Okay, first piece out of the gate for the new 2011 Debs… no pressure… just following five of the most incredibly talented and all-around menschy women on the web, all of whom just signed off with beautifully bittersweet farewells…
I might need a cut man for this one.
Oh, Hi! So I’m Elise, a.k.a. Monday Deb, and my debut Young Adult novel, Populazzi, comes out August 1, 2011 from Harcourt Children’s Books. I also have a co-written novel coming out in October, which I’ll talk more about in later posts.
Just one problem with that. I freak out on camera. Seriously. I get incredibly nervous, sweat in weird places, and words come out of me in cadences that no human being would ever use in real life. People who know me tend not to believe this, but I have proof. In the “Blind Dates” episode of California Dreams, I have a line. Check it out — I appear about 3:13 in. Yup, that’s me, the freak with the big hair saying “Whoa, that guitar player is hot.”
As is my acting.
Of course, the best part of that show for me was the end credits: “Elise Allen as Herself.” This wasn’t a nod to my deep method acting, but to the fact that I worked in the production office of the show, and only got the part because the writer jokingly named it after me, and the producer thought it would be hysterical to actually let me play the role. Soon after, this same producer tactfully suggested I might have better luck writing, and urged me to try my hand at a spec for one of the many shows he was running at the time. A year or so later, I had my first produced TV script: an episode of Saved By The Bell: The New Class, for which I learned many vital life lessons, including the fact that Mr. Belding must always say, “Hey Hey Hey Hey Hey!” Five “Hey”s. No more, no less. Five.
Since then, I’ve had all kinds of random writing jobs, from the heady (a prime time sitcom where they feed you incessantly and give you high-priced electronics for Christmas presents!) to the hilarious (100 pages of dialogue to be programmed into a Furby… most of it written in Furbish!). Currently, I work mostly in kids’ TV and DVDs, and last year I reached a serious career height when I wrote for… THE MUPPETS!!!! Yup, Kermit the Frog said words I wrote. I had a long, involved conversation with Miss Piggy. The whole thing was kinda too cool for words, and will hopefully be coming soon to a website near you.
While I’ve been writing professionally for many years, the book world is brand spankin’ new to me, and I’d be a daily hyperventilating mess without the great advice and stories from 2009 and 2010 Debs. I can now add the other 2011 Debs to that list of mentors — we’ve only been in touch about a month, but they’re all remarkably smart, funny, and talented, and I’m already learning so much from their experiences.
To me, that’s what being a Deb is about: reaching out to other authors to share our mishegoss and entertain each other as we all fumble our way around. I’m thrilled to be a part of this Deb class, and I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone out there as we go on what’s going to be an amazing ride of a year.