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History Buff is a site for history lovers everywhere. It is also a site very interested in women of the past. Although I (sadly) no longer have time to continue these interviews, here is an archive of Q&As about women's lives in history. And please feel free to stop by History Buff's sister site for archaeological discoveries making news today. Enjoy!

Michelle Moran
Historical fiction author

As an historical fiction writer I am fascinated by news stories featuring the past as it's unearthed and reimagined and brought to life. I spend a
large quantity of time searching for news in archaeology and history. Once in a great while a new archaeological discovery will act as an inspiration for what I'm currently writing. But most of the time the news stories I read are simply interesting tidbits of history. Unfortunately, I have disallowed comments because I travel so frequently that I can neither monitor nor respond to them. But I would still love to share the history that I find fascinating each day. So welcome! And feel free to visit my website at or contact me at authormichellemoran at hotmail dot com.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Q&A With Fiction Author Anna David

Your debut novel PARTY GIRL features a protagonist named Amelia Stone who writes for celebrity magazines and finds herself caught up in a past-paced life of sex and drugs in Los Angeles. Like Amelia Stone, you are a former celebrity journalist and have also dealt with substance abuse. Is this novel a roman à clef, and if so, how much is fact and how much is fiction?
I feel like I'm supposed to offer far enigmatic answers than I do on this topic, but the fact is that much of what happens in PARTY GIRL is based on my life. I was a wildly self-absorbed, alcoholic girl who toiled at celebrity weekly magazines. I kept getting in my own way and would always wonder why I couldn't seem to get anywhere in my career or life. And I always seemed to be that girl that crazy things happened to -- people would love to hear about my antics. But after years and years of increasing drug use all the time, the stories became less cute and there were far fewer people around to hear them. I think that's how I became fascinated by the idea of the way someone's life looks, and the assumptions people make about it being fabulous or glamorous, and what it's really like. I'm glad that I waited until I was at least five years sober before I tried writing about the experience because it took me at least that long to get some perspective on it.

*Although your novel is not considered historical fiction, PARTY GIRL explores a segment of Los Angles society that historians may someday look back on and wonder about. Could Amelia Stone be a poster-child for her generation, and if so, why?

When you look at what's going on with the Hollywood party girls -- the Lindsay, Paris and Britney contingent -- and the fascination our culture (particularly young girls) has with them, it does seem like the struggle to control substance abuse is one of the central issues of our time. In many ways, I think this is a good thing and a result of the great advances that have been made in terms of dealing with or arresting alcoholism. Before the 1930's, alcoholics or drug addicts would be institutionalized. And while programs have existed to deal with alcoholism for several decades, being a sober alcoholic was still something to be ashamed of. Now everything's out in the open and I do think that makes this an important time in the fight to arrest addiction. I think Amelia's obsession with celebrity and fame also speaks to this generation. I've read studies about how kids interviewed today would rather be famous than be president and you need only glance at the newsstand to see how the adventures of the bold-faced names are covered in more meticulous detail than ever before. Because Amelia does end up getting sober and realizing how self-absorbed and self-destructive she is, it would be wonderful if she could be the poster child for this generation; I'd love for us to be considered the group that deals with problems and doesn't just allow them to fester.

*As an investigative reporter, you wrote several pieces for Details Magazine about crystal meth use and high-class prostitution. Did any of this research feature in PARTY GIRL?
I'm so glad you asked that because while I didn't use any of that material for PARTY GIRL (I'd actually done all that "research" first hand), I fictionalized a lot of what I unearthed in the high-class prostitution story for a novel I recently completed called KEPT. I'd spent six months infiltrating the world of prostitution in Los Angeles, a slice of life I knew nothing about, and was always sad that the bulk of that information couldn't be included in my 1200-word Details story. I'd love to be able to incorporate more research into future fiction because honestly, I feel like I'm running out of life experience to cover.

*Are you currently working on a new novel, and if so, will it be set in Los Angeles?
Another excellent question because after finishing KEPT, I realized that I'm incredibly burned out on Los Angeles, and particularly Hollywood, as a backdrop. I have an idea for another book -- really just a seed of an idea right now -- and I'm toying with the idea of placing it in Idyllwild, this beautiful little mountain town I recently visited. I'm still not sure if I've just come up with this idea as an excuse to spend time there, though.

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Thank you Anna! And feel free to visit Anna David online for more information about her debut novel Party Girl.