“I wanted to write a love story with a perfect fairy-tale ending,” says Carolyn Mackler of her funny, poignant novel, Guyaholic. “But I knew it was going to star V Valentine, who is seventeen, hurt, and terrified of making a commitment—even if it is to Prince Charming.”
Carolyn Mackler has a knack for getting into the minds of teens, capturing their angst, inserting a dose of irreverent humor, and putting it all in her books. The result has been critical acclaim, literary awards, and most important, the loyal attention of her readers.
Guyaholic, a follow-up to Vegan Virgin Valentine, zeroes in on the free-spirited V as she graduates from high school and takes a solo road trip across the country to get away from her family and her boy troubles but inevitably realizes that her real problem is with herself. “In telling this story, I had to see how far V would go to find her happily-ever-after,” says Carolyn Mackler of her protagonist’s challenge. The author uses travel as a metaphor for change—change of scenery, change of mind, and changing of old habits.
Carolyn Mackler, a regular contributor to Girls’ Life, developed her passion for stories while growing up in western New York. Her mom read to her constantly, and there was much storytelling in the house. “My dad would tell me what he called his ‘roots,’ the stories of his life,” she recalls. As a result, family interactions tend to play a big role in the author’s novels, but so does good old-fashioned research.
For Guyaholic, Carolyn Mackler consulted approximately thirty to thirty-five people, including agricultural experts, sports trainers, business travelers, and of course, young women to capture the essence of her main character’s cross-country experiences. “Much of V’s drive is flat and nondescript,” she notes. “So the interesting challenge of this story was to milk the nondescriptiveness for language That lets the reader see what V is seeing and be in that car with her, but also make it feel poetic and intriguing and all the other spectacular sensations that anyone would feel out there on the open road.”
As for Carolyn Mackler’s own journey as an author, it has garnered her continual praise—as well as other sorts of attention. The Earth, My Butt, And Other Big Round Things, a novel about a plus-size girl surrounded by her high-achieving family, received a prestigious Michael L. Printz Honor while also earning the number-four spot on the American Library Association’s 10 Most Challenged Books of 2006. Vegan Virgin Valentine was chosen as an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
A New York City resident, Carolyn Mackler says that when she’s not writing, she likes to walk in Central Park, swim in lakes (not in Central Park!), and continue her search for the best croissant in the city. When people ask her what her ideal job would be, she says it’s exactly what she’s doing.