Is Top 8 a true story?
Nope. Thankfully! When I was in high school—back in the Pleistocene era—what we know and love today as the interwebs was juuust getting going. I know! Unimaginable, right? So I never had to deal with any hacking drama in high school. But when my friends and I were all getting into MySpace (and then Facebook, and then Twitter...) I totally got swept up in the drama of it all. And a lot of the things that happen in Top 8 (like Jimmy and Liz changing their screen names to say insulting things) came from things that happened to my friends.
How did you get the idea to write Top 8?
The idea for the book came out of a discussion with my editor. This was back in 2007, when MySpace was the place to be. We started talking about what a MySpace book would look like, and I found that I couldn't stop thinking about the idea. I'd recently become obsessed with my own MySpace, and just started thinking about how the online stuff had utterly changed all my relationships. But I wasn't sure how to incorporate that into a story. When I thought about using a mystery, and having a profile get hacked, the rest of the story just fell into place.
Who are the people pictured in Top 8?
The pictures are a mix of models and, um, my friends. I'm even in one of the profiles – I'm Nate's friend Em-Squared (a little nod to Madison's initials).
Is Friendverse real?
Nope. I kind of created my ideal networking site. Maybe somebody will take a hint from it and make one like it some day!
Did you always want to be a writer?
Not at all. I hear from lots of readers who are writers and working on novels and creating stories and am always totally impressed. Because I was never that motivated in high school! Growing up, I loved to read, but never did much creative writing. I only took my first creative writing course the last semester of my senior year in college, got totally hooked, and have been writing ever since.
Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
Read and write. A lot.
Um, thanks. Do you have any good advice for writers?
That's the best I can do, honestly! I truly think that the best way to learn to write is to read. All kinds of books, all genres. Also, pay attention to what you like! Not the books you think you should be reading – the books that keep you up at night, the ones you read by cell phone light. What you really like to read is probably what you're going to like to write. And I've found that writing is just like riding a bike or kissing or any other skill – you get better at it the more you do it. It just takes practice.
Are you writing any more Top 8 books?
There are three books in total - Top 8, Top 8 #2, WHAT'S YOUR STATUS, and Top 8 #3, UNFRIENDED.
I know that. Are you writing any MORE?
Right now, I don't have plans to write a fourth Top 8 book. I'm sorry! I get a lot of emails from readers asking me to write more. But I think I left everyone in a good place at the end ofUnfriended. And besides, don't you think Madison has had enough drama for the time being?
Are you coming out with more books?
I'm currently working on a new book that I'm VERY excited about. When I have details to share, I totally will! Check back here for more info.