So recently I was offered a chance to read & review Queen of Babble, by Meg Cabot. Somehow (probably due to living under a rock, or at least below grade for the past decade) I managed to miss the phenomenon that is Meg Cabot, but I'm clued in now, and will probably be wolfing down her other books in short order, as I enjoyed Queen of Babble immensely.
As part of the publicity-industrial complex, I've also been given the opportunity to ask Meg some questions (on your behalf, dear readers) — here they are, with her answers. Doesn't Meg sound like someone you'd love to go vintage shopping with?
Q. I love Lizzie's clothes in the book, especially the Lilly Pulitzer bathing suit and the Anne Fogarty linen dress. Are they based on real dresses you've had (or wished you had)?
First of all…love your site! It’s so adorable.
Okay, in answer to your question…I have a dear friend who is nuts for anything Lilly and I have to admit, she has passed the addiction on to me. I live in Key West, Florida, though, so everything is Lilly all the time here. My poor friend lives in Indiana and has to restrict her Lilly wearing to summer only, or she’d freeze to death. I do have about five Lilly bathing suits.
The Anne Fogarty dress was pure lust … I saw it online and fell in love with (it was way too small for me) but since my character worked in a vintage shop, I figured it was possible she could have snagged one like it at a discount in her own size at some point.
Q. Can you tell me a story about a dress that "got away"?
Oh! Well, yes, my mom’s prom dress. It wasn’t designer–she made it herself, my mom’s a fantastic seamstress–but I’ve seen photos, and it was this gorgeous off-the-shoulder pale blue chiffon number with a full skirt and crinoline, and pretty fake flowers between the boobs.
When I asked her what happened to it, she just shrugged like, “Why would I keep my old prom dress?” I have ALL my old prom dresses … and I didn’t even MAKE them! UGH! I still get depressed when I think about it. She gave it to Goodwill or something. Some lucky girl out there has my mom’s now vintage gorgeous handmade prom dress.
Q. What are you obsessed with, clothing-wise?
Jeans. I have yet to find a pair of jeans that actually look good on me. And I am 40. It’s so sad. I know I should just give up but I can’t. They have to be out there somewhere, right? But they all look terrible on me. Bootcut, stretch, you name it. But sometimes you just CAN’T wear a skirt [When? -- Ed.], and khakis, slacks, and cords look even worse on me. Don’t even talk to me about leggings. I’m just not a “pants” person.
Oh, great looking jeans…where are you????
Q. In the book, Lizzie dislikes low-rise jeans (and I don't blame her). If you could make one fashion-y thing disappear from the earth tomorrow, what would it be?
Anything with a designer’s name on it in large letters. Really, my hatred for all things Juicy borders on the pathological. I don’t mind if, for instance, Diane von Furstenberg is written in small writing subtly somewhere in the print of a dress, or the word Prada is on a buckle.
But I will not buy anything Juicy, or a Louis Vuitton bag with LV all over it, or Gucci or Chanel sunglasses with the giant G or CC (well, okay, not that I would buy these things anyway because they’re too expensive, but let’s say I was going to splurge) or even a scarf by these designers because the brand logo is so huge on them, it’s like you’re a walking advertisement for a product!
Okay, sorry, I just ranted. But you asked! I have to go drink some water to calm down now.
Q. I am always looking for an excuse to use the word 'bathos.' Were there any words you wanted to use in the book that you couldn't work in? Do you have favorite words in general?
Okay, back. Wow, bathos is good. I don’t think I’ve ever used that in a sentence (true confession: I had to go look it up). That is quite a word!
I can’t think of any favorite words. I guess I like them all. But “princess” has always had a tendency to leap out at me — also “queen”…! I can’t think why…
Q. I loved Lizzie's "reading" of Luke's clothes on the train. Do you do a similar party trick?
I’m not as good at it as Lizzie! She can do it on the spot and it probably took me multiple days to write that scene. Plus Lizzie doesn’t misjudge people based on their clothes, and I do. I made the BIG mistake of judging my husband by how he was dressed at the party where I met him. I instantly dismissed him as a boring preppy (he does dress preppy … but he’s not boring, and he is actually a rebel at heart).
Years later I met him again and realized my mistake. If you had told me that day that I’d end up married to him, I’d never have believed you (also, I probably would have killed myself … but then I was sixteen and a bit drama-prone)! But it’s probably just as well since I got to kiss all those frogs in between before finding my handsome prince (he would totally throw up if he saw I wrote that) ….
Q. Lizzie lost 30 pounds in three months before the book begins. How realistic do you think that is?
Well, with Atkins and daily aerobic exercise it’s possible, but of course in the sequel out at the end of this month, Queen of Babble in the Big City, Lizzie has gained it all back as she begins to eat normally again (actually, she gains a lot of it back in France, as soon as she starts eating bread). Hmmm. French bread.
Oh, sorry. I got distracted.
I actually lost that much weight that fast myself on Atkins once. But, like Lizzie, promptly put 20 pounds back on. But bread is so worth it.
And, like Lizzie, I find you can always wear Spanx to squeeze into those special somethings (and let out the waist a little).
Q. Was there a dress you wanted to work into the story, but couldn't?
Ha! That’s what sequels are for!
Actually, in Queen of Babble in the Big City, Lizzie gets a job as a vintage wedding gown restorer in New York City, so I was able to squeeze in tons more dresses for her (and wedding gowns). And I’m working on the third and final book in the series, which will be out next year, Queen of Babble Gets Hitched, in which, as the title suggest, Lizzie plans her own wedding … so there’s lots more “research” to do. If you can call it research when you get to spend all day looking up vintage dresses and wedding gowns online! It’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it!
Thanks for the opportunity to be interviewed on your site! It was really fun!