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Melissa Kantorphoto by Heather Weston Q: What's Girlfriend Material about?

A: You know that feeling where you want to be too cool to care if a guy likes you because you don't want to be the kind of girl who cares whether or not a guy likes her?

Well, Girlfriend Material is all about that.

Q: HELP! I'm doing a book report on you. Can you answer some questions I have?

A: Definitely. If you read this page, it might tell you all you need to know (like when I was born, why I wanted to be a writer and who my favorite writers were and are). If you want more information, just email me!

Q: Are you writing a sequel to Confessions of a Not It Girl or If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where's My Prince?

A: I'm not. I've gotten the nicest letters from readers asking me to write sequels, but I don't have any plans to. I like leaving Jan and Lucy right where they are on the last pages of their books...

Q: I need to know how old you are and where you were born.

A: I was born in New York City in 1970. And even though teachers never care about this, I'll give you my sign--Capricorn.

Q: Did you always want to be a writer?

A: When I was in seventh grade, I told people I was going to be a writer. Then in college I got interested in other things, and after I graduated I started teaching, which I love. But ideas for stories kept popping into my head. One was an image of two girls walking down Montague Street (that’s the main drag in Brooklyn Heights) during their lunch period. They were best friends, only one of the girls was cooler and prettier and more successful with boys than the other one. They were talking about a party they’d been invited to, trying to decide if they wanted to go or not. Finally I decided I had to know what happened to them. Those girls became Jan and Rebecca, and their story is Confessions of a Not It Girl.

Q: Did the things that happen in your books really happen to you?

A: Yes and no. I had a stepmother I had a lot of problems with, like Lucy does in If I Have a Wicked Stepmother, Where’s My Prince? And I definitely liked boys who didn’t like me (and had boys like me who I didn’t like), which happens to Jan in Confessions of a Not It Girl. But the characters I write about aren’t me. A huge part of my high school experience was being in the school plays, and none of my heroines are actresses. Also I was (and am) a voracious reader, while none of my characters is especially into books or sees herself in terms of the books she’s reading (which I always did). I’d say a lot of the thoughts and feelings my characters have are mine, while the things that happen to them are made up.

Melissa Kantorphoto by Heather Weston Q: When you look back on high school, what’s your biggest regret?

A: I wish I hadn’t spent so much time liking (or pretending to like) things that the guys I was into liked. I still have the lyrics to a number of Motley Crüe songs memorized just because I dated a guy who was obsessed with them, and when I had a crush on a guy who was into the Grateful Dead, I started listening to “Friend of the Devil” 24/​7. Truly lame.

Q: What are your favorite YA books?

A: My all-time favorite YA book is It’s Okay If You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein. It’s about a girl named Jo who’s a senior in high school dealing with school and her family (her parents are divorced) and with falling in love for the first time. She’s a real New York City girl, which I definitely wanted to be. I re-read It’s Okay If You Don’t Love Me at least once a year, and I’d recommend anything by Norma Klein. Unfortunately, most of her books are out of print, so they can be tough to get your hands on. But it’s worth the effort.

Recently, I read (and loved): Gingerbread; a brief chapter in my impossible life; boy proof and The Queen of Cool.