Paperback: 280 pages
Publisher: Sweetwater Books (8 Dec 2011)
Jen's life of partying and sneaking out has grown stale. So on a whim, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a goody-two-shoes geek, into a "bad boy." As she hangs out with Trevor, however, she finds it's actually kinda fun being a geek. But when Trevor finds out about the bet, Jen must fight for the things she's discovered matter most: friendship, family, and, above all, love.
I’m lucky enough to have Cindy Bennett here with me today, answering a few questions about her amazing YA novel Geek Girl, and about life as a writer. After the interview, you can read my review of Cindy’s book. I’d love to hear what you guys think, so leave a comment, and if you have already read the book, how much you liked it.
Hi Cindy, thanks so much for dropping by today J First of all, I just want to say how much I enjoyed Geek Girl, I could hardly put it down! Where did the inspiration for Jen and Trevor’s story come from?
I needed to write a short story (1500 words) to enter a writing contest. As I sat down to think of ideas, for no particular reason the idea of a girl who considered herself bad popped into my head. I wanted to put her with someone who was the polar opposite, and the idea of a geek came to me. But how to get them together? That’s when I decided on the bet angle, and from there it pretty much wrote itself. Once I had finished, I could not get Jen & Trev out of my head. I thought about them constantly. They were demanding to have their story told in full, so I obliged. It was actually a fairly quick process to write the whole book, though I felt a bit stifled by the original short story. It was kind of like writing with an outline, which I don’t do. Once I let go of the idea of it having to follow the short version absolutely, it came much easier.
Were you anything like Jen (or Trevor) as a teen?
I wasn’t like either of them. I wasn’t bold enough to be Jen, or ambitious enough to be Trev. I was a complete wallflower. I didn’t want to be noticed in any way, shape, or form because I was painfully shy. You’ll find small pieces of me in all of my characters, of course, but sometimes those pieces are just things I’d wished I were at that age, such as being as courageous and forward as Jen is. I was a bit of a rebel, as well. I didn’t conform well to rules and expectations.
I hear that! What was high school like for you?
High school was something of a blur. I had the intelligence to excel, but lacked the desire or drive. I was so shy that I didn’t participate in anything extra-curricular, or try to join in any of the clubs—though I did try out for dance company a couple of times since I loved to dance, but my grades kept me from being able to participate. I met my husband in high school, who was the complete opposite of me: outgoing, bold, courageous, loud, football player. He was perfect for me so I never had to say anything to anyone when I was with him. With him I did participate in a lot of activities.
Hehe, another case of opposites attract! What made you want to be a writer?
I think I’ve always wanted to be a writer. I’ve always loved to read, and felt I could write good stories as well. But it really changed in high school. I had an English teacher in 9th & 10th grade Honors English who really taught me my deep love of literature and even more a desire to be a writer. He’d have us do a “10 Minute Writing” at the beginning of each class, where he would give us a random subject, and for 10 minutes we would just write. I looked forward to that more than anything else all day. He would tell me I wrote well, and encouraged me to think about writing more. That was when I really truly believed I could do it, I could be a real writer.
Wow! You were lucky to have such an encouraging teacher! Every writer has a different way in which they work – how do you like to do it, what’s your writing routine?
I really just plop down on the couch with my laptop, TV is usually on, family around some of the time, sometimes I’m writing in the middle of the night alone. I don’t ever use an outline, though I do usually have an idea of where my story is going, where I want it to end. Of course, sometimes that changes as I write. If I have an idea for a particular scene, I’ll write that out and then add it in later, if it fits. If it doesn’t, I discard it. I try to write daily, though lately that’s been difficult to accomplish.
I’m very meticulous about where I write – it can only be at my big old desk with nothing but music in the background! But I’m right with you on outlines ;) What do you do to find inspiration?
There are a few different things. My favorite is to go for a ride on my Harley where I can spend the time just imagining different stories. That’s the best, because there’s no one else with me, just road noise and my imagination. Sometimes I just go to a quiet place and think of ideas, like lying in bed at night in the dark. Other times I might pop in a movie that fits the mood I’m looking for, or listen to some music for the same. There’ve even been times when something I’m watching on TV (usually some type of educational program) will give me an idea for either a scene on my current project, or even a whole story.
What can your readers expect to see next from you?
I’m currently finishing up a book called Immortal Mine. It’s a little different than my other books as it has a touch of the paranormal in it. And it will likely have a sequel since I still have a lot of story to tell and I’m already at around 80k words. At heart, though, it is definitely a contemporary YA romance. Hopefully that will be available soon.
I hope it will be too!
Thanks for answering my questions, Cindy, it was lovely having you here! Read on for my review of Geek Girl.
"Think I can turn that boy bad?”
A simple sentence changes Jen Jones’ life forever. Jen is a hardened partier goth girl with a penchant for getting into trouble. She’s 17 and a foster kid, looking to stir up enough trouble to get sent back into the system and onto another family. And Jen has her eyes set on geeky Trevor to help her accomplish the task.
Trevor is cute by geek standards, pretty eyes and to-die-for dimples. Sensitive and polite, Trevor is the polar opposite of Jen. To befriend the geek, Jen shamelessly pursues him – enduring sci-fi flick after sci-fi flick, bouts of time at a retirement centre, his doubly geeky friends…and bowling. Lots of bowling. All for him to take notice.
And notice he does. As make-believe and reality start to blur, Jen can’t help notice just how cute Trevor really is, how genuinely nice he is and what a catch he would make for any girl. But the worst thing…he seems to be rubbing off on Jen. She starts to see her old friends for what they really are, how partying isn’t the answer, and ignoring the past doesn’t mean it’s gone.
Like Trevor, Jen’s foster family, the Grant’s, only have her best interest at heart. They do everything they can to make her feel welcome, but after a lifetime of neglect and abuse, Jen can’t help but doubt their intentions. It will take a lot for Jen to realise that maybe she is worth it…and maybe she is worth loving after all.
Geek Girl has an easy, lightness to it, despite its sometimes dark subject matter. It was a pleasure to watch not just Jen, but Trevor, grow as characters as they opened up to each other, and the possibility of what might happen.
The most special thing about this book was how it came alive for me. Jen and Trevor were solid characters that felt very true, and because of that, they leaped off the pages. Jen’s troubled background gave the book a dark twist, but one that is a very real reality for a lot of kids. It was a pleasure to watch her overcome her past and deal with it, allowing her to move on to something better.
Jen’s relationship with the Grant’s was almost as enjoyable to read as her relationship with Trevor and I have to admit…brought a tear to my eye more than once.
Geek Girl is a must read for anyone who loves romance, YA, family-orientated fiction or a damn good read. I’m recommending this to anyone who will listen.
Keep up to date with all Cindy's news and info on her website: www.cindycbennett.com