A few years ago at BEA, I picked up a preview copy of Michelle Zink’s The Prophecy of the Sisters. It was maybe the first two or three chapters and I knew right away I needed the rest of the chapters, stat! I’d never heard of Michelle Zink or this book, but that little teaser was enough to drive me to Amazon to order the full book. I devoured it and quickly sought out more. That’s how Michelle Zink became one of my rockstar authors.
The term rockstar has evolved somewhat to encompass anyone we admire or look up to, not necessarily someone who can lead a stadium in a chorus of a power ballad (but c’mon–how cool would that be?) but someone who inspires others on a scale large or small.
When I had the opportunity to interview Michelle for Fiktshun & Two Chicks on Books Authors are Rockstars blog tour, I felt simultaneously honored and exceptionally nervous. You see, I tend to get tongue-tied around writers I admire. Oh, in my head I have tons of witty and insightful quips or observations; but what ends up coming out of my mouth is, “ohmygoshIlovedyourbooks”, followed by a quick bow of the head to hide the embarrassment blossoming on my cheeks. Needless to say, I wanted my interview questions for Michelle to be different, not something that I could find by perusing her FAQ page and I also thought it would be cool to have a theme.
I’m always interested in knowing what drives the people I admire and in knowing what people they admire. To that end, I came up with five rockstar questions for Michelle, to find out who her rockstars are. What struck me most about Michelle’s responses were the honesty and the sense of humor that shone through, I hope you enjoy getting to know Michelle a little better, or getting to know her for the first time.
How do you define “rockstar”?
For me, being a rockstar is about being unapologetically yourself. Rockstars live their way. They don’t feel bad for being who they are. They don’t APOLOGIZE for it. I’m 42, and I’m still working on all of that. But I think I’m closer than ever. 😉
Who is your author rockstar?
That’s a tough one! There are so many amazing writers out there, but I’d have to say that right now it’s Karen Marie Moning. Her Fever series is so fun – perfectly paced with intriguing, three-dimensional characters, a dark, sexy atmosphere, and a plot that keeps you guessing in every good way through five entire books. It’s not technically YA, but I was obsessed with it for two solid months. Other favorites include Ellen Hopkins, Tamora Pearce, Patrick Ness, Janet Fitch, Andre DeBus III, Sarah Waters, and Carlos Ruiz Zafon.
Who is your fictional character rockstar?
That would have to be Astrid from White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Astrid is broken in so many ways. She endures unbelievable mental, emotional, and physical hardship but somehow manages to find her way. Janet Fitch is such an incredible writer. She did such an amazing job creating Astrid that I still think of her as out there somewhere, creating art and living life.
Who is your music rockstar?
This is definitely Madonna. She’s been criticized almost since she first stepped on stage — too sexy, too shallow, too commercial, too gimmicky, etc., etc. – but she’s continued to do it her way. She’s brash, deep, funny, and sexy. She’s a mother, a musician, a singer, and author, an actress, a filmmaker, a dancer. Some people would say she’s not great at all those things. But she DOES them. She pisses people off, but she does it being herself. And you know what? That’s all you can do.
Who is your real-life rockstar?
Every single person who takes themselves out of the anesthetized version of life most of us are living. It takes courage and resolve to seek something different. Actually, it takes courage and resolve to do MORE than seek – to take action to fully experience our lives, to be fully engaged in them, to seek out new experiences and people, even when – especially when – it takes us out of our comfort zone. And yet, I believe that it’s only through those kinds of experiences that the world will become a more peaceful, harmonious place. Ironic, isn’t it, that seeking those kinds of personal opportunities for growth has the power to better the entire world? But if you think about it, all of the conflict and strife in the world can be traced back to individual unhappiness, greed, misunderstanding. If everyone got out and really tried to connect with the world and the people in it – ALL of them – I think our perspectives would be very different. For this reason, I encourage young people to do unconventional things. Travel to far-flung places. Volunteer. Strike up conversations with people from all walks of life. Try strange foods. Read. Watch offbeat movies. Look into the eyes of the people you speak with. Find a time and place to regularly appreciate nature. Really listen.