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Sunday, July 13, 2008

Chick Chat: Claudia Gabel

1. Did you always want to be an author? If so why? If not what did you want to be?

I've wanted to be a writer ever since I was a little girl. I had—and still have!—a vivid imagination and I love to read, so I found writing to be a good fit for me. In fact, when I was a kid, I used to write stories and my brother (who is now a successful visual artist) would illustrate them. I always hoped that my dream of becoming an author would come true, and I'm so lucky that it has.

2.Is being an author what you expected?

Yes and no. I expected that most authors lived this glamorous celebrity lifestyle, and guess what? I still have a full time job! I did expect that I would love the process of writing my own novels, and it was more fun and fulfilling than I ever could have imagined. I was also hoping that I’d hear from teen readers who enjoyed the books and the response from them has been incredible! I get a few emails each day and reply to every one.

3.What was your road to publishing like?

I’ve been a book editor for about nine years now, so there are many people in the publishing industry who are familiar with my work. I met my friend/editor Aimee Friedman through a project we worked on together called SUMMER BOYS, and a year later, she asked me if I’d be interested in writing my own series for Scholastic’s paperback imprint, Point. The rest is history!

4.How has your family contributed to your writing?

My family has been a great source of support for me. They’ve always cheered me on when it came to my writing and have done a lot in the word-of-mouth department, especially at our family reunion last year. My aunt and uncle even set up a signing at the pavilion we rented. Who doesn’t love teen fiction, hot dogs, and water balloon tosses?

5.Many writers have a place that inspires them, a place where they do their best work. Where is your writing spot?

I write on my PC at a desk in the small writing nook that’s located in my bedroom. There are built in bookshelves on the wall too so if I ever need inspiration from my favorite authors (like Meg Rosoff, Sarah Dessen, and Dana Reindhart), their work is within arms reach. I’m also facing away from the window so I won’t get distracted.

6.In the books Nola and Marnie's friendship is tested when they enter high school and the two find themselves in a friendship feud. What was your inspiration for the In or Out series? Did you have your own feud with a friend?

The books are loosely based on my relationship with my best friend Therese. I met her in kindergarten and we were close all the way through grammar and middle school. When we entered high school, Therese was quite adamant about fitting in with the popular girls while I just wanted to coast under the radar. We didn’t have a huge fight like Nola and Marnie, but we did grow apart. It wasn’t until she went away to college that we reconnected and now she’s a lawyer and works a couple of blocks from me. We see each other all the time!

7.From queen bee Lizette to troubled Matt, the supporting characters in In or Out are colorful and captivating. How did you create such a rich cast of characters?

Everyone adores Matt, and to be honest, he is a fictional incarnation of an old flame, who was also my good friend in high school. It was very easy to write that character because I have known him for almost twenty years, and he actually is that charming! Other supporting characters were exaggerations of people I’ve known over the years—I find that taking someone’s personality quirk and magnifying it can be a great way to construct vivid characters.

8.Many teens dream of becoming authors. What advice would you give to writing teens?

I get this question all the time! One of the most important things you can do as an aspiring writer is join a workshop, or at the very least, show your work to a friend whose opinion you trust. Every writer needs constructive criticism and feedback in order to improve his or her skills. You also have to be very diligent, too. If you get stuck on one story, start on something else and see if you can make more headway with a different idea. Frustration is natural when you are first starting out, so don’t trap yourself by sticking to one particular project. Lastly, you have to remember that you still are writer, even if you don’t get published. Writing is a labor of love, and that’s all that matters.

9.Now for the question on everybody's mind: Will there be anymore In or Out books?! If not, are you working on a new book or series? And if so what is it about and when can readers expect so see it on the shelves?

I’d love to write more IN OR OUT novels, but there hasn’t been an official decision yet about whether the series will continue. In the meantime, I’ve been working on a stand-alone romantic comedy that takes place during spring break on Laguna Beach. It hasn’t been picked up yet, but when it does, I’ll make a big announcement!


  1. Great interview! Love her books.

  2. Nice interview, I will have to check out some of her books.


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