Sophia Amoruso, L.A.-based founder of the edgy fashion e-retailer NastyGal, is now an author. Her first book, #GIRLBOSS, tells the story of how she built her brand into a $100 million-plus enterprise, and also offers entrepreneurial advice for young women.
Here's our “Ask the Author” Q&A with Amoruso about her new book, writing process and drink of choice while writing.
Where did you grow up?
San Diego and Sacramento.
Favorite book of all time:
Grendel by John Gardner.
Favorite book from your childhood:
Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
Favorite line from literature:
“Talking, talking. Spinning a web of words, pale walls of dreams, between myself and all I see.” – John Gardner, Grendel
Book, Kindle, Nook, audiobook or other, and why?
I am still a lover of paper books. One of my first jobs was in a bookstore and I still like to be able to write in a margin and feel the paper. Once inside of a digital device, I end up losing things.
Favorite literary hangout spot:
Café Trieste in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood.
The trailer for the movie version of your new book would go: In a world___
…with no “I can’t do that” or “that’s not my job” an army of smart, well-dressed and self-possessed women make their dreams a reality.
Describe the moment when you first got the idea for your new book:
It was never an idea. It’s the life I have lived and the things I’ve learned. It’s as much a part of me as my dandruff.
Most helpful epiphany while writing the book:
That all of the things I did before I started Nasty Gal were not futile, but as important as all the things that came after.
Dream casting for your protagonist in the movie version, and why:
Emma Stone; she is down to earth, funny, weird and relatable without being too frumpy.
Typical writing schedule:
Because I am the CEO of a big business, I had to take weeks at a time out of the office.
Office, home, Starbucks, or elsewhere?
I worked from home from morning to night.
Favorite piece of music to listen to while writing, if any:
No. I work in silence.
Copy edits took some of my voice out of the book – so I had to reject a lot of what was suggested. Pure tedium.
Do writers need to drink to be good writers? What kind of drink?
I’ll admit, I drank some red wine throughout the writing of this book. But no – that’s like saying a philosopher must be a miserable white man to be wise.
How you got your first agent or book contract:
I was introduced by a friend, had one meeting, and wrote a killer proposal. I go with the path of least resistance.
Most embarrassing story or other piece of writing you wrote as a kid, and what it was about:
I am not particularly embarrassed when mentioning things scatological, so it wasn’t a stretch for me to write a book when I was around 8 years old titled “The Boogie Dog,” where I pictured my toy poodle pooping on the carpet and digging holes under fences.
Your favorite character you've ever thought up, and why:
When I would visit my grandparents’ house in Marin County when I was little, both my uncles would tease me and try to scare me about how “Charlie the Cookie Monster” was inside the walk-in closet of the room I slept in. One uncle would hide in there and make scary sounds while the other just taunted me. Then he would chase me around the house to try to get me to go back and open the door.
Sentence, line of dialogue, or other aspect of a book or story you most regret writing:
Nope. I stand by every word. Even my mom looked over the early drafts and after she got over the shock of my transparent admissions, she was behind me 100 percent — because it was all true.
What book or other piece of media you've been consuming lately:
I have decided to begin watching Strangers with Candy again. I can never get too much Jerri Blank!
What book or other piece of media you've been feeling guilty for not consuming lately:
I started Cosmos, but have only seen one episode. Time to for some binge watching!
What you would do if you weren't a writer:
I wrote #GIRLBOSS while running a $100 million-plus revenue business. The reason I wrote the book (and I loved every minute writing it) was to make sure my story was told in my own words — not in someone else’s. And somehow I felt that my string of life experiences, failures and successes could inspire others like me – who did not fit into the prescribed norms. When I encourage readers of the book to let their “freak flags fly” I am dead serious.
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