Her recent novel, The Blondes, is a dark satire in which a plague turns blondes into rabid killers that terrorize New York City. One Canadian grad student tries to flee home to tell her married lover she’s pregnant.
Athena McKenzie: I’ve heard this book was inspired by an ad you saw. Can you tell me about that?
Emily Schultz: It was a Gucci ad in Vanity Fair. As I was flipping through the magazine, I noticed that almost all the advertisements featured blonde women. And then I came to this spread, and they looked absolutely murderous. They were modelling clothes and, like all models, they were thin and attractive but they looked like they were ready to snap. For some reason, that stuck with me. I had been thinking about doing a book about women because I’ve written a lot of male protagonists. This really is my first female protagonist book. I had wanted to write about women, and about women’s friendships and women’s relationships and about our power struggles. When I saw that [ad], I just said, “The Blondes” in this creepy voice, and it stuck.
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