What experience did you have with cheerleading or cheerleaders in middle school? Were you one of the popular kids or one of the “nerds”?
I was definitely not one of the popular girls in middle school, so when I landed a spot on the cheerleading squad in eighth grade, it ruffled a few feathers. What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader is not autobiographical, but I did frequently call upon my middle grade memories and my one year as a cheerleader for inspiration when writing the book.
In your writing you seem to channel all the issues that come with being in middle school. What made you choose to write about cheerleading and middle schoolers?
I started writing the story because I was living in an apartment with two other women and we had some unbelievably noisy upstairs neighbors. We tried everything to get them to be more considerate, but nothing worked. My initial inspiration was just to vent a little because I was so frustrated. Then the character of Elaine popped out of my head. It became really fun to follow her around and see what she was going to do next. So, I didn’t exactly set out to write about cheerleaders, it’s just how the story evolved.
What do you hope readers will take away from What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader?
I hope older readers will enjoy remembering the comedy and tragedy of middle school. It’s when you’re just starting to figure out who you are and who you want to be. But, that doesn’t mean that’s how your friends and classmates perceive you or who they want you to be.
For readers who are in elementary and middle school, I hope they think the book is funny and an enjoyable read. But, also, that they’ll get to learn a few middle school lessons from vicariously experiencing them through Elaine. Middle school can be tough and I think it’s good to know that there are other kids out there who are also struggling through it.
Are you working on any new writing projects right now?
Yes, Belle Bridge Books, the publisher of What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader, has asked me to write a sequel, which will hopefully hit store shelves in September of 2011. I’m also working with the talented illustrator Monica Gallagher (www.eatyourlipstick.com) on a graphic novel for Oni Press. It hasn’t been announced yet, so I can’t give you too many details, but it’s a romantic comedy with a hint of magic and will hopefully be out in the spring of 2011.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
This may be a little obvious, but I love to read. I’m usually reading a fiction book, a non-fiction book, plus listening to a recorded book. Not simultaneously, of course. ;O) I also love to travel and have been to an obnoxious number of countries.
Don't forget to check out What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader on Kindle as well as in Paperback.
Now you have a chance to win the great book I just reviewed - What I Learned From Being a Cheerleader.
Five winners will a copy of the book as well as some really cool promotional stickers.
Two runners up will receive some stickers as well.
This giveaway is open to U. S. residents only.
To enter, all you have to do is follow my blog.
Extra entries can be earned through:
- +1 - Tweeting about the contest (see Tweet button above)
- +1 - Commenting on the review post
- +2 - Commenting on this interview (not simply saying, "Great Contest!")
Giveaway ends October 30th. This contest is now closed.
Thanks to Adrianne Ambrose for the awesome stickers and to Belle Bridge Books. I received a copy for a fair review. I was not required to give a positive review.