My Violet series is about a not-so-confident model named Violet Greenfield, a real girl who finds herself under runway lights and in the clutches of an overbearing (and sometimes cruel) agent. Over the course of the trilogy, Violet tries to navigate the crazy fashion world, hold onto her real friends and discover who she is on the inside while attention swirls around her outside.
In the Young Adult genre, there’s been some talk about “message books,” books that teach lessons, essentially, and whether YA authors have an obligation to write this kind of book. I say absolutely not–why should YA authors be held to a different standard than Adult authors? Teen readers are smart, imaginative and endlessly savvy. They deserve characters that ring true, that grow, that inspire them. But they don’t need Pollyannas at every turn.
That’s why I sometimes wanted to explore the dark sides of the fashion industry with the Violet books. In Violet on the Runway, Violet encounters drug addiction; in Violet by Design, she faces immense pressure to stay skinny in order to be “runway ready;” and in Violet in Private, she has to make a choice–stay in the spotlight or give up modeling and risk becoming a wallflower once again. Is there character growth? Yes. Sugar coating? No. Violet doesn’t always make the right decisions–in fact she makes a lot of wrong ones.
But that’s the beauty of real life, right?
The Violet series is featured on readergirlz.com this month, where there’s a soundtrack, a downloadable poster, discussion questions and more.