Weetzie first burst onto the YA scene in 1989 (in Weetzie Bat). What prompted you to return to her after all this time, and why in a book for adults [Necklace of Kisses]?
I chose to return because I wasn't feeling in my life the kind of magic that I was feeling when I wrote the earlier books. I thought I was finished with Weetzie after Dangerous Angels; then I had children and I focused on that. As my children got older, I was aware of the magical elements returning to my own life. This story began to evolve, and it starred Weetzie as an older, more mature person.
Was it a nostalgia trip for you? Or are these characters very much alive and maturing every day?
They're part of me. I might not be thinking about them every day, but it's very easy for me to get back into that world. I did glance back at the books to remind me of details here and there, but it's really a mythology that resides in my internal landscape.
The book takes place nearly in "real time." Did you want Weetzie to "grow up" with her original readers? Did you take into account the changes in L.A. in the intervening years?
Time and place are very relevant to me. When I was writing the earlier books, the early '80s were very much a part of [the fabric]—AIDS, the music scene. Certainly September 11 was very symbolic to me, and all the [resulting] pain in the world, and that's consumed My Secret Agent Lover Man and Weetzie [in Necklace]. People say that L.A. is a character in my books; Weetzie Bat couldn't be set in that same Los Angeles if I were writing it now.
What's different about Necklace is that it goes through day by day, right down to what [Weetzie] wears every day. I slowed down the book and made it a shorter period than the other books, which gives you a sense of a detailed world. The pink hotel becomes a metaphor for Weetzie's mind, her consciousness. At the same time I tried to make Weetzie be an active heroine. She grows up for the first time.
Do you think your original Weetzie fans will come to this book? Or do you hope it attracts new fans?
Both. The people who originally read Weetzie are not teens anymore, and they're a very strong foundation. I also think it's a more accessible book for women, and I think even the use of clothing as a metaphor for transformation [makes it more accessible], and other ideas may appeal to a broader audience—the love story and the second coming-of-age that are important to the book.