Thursday, September 15, 2016

Blog Tour + #Giveaway: The Tokyo Cover Girls by Jackie Amsden @jackiecamsden @XpressoTours

The Tokyo Cover Girls
Jackie Amsden
(The Tokyo Cover Girls , #1)
Publication date: April 28th 2016
Genres: Mystery, Young Adult

New York has Jacobs, Paris has Chanel, Milan has Versace and Tokyo has . . . Hello Kitty toilet plungers? With its cute-obsessed catalogue and magazine market, anyone who is anyone knows that modeling in Japan means being at the bottom of the fashion industry. Blake, Jess, and Hailey are doing their best to survive yet another casting where pigtails and toddler-impressions are a must when they stumble upon the opportunity of a lifetime. The prestigious Satsujin company has selected them to compete for a campaign that will transform the winner from commercial nobody to haute couture superstar faster than you can say Vogue Italia.

Of course, nothing is ever what it seems in the fashion world. Just ask all those dead girls . .

Interview with Jackie Amsden

What inspired you to write The Tokyo Cover Girls?

When I was sixteen I moved to Tokyo to work as a fashion model. The night I arrived the agency dropped me off in a tiny, empty apartment. The shower  stank of sewer, the bed was about a foot too short, and worst of all, the phone was restricted to local numbers so I couldn’t call my parents to tell them I was okay. I never felt more alone than I did laying on that bed with my feet hanging over the edge that first night.

Over the next few years, the main adults in my life were modelling agents. Though they were nice on the surface, they treated me like a thing instead of a person. They often withheld information from me or straight up lied to me, and they were constantly telling me what I could and couldn’t do—get a tan, lose weight, gain weight, smile more, don’t drink, drink more. If I didn’t obey them they would discipline me in the most humiliating of ways. One time my agent insisted on taking my measurements in the middle of the street and in front of all the other models (just as one of the characters experiences in the novel). She clearly was doing it to punish me—it wasn’t as if my hips were going to balloon into twice their normal size if she had waited the five minutes it would have taken us to go somewhere more private—yet in typical agent fashion she pretended like she was simply following protocol.

I felt very powerless during my time in the industry and eventually had to quit altogether. In my book, I tried to recreate that feeling by putting my characters into an extreme version of the manipulation and control I experienced—with of course much deadlier consequences.  

When or at what age did you know you wanted to be a writer?

I have been writing stories for as long as I can remember. When I was ten I snuck out of the house with my friends. Three kids wandering the city streets at 1 am—we got picked up by a police car and delivered home pretty fast. I’ll never forget the look of horror on my mom’s face as a man in a blue uniform shone a flashlight in her face and yelled ‘Vancouver Police!” However, instead of grounding me, my parents made me write a story about it. 

However, despite all the writing I did as a child and the countless diaries I filled as a teen, it wasn’t till I was in my thirties that I started to believe I had something to say and started delving into fiction writing.

What is the earliest age you remember reading your first book?

One of the first books I remember reading was Cinderella. The scene I always loved most was when she first steps into the ballroom and everyone is so taken by her beauty that they stop and stare. I think one of the main reasons I wanted to become a model was so that I would experience that kind of admiration—so that people would see my face on a Vogue cover and stop and stare at me. Though I never did get my Vogue cover, I did get to experience that moment in lots of other ways (whenever someone asked me where I got my satin pants, I would make sure to pause dramatically before I delivered my response: on a shoot in Hong Kong). However, the funny thing was: it wasn’t all that enjoyable (not the pants, they were awesome).

What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

Young Adult or Adult Suspense and Mystery, as well as Young Adult Contemporary.

What is your favorite book?

I think that changes all the time but one of my most recent favourites is Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. I love the powerful mystery and intrigue that pushes the plot along—and which continues to surprise until the very end.

You know I think we all have a favorite author. Who is your favorite author and why?

There are so many amazing writers out there it’s hard to choose but some series that I wind up going back to again and again are Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse books and Scott Westerfeld’s The Pretties. Both blend deadly plots with surreal beauty in a way that I find particularly addictive. 

If you could travel back in time here on earth to any place or time. Where would you go and why?

I would go back to yesterday and by a lottery ticket for the winning jackpot so I wouldn’t have to worry about making money anymore and could spend all my time writing fiction. Actually, I might also go back to my high school and tell myself to stop trying to be someone else (though it’s unlikely I would have taken advice from some weird old lady so I guess that trip would be pretty pointless).

When writing a book do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?

I don’t think writing comes easy for anyone—it certainly doesn’t for me. In fact, I don’t think I’m a particularly gifted writer. What I am gifted with, however, is perseverance. And that is what allows me to turn what initially comes out as rough and tumble rambles into something that resembles a chapter.

Do you have any little fuzzy friends? Like a dog or a cat? Or any pets?

My son is long past the fuzzy stage but I do have a baby daughter. Luckily, she’s still pretty cuddly (when she isn’t crying or barfing on me—which is pretty rare).

What is your "to die for", favorite food/foods to eat?

Dark chocolate anything. Obviously. Sort of offended you had to ask. #choclaterulestheearth

Do you have any advice for anyone that would like to be an author?

Start with what you know and don’t ever doubt the importance of that. It took me a long time to realize that I had a story to tell and wish I had started earlier. Don’t make that mistake. Everyone’s life has some element that is totally unique and fascinating—discover what that is and write about it. 

Author Bio:
Jackie Amsden worked as a fashion model in China, Japan, and Taiwan before retiring at the age of eighteen after one too many agent threats, nude photo shoot requests, and self-loathing-induced Pocky binges. If you’d like to learn more about her decent into the darker side of Asia’s candy-coated modeling industry sign up for free installments of her upcoming memoir and get updates about the sequel to The Tokyo Cover Girls at 




Giselle said...

Thanks for hosting today, Nancy!

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