My writing style...hmmm. I've never been asked this. I know what it's been described as by other people. They say, “I'm readable. That it feels like I'm speaking directly to them, as if I'm with them, there in their room or private space. That I'm an easy read, that I'm funny or have a unique way of looking at things.” To me, that's remarkable.I strive to give my readers that exact feeling. Hearing that I've accomplished it makes me very happy. Skeeter was described by a literary agent as, “Gritty and stark, in the style of Hinton and Cormier.” I love S.E. Hinton so I took that as a great compliment as well.
How long have you been writing for?
For as long as I can remember I've been writing. When I was in 5th grade, I wrote a story about traveling to another planet with my dog. It was a Sci-Fi, maybe 12 pages long, and it was pretty dark in its tone. The world gets destroyed in the end, and my dog and I end up spiraling into outer space, in our respective spacesuits. Of course my dog had a spacesuit, and he could talk to me through a translator in his suit...hah! It was pretty in-depth and morose writing for a 10 year-old. So much so that my teacher brought it to my mother because he was worried that I might be depressed or be having issues at home. I often wish I had that story. I'd love to read it now. I did find a play I wrote in 6th Grade about a psychopathic woman who was trying to destroy the world with a nuclear bomb. At the end of the story—when the “white coats” come to take her away—she's casually carrying the nuclear weapon. I get such a kick out of the idea that I wrote my character “nonchalantly carrying a 2 ton nuke around” as if it were a purse or a bag of groceries. It would have been physically impossible (especially with the size of nukes back in the 70s—completely outrageous). Sadly, not today—but still, it was just such a ridiculous, over the top play—and yet they performed it at my school. They must not have had anyone submitting anything else of any merit.
Did you always want to be an author, or was it something that you found as an adult?
You could say, I always knew I was a writer, but I fought it tooth and nail. When I was growing up my favorite writers were older, dour men, typically in their 50s or 60s, and they were not in the best of shape. I didn't see myself in that way and I certainly didn't look that way. I did start out studying English Literature at college but I could not remain seated at a typewriter long enough to get anything done—I was too active—and by active I mean, I was running around partying and being very wild. But during that time, and all the time in between, I would keep notes and journals and write lines of dialogue or ideas for stories. Though I had a lot of trouble finishing things back then—I did way too many drugs—I had bold little pieces of writing that I later used in my book “Cocaine To Bain” or in some of my screenplays. Later, when I switched my major to studying dance and received a dance scholarship to Loyola Marymount University—I thought I might get into choreography, but then, writing pulled me back—as it has always. So I finally gave into it and here I am.
If you could pick one favorite writer who inspires you, would it be? What is your favorite piece of their work?
Oh that's not fair. So many writers have been an inspiration to me: everyone from Vonnegut to Stephen King to
Michael Crichton to Oscar Wilde. I went through a phase where I read just about everything by Stephen King. I love the simplicity of his presentation—his neat, tidy writing, his well-crafted characters—and it's an easy read. The same goes for Crichton—but also because they were both prolific and figured out how to make a good living at their craft. But those writers aren't the writers of my favorite novels. Below are my three favorite authors and my their novels, all of which have inspired me.
Donna Tartt—The Goldfinch. There's something about the way she captured her main character's youth and his life in New York City that reminded me so much of how I saw NYC as a child—harsh and scary and yet full of mystery and also hope. She writes so beautifully—her sentences flow together like A+ mezcal and fresh limes—Heavenly. I could just sit and lap her stuff up, and then go back and read it all over again. It's fantastic.
J.R. Moehringer—The Tender Bar. Again, here's a story of New York—this one both pre and post 9/11—and a sad tale, yet one of great beauty and inspiration. NY Times called it, “A luminously written memoir about a boy striving tobecome a man, and his romance with a bar.” What's not to love about a book about a bar?
David Benioff—City of Thieves. Most people know him for his work on Game of Thrones on HBO, where he's the co-creator and showrunner. But before he was a producer, back in 2008 he wrote a novel called, “City of Thieves.” If I had to pick a favorite story, one that I could read over and over again and still find meaning and purpose within its pages—it would be this one. He too, like Tartt, is writing from a New Yorker's perspective and his writing is mesmerizing. All these stories BTW have one thing in common—they're all about a young person striving to find his place in the world and make sense of it, they're all the genre of Bildungsroman. I identify with those themes and those types of stories more than most.
What is your favorite piece of your own work?
must have done something right here.” From that point, they asked me to craft a script based on my novella, which I did. And that script landed me some great writing gigs, and has been in consideration at several production companies. It also gave me the impetus to keep writing—which led to “Cocaine To Bain: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll and the Inside Story of the Hollywood Guitar Center.”
What advice would you give any young authors who are reading this?
Go live a full life. Stay in shape. Read everything but not while you're writing. Try things but don't try everything—
you don't need to shoot heroin to write about heroin addiction. Don't be a know-it-all grammar hound. Acquire a skill set—for those lean years when you can't make money writing. Fear no one—agents, managers, producers, etc. Ask advice from people in the business who are doing well. Take people up on their offers to help. Don't spin your wheels re-writing and re-writing and re-writing, it's probably done. It's definitely done. And if it's not, your editor will help you fix it. Don't throw your work out—that's the biggest crock; I've nipped and clipped ideas for stories or sections of work that I'll come back to or revisit years later. Keep a journal—put in dialogue. Write daily. Write often. Write letters, send letters—but keep copies. Buy my book on Amazon, write a great review then contact me directly and I'll help you with something you're working on. Seriously. Do this. You'll thank yourself later. Writers need to help each other. Avoid moldy fruit. Remember the details and sweat them. Don't follow leaders. Watch the parking meters.
buy the book:
Cocaine to Bain: Sex, Drugs, Rock 'n' Roll and the Inside Story of the Hollywood Guitar Center
find out more about Bianca Vanessa at