We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. Today we’re talking to Philip Siegel, author of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST, coming from Harlequin Teen in May 2014. One author, four questions. Here we go!

So you’re getting published! How’d that happen? (aka, what was your path to publication)

I wasn’t a voracious reader growing up. I utilized Cliff Notes and Spark Notes growing up quite a bit. (Ah, the days before Wikipedia.) I loved movies and television, so much that I studied screenwriting in college. During a stretch of unemployment, which is quite common in Los Angeles, I tried my hand at writing YA. While at a temp gig, I would do all my real work in the morning, mull over a chapter during lunch, then type it up in the afternoon. Until another temp ratted me out. Five years, two trunked manuscripts, and one change of scenery later, I sold my first book.

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

From Goodreads:

Some sixteen-year-olds babysit for extra cash. Some work at the Gap. Becca Williamson breaks up couples. 

After watching her sister get left at the altar, Becca knows the true damage that comes when people utter the dreaded L-word. For just $100 via paypal, she can trick and manipulate any couple into smithereens. With relationship zombies overrunning her school, and treating single girls like second class citizens, business is unfortunately booming. Even her best friend Val has resorted to outright lies to snag a boyfriend.

One night, she receives a mysterious offer to break up the homecoming king and queen, the one zombie couple to rule them all: Steve and Huxley. They are a JFK and Jackie O in training, masters of sweeping faux-mantic gestures, but if Becca can split them up, then school will be safe again for singletons. To succeed, she’ll have to plan her most elaborate scheme to date and wiggle her way back into her former BFF Huxley’s life – not to mention start a few rumors, sabotage some cell phones, break into a car, and fend off the inappropriate feelings she’s having about Val’s new boyfriend. All while avoiding a past victim out to expose her true identity.

No one said being the Break-Up Artist was easy.

Since I have a screenwriting background, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST has a cinematic feel to it. It’s fun, fast-paced, and filled with sharp dialogue. Teen films and TV shows have such great, quotable dialogue (CLUELESS, EASY A, 10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU, DAWSON’S CREEK even though it was totally unrealistic), and I try to carry on the tradition with THE BREAK-UP ARTIST.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Hearing from readers (all good things, hopefully). Knowing that complete strangers are going to choose to read my book is unreal.

What cool facts might readers not know about you?

My first job out of college was as an NBC page, and it was the greatest job I’ve ever had. I was such an eager beaver that my fellow pages called me Kenneth, like from 30 Rock. I even have a photo with Al Roker! Sadly, this is is one of the very few pictures I have from my page days. So word to the wise, folks, when you have the chance, always try to Kodak the moment.


Philip Siegel grew up in New Jersey, which he insists is much nicer than certain TV shows would have you believe. After college, he moved to Los Angeles, where he became an NBC page. Currently, he works in downtown Chicago and writes novels while sandwiched in between colorful characters on the El. His debut novel, THE BREAK-UP ARTIST (Harlequin Teen), about a girl who runs a business breaking up couples, hits bookstores May 2014.

13 thoughts on “Philip Siegel: THE BREAK-UP ARTIST

  1. Great photo Phillip! Can’t wait to read your book. Sounds like it’s going to be lots of fun.

  2. I am so in love with the premise of THE BREAK-UP ARTIST!! A definite must read for me! And I think you need to turn that temp who ratted you out into a character in your next novel and have them meet an untimely demise…mwahahahahahaha! (unless you’ve already done that 🙂 )

    • Funny story about that temp: a few weeks later, he strolled up to the dept manager’s desk and demanded a raise. He felt he wasn’t being properly compensated for his data entry skills. They laughed in his face. Then they fired him. 3 days before Christmas. Justice has been appropriately served 🙂

  3. Is that a peacock tie you’re wearing in the picture? I wondered if that was part of the NBC dress requirement.

    I’m psyched to read The Break-Up Artist. It sounds like a blast, and I predict a TV series will come from it. Because the whole premise just feels like a TV show plus you know how to spell your own first name correctly, with one L, so you must be smart. 😉

  4. I can’t believe you played the Roker card. Shameless…shameless I tell you 🙂 Congrats on this book, friend. As you know, I have a permanent drool trail on my chin when it comes to this book. I WANTS IT NOW!!

  5. Your book sounds awesome. And as a fellow New Jerseyian….please let me know of any book signings in the area. Also: I am intrigued by THE DUFF comparison – loved Bianca’s snark. 🙂

  6. Philip, this sounds so funny and fantastic! Have you already penned the screen adaptation? (If so, I’d love to talk to you–I have a playwriting/screenwriting background, too, and have been wondering whether it might be worth it to do my own screen adaptation of my book.)

    Anyway, congrats, and hooray for New Jersey! I lived in Weehawken for a long time and loved it.

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