Starring Jules (as Herself)
Lights! Camera! Action! A hilarious chapter book debut from a fabulous new talent!
Things to Know About Me by Jules Bloom
1. I am a scrambled-eggs-and-chocolate-milk type person.
2. I have an audition for a TV commercial (which would be great if I were a tall-icy-drink type person).
3. I am in between best friends right now.
4. I am worried that the audition will be a disaster. (See #1 and #3!)
Jules Bloom wears mismatched socks on purpose, dreams of having pizzazz, and sings made-up jingles in public. But she never thought anyone would notice. Now Jules has an audition for a TV commercial, and she doesn't want to ruin THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME. She's willing to turn to anyone for help - even her know-it-all ex-best friend! If only that lovely new girl in class would turn out to be the new best friend of her dreams then maybe, just maybe, Jules will be ready for her close-up...
Beth Ain currently lives just outside New York City with her husband and seven-year-old daughter and five-year-old son. For years, writing under the pseudonym "Beth Beechwood", Beth adapted successful Disney sitcoms into bestselling novelisations. She is also the author of The Revolution of Sabine, a historical coming-of-age novel that takes place in Paris. Before that, she first edited and then wrote for the commercially and critically acclaimed 'Dear America' series. She was also an American editor of the Chicken House imprint at Scholastic.
Starring Jules (as Herself)
Allen and Unwin
Author: Beth Ain
Interview with Beth Ain
Question: How long have you had the idea for Starring Jules (as Herself) developing in your head?
Beth Ain: I think I've been writing this book ever since my daughter was in pre-school and I started to pick up on the strangeness of kids--how funny they are, how complicated, how interested in worms they are. That was when I started paying close attention (for the first time since I was a kid myself) to the things they say and the real and wacky things they think about.
Question: What was the best thing about creating the character of Jules Bloom?
Beth Ain: Like a lot of kids that age, she is a little self-conscious but in the endearing way a kid is when they are just beginning to understand that they are part of a wide world. Jules is so intense and curious and imaginative and she is also very nice, which is why people are so drawn to her. She is kind of magnetic in spite of herself, and I think the fact that she is so surprised by this is what makes her especially charming, and ultimately a star. I like playing with all of this and seeing how she will handle an acting career, too. There is some fantasy here, of course, but it's the balance of keeping her grounded and excited all at once - it's challenging and loads of fun.
Question: Did you seven-year-old daughter inspire the character of Jules in any way?
Beth Ain: She absolutely did, yes.
While she is a very shy kid in the outside world , I always say she is a mix of Taylor Swift and Amy Poehler at home, so I wanted to write about a kid with star-quality who doesn't exactly fit into the mold we all think of when she think of performing children. But I also see now that there is a little bit of me in Jules, too, and hopefully a little bit of all of us. It's important to me that I write kids and their parents (and grandparents!) as authentically as I can, so I try to channel the most real people I know when I write. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by some seriously funny and interesting people.
Question: What do you enjoy most about writing for a younger audience?
Beth Ain: I like that they still want everything to be very funny. They are searching for laughs in books the same way older kids search for drama and angst. When you hear a child laugh out loud at something you've written, I honestly don't think there is a better feeling in the world.
Question: Can you talk about the experiencing of sharing your story with your own children?
Beth Ain: They really love the books and they laugh at them in all the right places, which as I said, is exhilarating. What's fun to me now, is that something funny will happen in our lives and one of them will say, "Write that down, Mommy. Use it for Jules." So, they are both my muses and my assistants.
Question: What's next for Jules Bloom?
Beth Ain: There is so much to come for Jules. She will face her first Hollywood disappointment in book two, which will lead right away to the next interesting acting opportunity. But the books will always be about her real life and how she navigates the regular things kids go through even as she does a whole lot of not regular things. For Jules, every book will be an exercise in growing and in trying and trying again to be a tall-icy-drink type, with some scrambled eggs and chocolate milk on the side.
Interview by Brooke Hunter