July 2008


Australian Zoe Foster is a former magazine beauty editor and is now editor-in-chief of a new beauty website. Her debut novel, Air Kisses, is about Hannah who lands a job as beauty editor of Gloss magazine.

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  1. What inspired you to turn your hand to novel writing?

    It was half that I was living in a completely bizarre world (helicopter rides to the Hunter Valley for facials; free cosmetics being sent to me daily to play with) and which I felt demanded documentation, and half that I don't feel useful unless I am doing 567 things at once, so why not write a book on top of full-time work and a blog?

  2. How did it feel to first hold the book in your hands?

    It was delicious. Exhilarating. My heart raced and my hands shook. It arrived on my last day at Harper's BAZAAR, so I was already in a pretty strange headspace. Seeing the book catapulted me into a jittery, hyper, grinning loon. (Usually I'm just a regular grinning loon.)

  3. What is it about Hannah that will appeal to readers?

    Obviously heartbreak is a pretty standard currency among most of us. But I think also Hannah's sense of uncertainty about herself, her worth and her ability will resonate with readers. So many of us go through a life phase where we feel entirely out of place and, well, like a bit of a dirty little fraud, really, so I tried to show how we can shuffle through that, and come out all shiny and confident on the other side.

  4. Why did you have her involved with several love interests?

    In my friendship circles and I think for most of the young women I know or meet, when you're single, rarely is there just one guy taking up mental real estate. These days it's a little more complex than simply falling for Mr Darcy.

  5. Did you ever have a crush on a friend's brother?

    Surprisingly, you're the first to ask that. (I at least expected my boyfriend to ask . . . and then scurry to my Facebook for evidence of any 'Decs' floating around.) No, I can honestly say that I haven't. I've had crushes on my brother's friends however. That's what brothers are for. That and opening jam jars.

  6. Your portrayal of how people are in the beauty/magazine world was quite positive. Were you just being kind?

    Another brilliant question. No, I wasn't. I mean, I was being kind, but that's because the beauty industry is genuinely lovely. I suppose you could say that was another reason I wrote the book: I found it tiring and lazy for book after book to portray magazines as a bitchy, snitchy world. In reality, or at least my reality, I've had nothing but an excellent time with cool girls who have worked their asses off to get their job, and who know not to take it for granted. Of course, that's not to say we're all delightful creatures handing out daisies and home-baked cookies, but in my time in mags, I met some of my closest friends and have thoroughly enjoyed working alongside scores of clever, hard working young minxes. I actually struggled to create the 'nasty' characters, as lame as that sounds. But then, a lot of magazine-based novels shine their spotlight firmly on fashion, and mine is focused on the beauty side of things. So maybe it's a beauty vs fashion thing; who knows. (Ducks a YSL Stiletto sailing across the room.)

  7. Tell us about your new primped website.

    Why, I would love to! In a nutshell, it's a beauty destination unlike anything seen in Australia so far. We are utilising some incredible technologies: beautiful, bountiful videos (with channels just for how-tos, celebrity interviews, and for insider advice from international make-up/hair experts), up-to-the-minute blogging, product and celebrity content, a product finder that acts as a library of every beauty product ever invented (don't quote me on that. Hang on, I just quoted myself because this is an email interview. Right. Carry on) and, oh so much more. The most defining element, though, will be the tone. We don't take beauty too seriously. We respect beauty, but we have fun with it, make it entertaining, bring it back to what it essentially is: face paint that makes us feel good about ourselves.

  8. What advice would you give someone wanting to get into the magazine industry?

    Do work experience. Try to get an internship, even if it's not at the exact title you want to eventually work on. Once you're in the door and you've worked hard, people will take notice, and hopefully, you will be able to move around. It's best to go in thinking you'll be cleaning the editor's keyboard with a toothbrush and fetching 30kg boxes of accessories for the fashion crew, because then, if you are asked to get the mail or a soy chai latte, you won't bat an eyelid. (Subtext: Work experience isn't glamorous. It's meant to be treated like you are a fish, and it is the sea, and via osmosis you take in everything that happens on a magazine, to see which area interests you, if any.)

  9. What's your next novel about?

    Unfortunately the large, irate cheetah chained to my left ankle prevents me from revealing this.

  10. What three things would you take to a desert island?

    A fully fuelled helicopter, a pilot and a picnic basket.

  11. Tell us the best and worst thing about being a footballer WAG (her partner is rugby league player Craig Wing).

    Best: Party pies, hot chips and beer become a diet staple.
    Worst: Going to weddings/funerals/birthdays/christenings hans solo.

  12. What are you reading now?

    Hey Whipple, Squeeze This by Luke Sullivan. It's a guide on how to create great advertising, and it's very helpful while creating all of the marketing concepts for And, it's non-fiction, which are the only books I allow myself to read while writing a novel.

  13. Who is your favourite chick lit character?

    Hannah Atkins from Air Kisses. I mean talk about totally AWESOME!!! (Come on, you saw that coming.)

  14. What did you think of The Devil Wears Prada?

    I enjoyed it, especially the film adaptation. I think a large element of the appeal with the book was reading it knowing it was (very) thinly veiled fiction. She's a clever girl, Lauren Weisberger.

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