What’s the story on how you ladies met and started your fabulous online magazine?
Emily: I know April and Cecily through India, who I lived with in a small mice-infested apartment outside of Washington Square Park. Nothing bonds people like living in squalor. I met Jasmine in South Africa. We shared a bottle of red on a beach side boulder and watched the sun set. The stuff of great romances.
Regardless of how we met…these ladies are my people. I love them. We all come from different backgrounds and bring different skills to the table. What we share is an ardent passion for writing…along with mild addictions to coffee, alcohol, and saturated fats.
India: Since the five of us are writers and writing tends to be a very solitary activity, it’s nice to know that the others are in the same boat. The Page Girls formed as both a support system and a place to air out the thoughts that pop up while researching and writing whatever it is we’re working on.
Emily: When I read this Maya Angelou quote, I thought it described The Page Girls perfectly: “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” We are all about the female narrative — the stages, the romances, the relationships…the moments that make us. We hope to create content that speaks to our readers and in turn, builds a positive, open community for us to coexist and connect.
Jasmine: Great quote Emily! I think our individual personalities really helped us to create an environment that makes everyone feel welcome and able to relate to one another on some level. One of our first goals was to create a lounge-style environment where readers could feel like they were sitting on our couch and could create a dialogue with us. I hope we continue to achieve that with our site.
India: Dude, Emily – that’s perfect. I can’t add to that because that’s exactly what I would have said but probably less eloquently!
Everyone on the Fresh Fiction staff agrees: We LOVE your logo and name. How did you decide on “The Page Girls” as a name?
Cecily: Aw shucks! I remember the five of us brainstorming a massive list of names, some of which were hilarious, and others hilariously bad. I think it was India and April who first came up with the name, right?
April: The name came from India’s adaptation of one of Jasmine’s suggestions, and a final change I made to India’s version became our name, The Page Girls!
India: I love it because it’s to the point! Stories unravel on pages and page boys/pages were servants that often delivered messages. We like to think that we deliver stories so The Page Girls were born! And my mom thought it sounded a bit salacious which we’re fine with too.
I think April came up with the name, but she thinks I did. We can’t remember. That tends to be the case with all of us in general. Just about every piece on the site is collaborative to some degree so it’s become hard to tell where one of us ends and another begins. The logo was kind of the same deal, thrown back and forth between me and Cecily.
In addition to writing for The Page Girls, you are also authors. What is it like to balance writing for the site and working on your novel projects?
Cecily: We’re busy bees! I juggle a full-time job in media along with The Page Girls and my novels, so I pretty much drink more coffee than the human body can handle.
Emily: Cecily is legitimately insane. I’m pretty sure she could run a country. The Page Girls has been great for my writing because it forces me to produce work weekly and allows me space away from my personal work.
Jasmine: Our best technique is discussing future themes and topics well in advance, giving everyone the opportunity to work at our own pace. I work freelance in media, and with those long grueling hours, it’s extremely hard to focus on anything else. The Page Girls and my personal writing give me a reason to keep waking up early when I’m on hiatus.
India: I feel like I’m never more focused than when I have too much going on in my life. Not sure if that makes sense, but it’s been working for me!
April: Writing for the site is so different than writing the books – it’s a really nice break sometimes. There are definitely days when I, for the sake of my sanity, need to step away from writing or outlining my book for a bit. But I’m still in writing mode so it’s nice to use that energy on something different, like a short story or a fun list. It’s like a little writing vacation!
Fresh Fiction readers want to know: What do you ladies love to read?
Cecily: This is my favorite question. I have so many books that I absolutely adore, but if I had to pick just one for this interview, it would be THE RED TENT by Anita Diamant (people who follow The Page Girls on Twitter have probably heard me mention this book before). It’s a historical, fictional adaptation of the story of Jacob, told from his only daughter’s point of view. It’s all about female strength and the bonds of sisterhood.
Emily: I truly love anything Junot Diaz. He has such a specific voice and THE BRIEF AND WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO is the perfect combination of comedy and tragedy. He has such an incredible cadence to his work…it’s lyrical, powerful, hilarious, and completely makes my heart stop. I love strong characters and well-constructed themes.
Jasmine: I am a sucker for a great romantic comedy…and smart young adult novels…and paranormal thrillers…and practically anything good. Admittedly, the TBR list is on the edge of being out of control. Some may call this a book addiction. I call it love. Basically, I devour a wide range of books. Some of my favorites usually feature a strong, witty heroine.
India: I love a good thriller or anything with a good dose of suspense. I also love character-driven pieces. I love seeing into the heads of those I don’t have the chance to know in real life and seeing how they grow and develop. Those are usually the most satisfying reads for me.
April: I’ve loved books from every genre. I can’t figure myself out and it’s been like this in high school. I loved Crime and Punishment back in the day but that was the same time that Gossip Girl was my favorite series. I haven’t changed since – I’m all over the place. As long as there’s some aspect of the book that makes me desperately want, I’m into it.
Thanks for chatting with us, ladies, and have a happy birthday week! Readers, sign up for The Page Girls’ weekly newsletter to get notified about new issues, and be sure to follow them on Twitter and Facebook. Want to be part of the birthday celebration? Comment below to be entered to win a set of The Page Girls coasters and a copy of AN IMAGINARY HOUSE BY THE SEA by Cecily Gates, and check out all the birthday prizes below!