Author Interview and Review of ‘The Dirt’ by Lori Culwell


May 14, 2012 by Alice in Readerland

Lucy Whitley cannot wait to get out of Palm Desert. It’s not a place for a frizzy-haired science nerd, particularly when her fashion-obsessed older sister Sloane is the head of a clique of pretty girls who rule the school—and practically the whole town. Fortunately, life is about to change forever. Lucy’s dad is getting re-married, and then she can transfer to a boarding school in Connecticut, escaping all the mean girls and the endless whispers about the Whitley family scandal. Everything is going to be perfect—as long as the wedding goes smoothly.” ~ Goodreads description

Title: The Dirt

Author: Lori Culwell

Publisher: Booktrope Editions

Published: November 11th, 2011

ISBN: 1935961365

ISBN-13: 9781935961369

Lucy Whitley wants this wedding to be perfect. Because as soon as her dad re-marries, she finally gets to leave Palm Desert, which means that she gets to start her new life:

a)     At a boarding school with a science program that’s almost a guarantee that she’ll get in to med school at John Hopkins.

b)    Without her older sister Sloane (“the original Mean Girl”, according to Lucy) and her unofficial group called PG.

c)     Away from everyone gossiping about “The Whitley Scandal”. About how Lucy’s mom just took her sister and left.

But all this requires that the wedding go smoothly. Which means that she has to keep her active little sister, Frankie, from wearing Converse with her dress; get a dress sash away from her deaf dog, Clementine, before it goes to “Doggie Stomach Land”; make sure haughty Sloane’s not late; make sure her dad’s not late to his own wedding; and dodge the items that the PG throw at her head.

All the while wearing her hideous bridesmaid dress. The dress with the shrug that has shoulder pads that make her look like she’s on Star Trek. The dress that is so bad that she took a picture of it at the fitting, posted it on Facebook, and her friends voted it “Scariest Bridesmaid’s Dress of All Time” by the time she got out of the fitting.

But what happens when a mysterious guest arrives at the wedding? A girl with pale skin, black hair, a pierced lip, black eye makeup and lipstick, white face powder, and combat boots? And what happens when she interrupts the wedding with a shocking secret? Will Lucy still get her new life?

Secrets will be exposed, hilarity will ensue, and Lucy will be challenged more than she’s ever been in this fantastic book.

If you’re looking for a fun read, this is the book for you. This book deals with staying true to yourself and to your friends, family drama, popularity, and will keep pulling out the surprises as Lucy discovers more about her family and PG. You’ll laugh (and cringe) at Lucy’s disastrous family camping trip, identify with Lucy’s struggle, and smile at the awesome conclusion.

Pick up your copy of The Dirt today!


Here’s an interview I had with Lori:


Me: How did you come up with the idea for The Dirt?

Lori: I actually grew up in Palm Desert (the town where the book is set– I went to high school with several movie stars’ kids plus the guys from Queens of the Stone Age), so I got all of my experiences and ideas first-hand. Many (many!) of the stories in the book are actually true!


Me: What’s your writing process like?

Lori: Mostly story-based. People tell me crazy stuff all the time, of course I write it all down, and eventually a storyline will occur to me to thread all the craziness together. This is exactly how I wrote my first novel (Hollywood Car Wash) as well, only that one is about the entertainment industry.


Me: How did you become interested in writing?

Lori: I was always a big reader, and I entered a writing contest in the second grade (the local paper was looking for clever advertising slogans made up by kids). My entry won, they published it in the paper, and I never looked back.  :)


Me: I loved the pop culture references in The Dirt! What are your favorite books and T.V. shows? What were your favorite books and T.V. shows as a teen?

Lori: I watch the Big Bang Theory, Revenge, and I’m into The Secret Circle lately as well. Oh, and let us never forget America’s Next Top Model, which I keep trying to quit (unsuccessfully). Books? Hunger Games, Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I love Meg Cabot’s writing, I find David Sedaris reliably funny, and I am a big Seth Godin fan (he writes business-type books).


Me: There are a lot of references to fashion in The Dirt, from the PG’s expensive style to wearing all black, from Chanel to Old Navy. What was your favorite outfit as a teen?

Lori: I was an all-black wearer for sure, but I also recall having some Guess Jeans that I wore all the time. My high school friends could probably produce some hilarious photos of my fashion victimness. I am always amazed at how totally fashion aware and stylish teenage girls seem now.  I was definitely more of a “Lucy” in that scenario.


Me: There are these different strong characters in The Dirt that have their own very distinct personality. What was your inspiration for some of these characters?

Lori: The desert is filled with interesting characters for sure, and living in L.A., San Francisco, and New York over the years, I just met a ton of different people. Often I will start characters from characteristics of people I either really like or really don’t like, then I try to imagine what they would do if they were put into weird situations.  A few people I know have actually asked me “Is that character based on me?” Usually it’s one of the really mean characters!


Thanks so much for letting me interview you, Lori!



Lori’s website

Lori’s Twitter

The Dirt on Amazon

5 thoughts on “Author Interview and Review of ‘The Dirt’ by Lori Culwell

  1. Mandy R. says:

    This sounds like a good read & I loved the author interview!

  2. *Sophie* says:

    Awesome review!

  3. Lynn says:

    Love this!

  4. BethLovesBooks says:

    I’ll add this to my to-read pile.

  5. Lucy says:

    Cool interview!

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