| Amanda: Author already
New York, Feb. 4 (Reuters): At 18, Amanda Marquit has quite a resume ' child ballet star, accomplished on the piano and electric guitar and she's just published her first novel, Shut the Door, a story of teen sex and parental neglect.
'I just had a book signing that was really great,' said the teenager, who bears a passing resemblance to Courtney Love, in an interview in her Manhattan bedroom where the decor mixes Iggy Pop posters with books by her literary heroes, Vladimir Nabokov and Oscar Wilde.
Marquit's main concerns a month after her novel hit the shelves are passing her mid-term exams in the final year of high school and getting into a good college.
The book is the story of a dysfunctional suburban American family told from four points of view: The father Harry is on a business trip and seeks solace with a prostitute; his wife Beatrice finds she has nothing in her life with her husband away; two teenage daughters grapple with problems that read like the worst-case scenario of every parent's fears ' promiscuity, drink, drugs, self-mutilation and anorexia.
Marquit was reading Nabokov's Lolita, the controversial story of a middle-aged paedophile's relationship with a 12-year-old girl, when she started writing the short story that eventually became a novel. She was writing to pass the time while she was lonely at summer camp at the age of 14.
'It was weird because I realised I was Lolita's age pretty much as I was reading this and it was disturbing. But I was totally in awe of the prose so I really wanted to get through it,' Marquit said. 'It was a huge inspiration to me.'
'Obviously there's a difference between Lolita and the characters in my book,' she added. 'My characters are a bit older and they're not so manipulative.'
Though nowhere near as racy as last year's publishing sensation 100 Strokes of the Brush Before Bed by Italian teenage author Melissa P., Shut the Door may shock some.
The 16-year-old Lilliana seeks comfort in casual sex and cutting herself with razors while her 17-year-old sister is persuaded to perform a sexual act she finds revolting on another girl, watched by some boys.
Marquit and her father, a fund manager, are at pains to make clear the story is not autobiographical despite, or because of, the dedication which reads: 'To Mom, Dad, and Adam, for being the family upon which this book is based ' just kidding'.