We were ogling the photos of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants author Ann Brashares's impeccably renovated four-story carriage house in today's Home section, which filled us with the same predictable envy and incredulity we feel every time anyone suggests that writing can eventually lead to fiscal solvency. However did Anne come up with the idea for the bestselling series that eventually netted her a 25X25 kitchen, we wondered? We seemed to remember hearing something about that once. Let's see — according to the Times,
In 1999, after hearing a colleague describe how she had once shared a pair of pants with friends, Ms. Brashares began working on a book about four teenage girlfriends who spend their summers apart, but stay in touch in part by taking turns wearing the same magical jeans, which somehow fit each of their bodies.
Alloy also has a reputation among writers for not always sharing its successes with the underlings who contributed to them. A case in point, often repeated as a cautionary tale among Y.A. authors, is the story behind one of the book packager's most lucrative hits, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. The Traveling Pants idea originated with a woman named Jodi Anderson, who was then an editor at Alloy. Ms. Anderson proposed the concept (a group of girlfriends who share a pair of jeans), which was based on some of her own college experiences. She wrote a proposal sketching out the idea that was sold to a publisher, and was under the impression that she might then get to write the book(s). The concept was also sent to non-Alloy Y.A. writers, according to one writer who was approached, who were invited to write samples for the book. The writer said that she wasn't paid for what she submitted and wasn't contacted again or given feedback by the company. Ms. Anderson also wrote a sample. In the meantime, Ann Brashares, who was then co-president of Alloy with Les Morgenstein, decided to write the book.
Jodi Anderson, if you're out there, we just have one piece of advice: make sure not to look at the slide show.