MATERIAL GIRLS is about a world where teenagers are hired to set trends in industries like fashion and music. It is the story of two girls, a sixteen-year-old fashion maven named Marla Klein who works for a top design house, and Ivy Wilde, a fame-loving pop star who wears the clothing trends Marla picks. The two girls start to question their world’s culture of disposability and try to change things. Ultimately, the novel is a critique of our obsession with youth, fame, and materialism.
Is it a standalone book or part of a series?
I wrote MATERIAL GIRLS as a standalone, but I am currently playing around with a companion novel that focuses on the video game industry in this world.
Who inspired your main character?
Ivy was based on the Britney Spears/Christina Aguilera/Jessica Simpson generation of performers, who shot to fame at such young ages after starring on the New Mickey Mouse Club. This cycle of manufactured pop stars seems to repeat itself — today’s it-girl Ariana Grande came from Nickelodeon. Marla embodies my ambivalent feelings about fashion: the creativity of design is so much fun, but the waste and cost of clothing production are troubling.
Are you a plotter or do you just write whatever is in your head?
I usually do some big-picture plotting but let each chapter surprise me. In this case, I knew the two girls’ fates from the very beginning.
Do you require silence when writing or do you need background noise?
I love silence or café white noise. I can’t listen to music while writing. My brain gets too distracted. I want to sing along.
Are you writing your next book?
I’m working on many things! A biographical picture book, a middle grade novel about young con artists, and, as I mentioned, a companion novel to MATERIAL GIRLS. Stay tuned!
Elaine Dimopoulos is the author of MATERIAL GIRLS, a young adult novel published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. A graduate of Yale, Columbia, and Simmons College, where she earned an M.F.A. in writing for children, Elaine currently teaches at Boston University and Grub Street. While writing MATERIAL GIRLS, she served as the Associates of the Boston Public Library’s Children’s Writer-in-Residence.