About the book:In the summer of 1986, three young American women are chosen to join a modeling agency in Europe’s fashion capitol of Milan.
United as roommates by chance, Star, Joanne and Casey soon find their dreamed-of careers as models taking paths as different as their personalities.
Star, who leaves behind her waitress job along with a handful of crumpled up dollar tips, sees her beauty as a way move to the top of Milan’s social strata.
Joanne, raised in a privileged lifestyle, is expected to continue an Ivy League education, which doesn't interest her as much as a young photographer she meets on a casting.
Casey is a naïve seventeen year old who is ready for adventure, even the dangerous kind.
Together, these three learn the funny, unexpected and sometimes ugly truths about growing up beautiful.
Interview with Lori JonesWelcome, Lori. You were a model for sixteen years. How long have you been writing, and how did you start?
I’ve been writing since the age of eleven when I wrote and illustrated my first book about a mouse – in #2 pencil.
How did you come up with the title Growing Up Beautiful?
That’s a great question because the title is meant to be read with the first two words emphasized. After spending 18 years in the fashion industry, one thing I learned for sure, young women had to grow up fast or become a potential casualty.
How would you describe your book in six words?
A virtual tour of 1980’s Milan.
Cool. Tell us a book you’re an evangelist for.
The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafron. Besides exquisite writing, it is a mysterious adventure into another person’s world in Barcelona, Spain.
Which character did you most enjoy writing?
I loved writing about all three of the models in the story, but Star is definitely the most fun. Her feisty personality gets her in and out of all kinds of trouble.
How did you create the plot for this book?
I paid attention to my surroundings when I stayed in Europe. I lived amongst ‘the plot’ for five years before writing the book.
What would your main character say about you?
She’s a good listener.
I like writing characters who do and say things I never would, as well as characters who do and say things I wish I could. Do you have characters who fit into one of those categories? Who, and in what category do they fall?
Absolutely! Star! She has the petal to the metal when it comes to going after what she wants in life.
If you could be one of your characters, which one would you choose?
Joanne because it’s great being in love.
Tell us about your favorite scene in the book.
Honestly, there are so many for different reasons. Overall, I’d say it’s the scene where Star is literally out on the ledge.
You get to decide who would read your audiobook. Who would you choose?
Cameron Diaz, (an ex-model) would read Casey. Ginnifer Goodwin would read Joanne. Kate Hudson would read Star.
Do you have a routine for writing?
Yes. Every morning I can’t wait to pour a cup of coffee and sit in front of my Mac. When I’ve had enough of my cat walking on the keyboard, I drive to the library.
Where’s home for you?
Palos Verdes, California.
If you could only keep one book, what would it be?
Gone with the Wind. Not only is it a classic, but the abridged edition is 1036 pages so I wouldn’t have to reread it as often.
Would you rather work in a library or a bookstore?
A bookstore because I love to talk.
You won the lottery. What’s the first thing you would buy?
A vacation house in Greece and invite all my family and friends.
You’re given the day off, and you can do anything but write. What would you do?
Snorkel. I recently did so in Hawaii and swam next to a sea turtle.
You can be any fictional character for one day. Who would you be?
I would be Alice in Wonderland because I like to travel and meet interesting people.
What would your dream office look like?
A little cluttered with a cup of coffee and an ocean view.
What’s one of your favorite quotes?
“To be, or not to be.” It gets you thinking.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Where I am right now. Palos Verdes. I lived and visited many countries, but this coastal community is where I call home.
What are you working on now?
I’m doing a final read-through on the sequel to Growing up Beautiful. It picks up the story of Joanne, Star and Casey fifteen years later when they reunite by chance and push each other past their comfort zones to finally get their lives right.
About the author:Lori Jones had a sixteen-year modeling career from 1981 through 1997. Her career began after graduating from the Barbizon School of Modeling, and signing on with the Wilhelmina Agency in Los Angeles.
Bookings included runway, print for magazines, catalogs, TV commercials, and an album cover for Kool and the Gang's Ladies Night.
Lori flew to Milan, Italy in 1982 and ended up living and modeling in Milan, Germany, and Spain over the next five years. Always interested in writing, she kept journals of her work experiences, extensive travels throughout Europe and Africa, and the people she met along the way.
Growing Up Beautiful is a fictional account of how three young models grow up in that foreign world of fashion in the 1980’s. Lori invites readers to join her characters on their trip abroad as they face challenges that will change their perception of who they are and what they want in life.
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