Goldy Moldavsky wrote the book I’m silently kicking myself I didn’t write. Or think of writing. It’s so ingeniously perfect to take fandom to it’s ultimate conclusion and play with the themes of obsession, identity and, of course ‘never meet your idol’.
I’ve been a fan. I mean, it’s true I never loved ‘pop’ as a teen, but I was absolutely obsessed over The Cure. Along with all the homemade art, folded fanzine posters, and cover art painstakingly recreated on my canvas school bag, my friend made me a pillow case with Let’s Go To Bed hand painted on it. I would have cut off a finger to go see them when they went to Australia in 1992. I crushed on any boy at school with a Robert Smith hair cut.
What I’m saying is, I get the obsession and I love Heathers, so it was only natural I speak to Goldy as soon as she was free.
Sooo…. I absolutely LOVE the premise of your book, and it caught my eye right away. (obvs, also the amazing cover). What was the documentary that inspired the story, and how did that nugget of inspiration turn into Kill The Boyband?
Thank you! It’s true—a documentary about boy band fans inspired the book but I don’t remember the name of it. It was one of those things I happened to catch somehow. It struck a chord with me because I recognized myself in those girls—I know all too well what it’s like to obsess over people in the entertainment world. And I also knew that depending on your perspective you’d have your own interesting opinion on these types of fans. I wanted to shed some light on fangirls and look at them from all angles.
Like me, you’re a TV fangirl. Which bands did you fangirl hard over as a teen or was Buffy the first true fangirl experience?
Honestly, I feel like being a fangirl (or boy) is just a way of life! If you’re a fangirl you’ve probably been doing it forever and will continue to do it—to find new fandoms once your old ones come to an end. I was a fan of your classic 90s boy bands (nsync and backstreet boys) and then I turned it up a notch for Avril Lavigne, which is when I actually started meeting other fans and becoming part of a community. Being a Buffy fan was te first time I started expressing myself creatively through fandom, which led me to fanfiction and a love of writing.
This is the thing I find fascinating. I get TV fandom because it’s a story, a fiction. But boybands? Do these fans revel in the fiction of it all? Like deep down do they know this is a glossy veneer, and that they are players in a big game? Or is the *real life ness* all important. Thoughts?
I think it’d be a mistake for us to generalize the boy band fangirl experience. I think these girls love these bands for myriad reasons, which is something I tried to portray in KTBB. In the story we meet four fangirls. Their common denominator is their love for The Ruperts, but what that love means is different for each girl, and exploring how that love could manifest itself in so many different ways was at the heart of the story.
This quote: I loved The Ruperts for who they were, sure, but I mostly loved them for how they made me feel. Which was happy. The Ruperts made me happy. The simplest thing to be in the world. And the hardest. That quote sums up fangirling the best to me. In all the interviews I’ve conducted with fangirls that is the main thrust – the band makes them happy. Fandoms give them a sense of belonging and in the end that’s a good thing. Were you hyper aware of not upsetting this potential section of your audience when you wrote the book?
That sense of happiness and belonging is my favorite thing about fandom because it isn’t something most people come by easily. It’s really lucky when you feel that way. As a writer, you never want to upset your core readership but I had faith that fangirls would see that I approached the story as an insider. And I think the longer you’re in the world of fandom the more you can step back and look at it with a greater appreciation than just what’s on the surface. My favorite reactions to the book so far have been the readers who say it’s ridiculous and outrages and yet still accurate.
You play a bit with identity in the book. Why did this become a theme?
The individual fangirl tends to get lost in the fandom narrative. When we think of fans we imagine them as a sea of (often hysterical) faces. It was important for me to make this story about the girls (the boy band is important too, of course, but in this instance they’re almost beside the point.) So seeing who these individual four girls are, and how they’re radically different in their approach to fandom, was important to me. But at the same time there’s a lot that the main character holds back from the reader, and that’s partly because she does find some freedom being able to get lost in the pack. The things that we love most about fandom—the community, sharing your passions with like-minded people—are the things that free the main character up to tell this story—and to remain partly hidden while doing so.
Can you give some examples of books (or movies or television) that you adore that deal with fans/music obsession?
There’s the classic Almost Famous which I appreciate more and more every time I watch it. But I recently rewatched a couple movies in the the Liv Tyler collection—That Thing You Do! And Empire Records—always fun looks at bands and fandom.
I need to do a whole blog post on Almost Famous ASAP. Who is going to play your lead ladies in the film which is defo happening, right? 🙂
Haha no movie yet but if I were to fancast it I’d give the role of Erin to Elle Fanning. She looks so sweet so I’d love to see her play someone a bit diabolical.
Tell us quickly about Eat Dirt!
Ah, Eat Dirt. Where Kill the Boy Band was a salty dark satire Eat Dirt is a sweet screwball comedy. It takes place at a summer camp for activist teens who all want to make the world a better place but get caught up in a cut throat competition. Will they save the world? (maybe) Will they destroy each other in the process? (likely.)
Lastly, a few quickies.
What is the last record you bought?
The last physical CD I bought was 1989, Taylor Swift!
Last book you read?
But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure.
What are you watching right now?
So many things! Broad City, Veep, This is Us, BoJack Horseman, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Girls, The Affair, The Royals, Orange is the New Black, to name a few.
Who’s playing you in the TV biopic of your life, Goldy? I would always chose Drew for me because I HEART her.
Haha I have no idea, but someone just told me I remind them of Sutton Foster, so let’s go with her. 🙂