Star Spotlight: Aly & A.J.
Photo courtesy Gerri Miller
Aly and A.J. Michalka are busy, busy girls! Not only are they getting ready to go into the studio to start on their third CD and gearing up for a tour this summer but their new book series, Aly and A.J.'s Rock 'n' Roll Mysteries, will be coming out next month. In late April, the girls appeared at the Los Angeles Times Festival of Books and read from their series. Afterwards, Scholastic News Online had a chance to sit down and have a one-on-one with these two! Check it out!
Q: How did you get the idea to do a book series like Aly & A.J.'s Rock 'n' Roll Mysteries?
Aly: We just thought it would be a cool idea to have a book that kids could have fun reading and have it be about someone they look up to. Like for us, we always read the Mary Kate and Ashley books when we were younger. And we love reading too. We're such avid readers.
A.J.: Right now, I'm reading Breakfast at Tiffany's. It's so good.
Aly: We have two writers who are also related writing the series, and what was cool was we were able to read it and make changes and put our voice into the books. Kids that buy the books already know about our music, so they get an inside look at how we are when we're on the road.
Q: How many will there be?
Aly: Right now there's four, plus the autobiography.
A.J.: That's totally separate. It's already out.
Q: So two in June and two later?
Q: Each book is set in a different city, right?
Aly: Yes, Miami, New York, Nashville, and Seattle.
A.J.: We want to do other countries too.
Q: What other books would you recommend to middle-schoolers?
Aly: We read the horseback riding books, Saddle Club.
A.J.: We liked anything that was light and fun and took you away to a place you weren't already at.
Q: Is that why you love reading?
A.J.: Yeah. It opens up such a different world in your mind. It really does broaden your vocabulary and the way you look at things. And for Aly and I, the way we write; it broadens our choice of words. I really feel that reading helps.
Aly: It's relaxing too. When you're stressed out or have a lot of things going on with school or friends, it's an escape. It's a whole other world you can put yourself into. And the great thing about reading is you can always bring it with you.
A.J.: You shouldn't look at it like homework. You should look at it as pleasure, as fun.
Q: So what do you have going on music-wise?
A.J.: We're working on a new record, and we're going to tour in June and July.
Aly: We'll be doing some festivals.
A.J.: And opening up two dates for Sheryl Crow. We're excited. We're gonna make a rock record, which will be really fun for us. Right now we're working on the material, getting it all ready. We're being really picky about what's going to go on it. We're writing our own stuff.
Aly: We're writing with each other and cowriting with other people.
Q: You did an ad for a multiple sclerosis awareness campaign. How did that come about? Why did you get involved?
Aly: We're really involved in the Race to Erase MS. We're really close to that charity because our cousin has MS. We've been working with Nancy Davis and Tommy Hilfiger, who have so much passion behind the project. They've launched a whole line of clothes and watches and jewelry—you can go to www.eraseMS.org to find out more.
Q: You both made movies recently. Aly, you're in Will with Vanessa Hudgens.
Aly: Yes. Vanessa and I—we don't have that many scenes together, but we hung out all the time on set and off set. It's about a boy who comes to school, and he's kind of a loner and an outcast. He knows a lot about music, but he doesn't know how to express his knowledge. So he meets the girl I play, Charlotte, and they connect on a musical level. She's a bit on the outside too. He helps with getting her band together. They become really great friends and the band ends up making it to Band Slam, which is a huge concert.
Q: You get to sing in it?
Aly: Yes. It has performance elements in it, but they tie into the storyline.
Q: When does it come out?
Aly: They're thinking March of next year.
Q: And A.J., you're in The Lovely Bones.
A.J.: Yes. I'm really excited.
Q: Who do you play?
A.J.: I play Clarissa, the best friend of the lead girl, played by Saoirse Ronan. It was amazing to work with Peter Jackson, and the cast and I got to shoot in New Zealand, which is a beautiful country. It's not a huge role, but to be a part of that kind of movie was amazing to me. We were on the set when Saoirse found out she was nominated for the Oscar. She told us in the makeup trailer, and everyone was jumping up and down.
Q: Is there a chance you'll make a movie version of your books?
Aly: I don't think we'll make a movie out of the book series. If we do a movie together, it will be something you won't expect.
A.J.: First of all, us not playing Aly and A.J.
Aly: Maybe something that's not a light comedy—something a little heavier.
Q: Any other individual projects coming up?
Aly: I'm reading scripts right now, auditioning. But right now, we're really focused on music. It's our time to do that.
A.J.: Who wants to choose? We can do it all!
June 12, 2008
First Stop and Mayhem in Miami, the first two books of Aly & A.J.'s Rock 'n' Roll Mysteries, are in stores.
June 8, 2008—July 6, 2008
Aly & A.J. tour 12 cities in America
Name: Alyson Renee Michalka
Birthday: March 25, 1989
Birthplace: Torrance, CA
Name: Amanda Joy Michalka
Birthday: April 10, 1991
Birthplace: Torrance, CA
Fave actors: Johnny Depp, Jack Black
Fave sports: Hunter-jumping equestrian, volleyball, swimming, rock climbing, mountain biking
Fave animals: Dogs, horses, and dolphins
Fave foods: Sushi, tacos, pasta
Fave car: Range Rover
Fave food: Sushi
Fave sandwich: Quizno's Turkey Ranch & Swiss
Fave color: Purple
Fave book series: Artemis Fowl
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Gerri Miller is a contributing writer for Scholastic News Online.