For this book it was more of a “wouldn’t it be cool?” question. I was watching a meter maid write a parking ticket and I thought, “wouldn’t it be cool to be a meter maid…but only for a week.” Then I started to brainstorm a bunch of other jobs I’d like to try for only one week. Suddenly I had the idea of a girl who had to do 52 jobs...one for every week of the year. Then I asked myself, “who would be the funniest character to have to do that?” And the answer was almost immediate: “A spoiled heiress!”
If you were an overnight billionaire heiress, what would be the first thing you would spend your money on? The second thing?
Haha! Great question! Okay, so I really REALLY want a yacht. And not in that whole dreamy, “oh I wish I had a yacht.” Like I seriously want one. I’m already saving up. LOL! I’d live on that thing and just sail around the world, writing books. That is my dream life. So that would be the first thing I’d spend money on. The second? Well, I guess someone to drive the yacht. Since I really don’t know the first thing about boats.
Did you take any personality traits or looks for Lexi from anyone in particular (real life or celebrity)?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t borrow a bit of inspiration from Paris Hilton. I mean, she is the person everyone thinks of when you say the word “heiress.” I think she pretty much made the word mainstream. But as soon as Lexi first appeared on the page, she pretty much became her own person. She was always very clear to me. I never really felt like I had to take traits from anyone else because Lexi was very real and complete in my mind from the beginning.
Before writing 52 Reasons did you do any research into any of the jobs you had Lexi perform? Do you have any experience with any of those jobs? (I know I do!)
LOL! Yes, actually! I did a bunch of research. For starters, I had many jobs growing up that were less than glamorous. My parents owned a restaurant all through my teen years so I did every single job there was to do there. But one thing I’d never done and really wanted to do before I wrote the book was work in a fast food restaurant. Who doesn’t want to work the drive-thru for a day? My friend owns a Taco Johns in Denver and so I asked if I could go “undercover” and train as an employee for the day. It was a lot of fun. No one knew what I was really doing. I felt like a top secret spy!
This book has a lot of heart to it, what was the process in creating your characters "character progression"?
First of all, thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed it! I try to write entertaining, funny books that also have some kind of deeper meaning. And with Lexi, I really wanted to make her real and relatable. Which was kind of a challenge given that she’s pretty much a spoiled brat from the moment you meet her! But I wanted to explore what it would be like to grow up with that much wealth and never know any different. I imagine it’s oftentimes not as glamorous as it sounds and that’s what I wanted to portray. Although the idea of placing a spoiled heiress in all of these low-wage jobs is humorous, it’s only natural that Lexi would learn something from the experience and when I set out to write the book, I wanted to make sure that she grew in the process.
Twitter question! Describe your book in 140 characters.
A spoiled teen heiress is forced by her ever-absent billionaire father to take on 52 low-wage jobs (1 for every week of the year) if she wants access to her trust fund.
What are you currently working on?
I just finished revising the first book in a new sci-fi/thriller trilogy that comes out next year! I’m super excited about it because it’s something very new for me. The first book is called UNREMEMBERED and it’s about a sixteen year old girl who wakes up among the wreckage of a devastating plane crash. She’s the only survivor but she has no memories and no identity. She’s forced to piece together her forgotten past with only one clue: a mysterious boy who claims she was part of a top-secret science experiment.
That was fun! Thanks for stopping by Jessica!
Publisher: Farrar Straus & Giroux (July 3, 2012)
Hardcover: 335 Pages
Genre: YA Contemporary
Being America’s favorite heiress is a dirty job, but someone’s gotta do it.
Lexington Larrabee has never to work a day in her life. After all, she’s the heiress to the multi-billion-dollar Larrabee Media empire. And heiresses are not supposed to work. But then again, they’re not supposed to crash brand new Mercedes convertibles into convenience stores on Sunset Blvd either.
Which is why, on Lexi’s eighteen birthday, her ever-absent, tycoon father decides to take a more proactive approach to her wayward life. Every week for the next year, she will have to take on a different low-wage job if she ever wants to receive her beloved trust fund. But if there’s anything worse than working as a maid, a dishwasher, and a fast-food restaurant employee, it’s dealing with Luke, the arrogant, albeit moderately attractive, college intern her father has assigned to keep tabs on her.
In a hilarious “comedy of heiress” about family, forgiveness, good intentions, and best of all, second chances, Lexi learns that love can be unconditional, money can be immaterial, and, regardless of age, everyone needs a little saving. And although she might have 52 reasons to hate her father, she only needs one reason to love him.
Check out the release of the AMAZING book trailer below...