Screenwriter and novelist extraordinaire, Caprice Crane, is the author of Stupid & Contagious, Forget About It, Family Affair,and With a Little Luck,as well as having penned the first seasons of “90210” and “Melrose Place”. As the daughter of “Gilligan’s Island” star Tina Louise and former talk show host Les Crane, Caprice grew up in Beverly Hills -- yet she was not one of the "cool kids" (which is often reflected in her novels). She quickly realized that it’s silly to try and mimic others, as there is only one you, so you should follow your own voice. Her latest book, Confessions of a Hater,deals with this exact issue -- “feeling invisible” and trying to fit in. Set to hit bookstore shelves on August 27, Confessions of Hater follows Hailey Harper, an artsy, quirky teen who moves from New York to the privileged community of West Hollywood High. She tries to fit in with the popular crowd and has a small group of friends who call themselves “the invisibles”. Hailey and her friends decide to teach the popular crowd a lesson about what it’s like to feel excluded, only to find that there is a big difference between doing the right thing, and what feels “right” at the time.
I got to read Confessions of a Hater (before its publication date, which made me feel super special) and I found it be delightfully quirky. I enjoyed Caprice’s sharp wit and dry observations about everyday life in high school in Los Angeles. I also got a kick out of how every chapter opened with a song lyric, and the various hot spots in L.A. the characters visited (If you have never been, I highly recommend checking out the ArcLight Theatre the next time you’re in town). Hailey’s sister, Noel, gives some hilarious advice about how to be a hater throughout the novel (one of my favorites: “If your boobs dominate 85% of your Facebook photo, all those comments about how 'gorgeous' you are have nothing to do with your face.”). I won’t give away too many details, since the book won’t be out until the end of August, but I definitely recommend it as a back-to-school read.
I met Caprice at the Standard in Hollywood. I was immediately struck by how stunning she is in real life, and how truly funny she is. She also had a small entourage with her (she is being featured on DTLO--Day in the Life of), which Caprice admitted was a bit weird for her. Nonetheless, we had a great chat about her latest book, her favorite restaurant in L.A., and why she decided to pen an advice column written by her dog.
YH: Where did the idea for Confessions of a Hater come from?
CC: I love high school. I love that whole age, and all the pain and humor that comes with that age. It’s an area that I love writing in. There’s so many stories to tell, and so many messages you can sneak in there too. There are so many mean girls and bullies in the world that I thought it was time for an updated version of that story for kids that is relevant to what is going on today.
YH: Considering the fact that you grew up in L.A. with celebrity parents, how much is the book based off of your own life?
CC: There were certain experiences that I pulled from, whether it was me or people that I grew up with. Everything that happens in the book isn’t new, it’s stuff that either I experienced or my friends, and people are still experiencing it today. You’re never immune to the hierarchy. No matter how cool you are, there is always that hierarchy. I’ve never been the cool one on many occasions. It’s certainly real feelings and messages that I wanted to get out there.
YH: Did you do any research for the book?
CC: I did a lot. I went to a few high schools (all over the country) and spoke to kids there. I also set up an anonymous e-mail that kids could answer. I had a long list of personal questions, and the kids would be provided anonymity to answer these questions. They were really honest, and a lot of what you see in the book came from those e-mails. I wanted the book to be universal and not localized. I wanted it to be relatable.
YH: You have also written quite a few screenplays. Do you prefer writing screenplays or novels?
CC: I like both for different reasons. I love film. I grew up being in love with film and wanting to write movies, and I’ve been lucky enough to work in that area. I love TV because of the immediacy of it. You write a film, and it takes years to come out, or never comes out, or it comes out not the way you expected. With TV, you write the episode, and three weeks later, it’s on the air. And with books, you have the most control. There’s no one really noting you to death. And it’s also something tangible, whereas with film you can write 10 screenplays and nothing ever comes of it. But with a book, you have an actual thing that you’ve made.
YH: Growing up in L.A., did you ever have the desire to become an actor?
CC: Part of me probably wanted to be an actor, but I didn’t want to be in front of the camera. So I chose writing, because I could act it out in my head and then put it on the page. I don’t really crave the attention. Acting is kind of a scary place. And being an only child, I had an insane imagination, which is well suited for a writing career.
YH: Your Twitter account is hilarious. Do you have any helpful Twitter tips for those of us who wish to be as funny as you are on Twitter?
CC: I don’t even know that I’m good at it. I just write stupid stuff that I hope will make people laugh. I write about things that I see that are ridiculous.I don’t consider myself an expert in that medium. I just think you should be yourself. The one thing you do have is your voice, so I would say not to mimic other people -- which is my message across all of life.
YH: Confessions of a Hater mentions so many great spots in L.A. Where is your favorite place to relax/eat at in L.A.?
CC: I love Gratitude. If you can get past the crunchy-granola aspect of it, it’s fun. Everything on the menu says, “I am at peace” or “I am tranquil.” Everything on the menus is “I am” something. If you can get past that and it’s not going to bother you, then you’ll love it. I love it. It’s sweet. At the beginning of your meal, the waiters will come and bring you something to discuss with the other people you’re eating with. Which is great if you don’t really have anything to talk about with the person you’re with!And of course, anywhere that serves coffee is also my favorite place. I’m a fan of coffee. I’m not shy about admitting that.
YH: What books are you currently reading?
CC: I’m currently reading David Sedaris’s new novel, Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.I would recommend that, and pretty much everything that he’s written. I’m also trying to go back to the classics that I was too stubborn to appreciate when I was younger. I think the classics are always a great place to start, especially for summer reads.
YH: I love your dog, Max. How did you get the idea to give your dog his own advice column?
CC: He hasn’t been as active on his column lately. He’s getting a bit old -- he’s blind, he’s deaf. But I really like making people laugh. And I thought that answering questions from a dog’s perspective would be funny (and everyone always loved my dog). Plus I’m a writer, which means I’m a procrastinator, so if there was a way to not write what I should be, then I was going to do that. So, I created an advice column for my dog, like any normal person does. He’s used to getting so many questions. When I used to do book signings, I would get e-mails like “Will Max be there?” I actually brought him to one book reading, and he was the bigger draw. It’s all about procrastination, really. But it was a lot of fun, and I got to make people laugh, which I thrive on.
YH: Where did you get the idea to put lyrics at the beginning of each chapter in Confessions of a Hater?
CC: That’s actually something I’ve done with all of my books. It’s one of my things. Also, most of my book titles are songs, or lyrics from songs. I just thought it would be a fun way to string what the theme of that chapter was going to be through lyrics. Music is a huge love of mine, and I thought that it would be a fun way to get readers wondering, “Ooo I wonder what that’s going to be!”
For more on Caprice and her work, visit her Website!