Maya Gold, author of the new Scholastic series, Cinderella Cleaners, dropped in by way of the virtual subway. Things are hectic over on the East Coast, so it’s a good thing virtual public transit is available 24/7! Maya had a lot to say about her books, and she was really excited to discuss them!
Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.
[MG]Happy person who loves pretending to be someone else. Fiction rocks!
Can you tell us a little about your new series, Cinderella Cleaners?
[MG]It’s about an aspiring actress who’s disappointed when she has to work after school at her family’s drycleaning business, until she starts using it as the world’s biggest costume shop, borrowing customers’ clothes to go out on different adventures.
How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the story?
[MG]I’ve always been fascinated by transformation stories, and something about all those garments in clear plastic bags swishing around the ceiling of a drycleaners on conveyer belts suggested a little everyday magic. The series is set in the part of New Jersey where I grew up – right across the Hudson River from New York City — and I was a stage-struck teenager, so I guess there’s a little of me in my heroine, Diana.
What was the hardest part of putting your own spin on Cinderella?
[MG]It’s a story that’s been told so many times, but coming up with variations on the familiar moments was part of the fun. I even found a way to work in the glass slipper, though it’s a Baby Phat stiletto!
Have you learned anything about yourself through your characters?
[MG]Hmm. I think Diana has a lot more nerve than I did at that age. A lot of the series is about testing the boundaries between stretching the truth and lying, and whether it’s ever okay to do something you know in your heart isn’t right.
What’s the most gratifying aspect of having your books published?
[MG]I love random encounters with readers – spotting somebody picking up one of my books in a bookstore, or reading it on the subway. And I love to get mail from readers. My author website is www.cinderellacleanersbooks.com.
I love the covers, especially the cover for A Change of Dress! How did you feel when you saw it for the first time? Did you have any say in the final cover designs?
[MG]I love them too! I was thrilled by the fact that the designer picked up on Diana wearing Converse with two different laces in the first book – that became a running theme in all the books and all the cover photographs. And the cover model is perfect! She manages to look like a different person in every outfit, which is exactly the point.
Who is your biggest supporter when you are having one of those days when nothing seems to be going right?
My daughter, my friends, and my dog.
What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
[MG]Reading, swimming, listening to music (all kinds, all the time). And I share Diana’s passion for vintage clothing shops. There’s nothing more fun than putting together an outfit that no one but you would wear.
[MG]You’re welcome – that was fun!
You can learn more about Maya by visiting her website here. The first two books in the Cinderella Cleaners series, A Change of Dress and Prep Cool, are available at your favorite book store now, so go grab them while you can! If you prefer shopping the effortless way, please see below for links to Amazon listings of the books.
Behind the counter at Cinderella Cleaners, Diana watches the clothes come and go. She loves to imagine the exciting events that the different outfits might be worn to. Then one day, Diana reaches into the pocket of a fancy coat – and finds an invitation to a glittering gala in New York City. Since the coat’s owner is out of town, Diana gets a wild idea. With the help of some savvy friends, one glamorous dress, and a lot of improvising, Diana pretends to be someone she’s not, and makes it into the party! Will she be discovered, or will her disguise come off without a hitch?
Product Description: This week at Cinderella Cleaners, someone has dropped off a private-school uniform. Diana has always wondered what it would be like to attend a posh academy…and now she has the chance to find out. Her best friend’s cell phone is stolen, and in order to catch the culprit, Diana has to sneak into super-snooty Foreman Academy. But she never counted on mayhem, mean girls, and a pop quiz! Can Diana convince everyone she’s a prep-school student, or will she flunk big-time?
Rock & Role (Due in stores June 1)
Product Description: Diana has always dreamed about being on camera . . . and now, she might get her chance! On her way to drop off a super-cool vest for a Cinderella Cleaners client, Diana happens to meet pop star Tasha Kane. Tasha invites Diana to try out for a role in her new video, and Diana is beyond excited. But there’s one big catch: Tasha wants the video to feature the rockin’ vest … which doesn’t belong to Diana! Can Diana still rock the video shoot? Or will she — and Cinderella Cleaners — roll into serious trouble?
Mask Appeal (Due in stores August 1)
Product Description: When Diana finds luxurious gown on the rack at Cinderella Cleaners, she knows it would be perfect for the masquerade ball in town. Too bad she’s not allowed to attend the star-studded event.
But thanks to a mask and a few friends, Diana sneaks in. Once there, she’s excited to dance with her new crush – that is, until she runs into another crush from her past! Even worse, she spots some other unexpected guests who could ruin everything for her. Will Diana be unmasked before the night is up?