After six years and seven seasons of having her life filmed (two stints on Laguna Beach and five on her own spin-off, The Hills), Lauren Conrad is ready to turn off her mike. "I wanted to leave on a good note," she says. "It can only be great for so long, and I think I stayed with it long enough." So what's next? The 23-year-old already has her own fashion label (though it's temporarily on hold) and an endorsement deal with Avon's product line for younger women, and she's got a young-adult novel coming out this week. The first of a three-book series, L.A. Candy is about a 19-year-old girl who moves to Los Angeles and becomes the star of a reality TV show. Hmm, sounds familiar.
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You're a pretty busy gal. How'd you find time to write a book?
When you get ready to write a book, you have no idea about the time commitment that's needed. I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but we had to push the deadline more than once. Knowing that I would be really tired from writing, I had planned a four-day vacation with my parents to Mexico right after my last deadline. But I ended up pushing the deadline, so I spent almost the entire vacation in my room working while it was beautiful outside.
This was a three-book deal. Have you been inspired to write a fourth or start another series?
If you had asked me at the end of the first book, I would have said no, but the second book has been a lot easier, because all the character introductions and outlines have been done. So I'm enjoying it a little bit more and I would definitely continue doing this.
The book seems all too similar to your actual life. Don't you think people know everything there is to know from watching your show?
People see the story in front of the cameras, but to me, everything that goes on behind them is the interesting part.
You've said the book is fictional and only loosely based on your life. People are still going to try to compare the two, right?
People can do that with anything. Like, "This mean girl is this person and her best friend is her best friend in real life," but everyone has a mean girl and a best friend. The characters in the book are just people that are in everybody's lives.
There are also lots of references to underage drinking, pot and hooking up with boys. But it's a young-adult book!
Because those things exist. Kids are smart, they know when you're trying to make a PG version of something that's real. I'm not going to lie and leave it out, but I do make sure to show that there is a consequence for everything you do.
You're obviously close with your parents. Have they ever yelled at you for something you've done on the show?
My parents are very understanding people, and they get that I'm young and I'm going to make mistakes, and they've let me know I can always ask for their guidance. But they've never criticized my decision-making. My dad will joke and tell me to stop kissing boys and my mom will tell me to stop playing with my hair.
You do play with your hair a lot.
Yeah, when you watch yourself you notice habits that you have that you wouldn't have picked up on otherwise.
What else did you notice?
I make a lot of facial expressions that I don't necessarily mean to. I always thought I was really sly and composed, but when people do things that are weird or offensive, I always make a face about it.
Any chance you'll join Whitney Port on The City?
I don't think so. I've talked with friends about moving to New York for a few months. I love the city, but as lame as it sounds, I don't think I could handle the weather. I love the California weather and the California lifestyle.
It's hard to tell on the show, but how does the public react to you when you're out?
That's one thing about New York: No one cares. L.A.'s kind of like that too because there's so many famous people there. The people are so chill they really couldn't care less about you. It's awesome.
Lauren Conrad will be signing copies of her book, L.A. Candy, at the Tribeca Barnes & Noble Thu 18 at 7pm.