Actress and author Molly Ringwald redefined the “coming-of-age” movie with her 1980s hits Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles and The Breakfast Club. She proved equally adept on the Broadway stage where she starred in productions of Cabaret and Enchanted April and can currently be seen on the ABC Family television hit The Secret Life of the American Teenager.

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Ringwald says her passion for books and writing is rooted in her upbringing. She and her husband, writer/editor Panio Gianopoulos, consider reading “one of the great pleasures in life.” Both are intent on sharing that pleasure with their three children..

 


 

When it Happens to You:

A Novel in Stories (Harper Collins) is Ringwald’s fiction debut and treats readers to an insightful look into the lives, loves and losses of group of interconnected characters in Los Angeles.

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Karen Jones: ‘When It Happens to You’  has a large cast of characters. What was your method for researching and defining such a diverse group?
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Molly Ringwald: Living and watching people is my biggest method of research. Each character is a work of fiction, but each has qualities of people that I have known or met—and then they go through the filter of my imagination that takes them in a different direction. I’ve invented histories and opinions for them that don’t exist. It is one of the parts of writing fiction that I absolutely love. Getting to the heart of why a person could possibly make a life decision when it goes in such stark contrast to everything they believe to be true is like figuring out a psychic puzzle. I find doing this sort of work really intriguing and satisfying.

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KJ: You were able to depict a central theme of betrayal in a poignant and heartfelt manner.  How do you address tough situations in a narrative?
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MR: I just try to write with a sort of transparency that I would find engaging as a reader. I think that the theme of the book is very relatable so I felt that if I could remain as truthful as possible without trying to make the characters look better or worse than they are—to present them without any judgment—then the stories might connect with people.

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KJ: You come from a family of readers and said you have always found great comfort in books—something you impart to your own children. Any advice for multi-tasking parents who wish to do the same?
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MR: All of my children already love books. I think the best thing any parent can do is to present books as a special treat—which is what we have always done in our house. It’s when the children get the un-divided attention of the parents. Sometimes my husband and I switch off so that we all can have special one on one time, either reading a book, or inventing a book. Mathida has a series that she very often brainstorms at night before going to sleep and then she writes it during the day and then reads it aloud to her class at the end of the day.  Our two years olds love being read to and they each go to sleep in their cribs clutching a book as if they are teddy bears. We are truly a house of book lovers!

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KJ: Any advice for aspiring writers?
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MR: Sit down in a place with very few distractions and don’t move for at least two hours if you can manage it. It’s a bit like those yoga meditations where they tell you to resist even scratching your face if you have an itch. For me, sitting down and writing is the only way that I can come up with anything at all. You may think what you’ve written is terrible, but if you don’t write anything, you won’t have anything to revise!

 

Molly Ringwald

Website:  I am Molly Ringwald

Facebook:  Molly Ringwald

Twitter:  @MollyRingwald

 

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