School, which is clearly something every aspiring writer should do. When not glued to her computer, she cheers her two sons on at sporting events and sometimes manages to stay up late enough to check out bands with her music agent husband. Charlotte lives in Los Angeles and is the author of For the Record (Delacorte, 2015)