Friday, November 25, 2011

Interview with Cindy Bennett: Author of Geek Girl

A couple months ago I downloaded Geek Girl by Cindy Bennett from NetGalley.  I fell absolutely and totally in love with this story.  See my review here.  What I loved most about this story was that Cindy Bennett manages to weave in a beautiful message about love and self-worth without beating you over the head with it.  I can't recommend this book enough.  It will be one that I keep on my shelf for my girls when they are older.

We have been given the awesome opportunity to interview Cindy Bennett as part of the Geek Girl Blog Tour.  Keep reading to learn how Cindy feels about books, boys and pie!

What was your inspiration for this story?

I wrote Geek Girl originally as a short story (1500 words) for a contest. There are a lot of stories and movies out there about a popular kid trying to turn some nerd or wallflower popular, so I wanted to take the idea and turn it upside down. I wanted to take someone who was edgy, who others might perceive as “bad” and have that be the kid trying to turn someone the way they are. And I wanted the person they were trying to bring down to be unusual, not one of the popular kids. I guess you could say I wanted to keep popular kids out of it altogether. I really hadn’t intended for her to become so caught up in his life, though I always knew she would love him. The original title was “Geek Boy.” Someone else pointed out that because of her journey, it should be “Geek Girl.” They were right.

Are Jen and Trevor based on real people? And if so, can you put Trevor in a time capsule and let him out when my daughter is old enough to date?

Seriously, who wouldn’t want their daughter to bring home a Trevor? There’s been a lot of discussion about how “perfect” he is, but I hope readers remember he seems so because we are seeing him through her eyes, and she’s completely smitten. He is loosely based on a boy who my daughter briefly dated in high school, only in that he was a good-looking geek who played the piano, sang well, and was kind to everyone. She isn’t based on a specific person, though her backstory is based on the real story of a young man who I saw once on TV. Sadly, he let the experience affect him to the point that he is now in prison. My heart broke for him when he told his story. How horrific for him to be put through that.

On your blog you share your experience with self-publishing and the work it took to get your books into the hands of readers. How has the publishing process been different now that Geek Girl has been picked up by a publishing company?

It’s a little hard to say exactly what it would have been like having a publisher the first time around based on the fact that because I now have a small bit of name recognition, I have a bit of a pre-built-in audience, which may make it somewhat easier to market Geek Girl. However, it has been a great experience letting others take the reins on some of the things, like the blog tour, the book signings, editing and formatting, the book launch. I’ve been blessed to have the specific editors I have because they are so amazing to work with, and catch things about the book that I should have easily caught myself. They’ve made the book so much better.

Star Trek or Star Wars? Or is this an impossible question?

I do a podcast with my son called the RyTime Geekcast, and we did a whole show on this a few months ago. I took the official position of defending Star Trek, but in the end I have to go with Star Wars. I have a great deal of respect and admiration for Star Trek, from Captain Kirk to Captain Picard to the latest well-done Star Trek movie, but my heart belongs to Anakin, Padme, Luke, Leia, and of course Han. I’ve seen all six movies multiple times—far more than I’ve watched anything Star Trek.

Would you be able to share a little about your latest work-in-progress?

At the time of this writing, I am currently nearly finished with my latest book called Immortal Mine (though hopefully it’s published as of this reading, and I have a new WIP). It’s a bit different for me, dipping a toe into the paranormal with an immortal hero, though he is not a vampire! Hopefully it’s not so far out of my realm that it’s horrible. Following that, I plan a series of shorts based on fairytales that I will later combine into a single book.

Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members while writing this book.

While I was writing both this book and Heart on a Chain (both of which were completed before I published either), I didn’t tell anyone what I was doing, other than my two teenage daughters. They would read as I wrote, and they are the only reason I ever had the courage to try publishing. So during the writing process they were my only support as they were the only ones who knew. During the publishing phase, it was my small critique group who supported, encouraged, and gave me much of the information I needed to get published in the first place.

One of our favorite things is pie (and cake). Do you have a favorite treat that you like to indulge in?

My latest weakness is a big, hot, gooey chocolate chip cookie with a scoop of ice cream and whipped cream on top. More and more restaurants are starting to carry these, which is a really bad thing for me as I don’t have any resistance to them. Other than that, no-bake cookies (sans the peanut butter), brownies (sans the frosting), dark chocolate candy, and my friend Debbie’s sinful chocolate cake are all items I’m happy to guiltily indulge in.

With your very busy schedule, how do you find time to read? What are you reading right now?

It’s hard because I’m also reading three or four other books at any given time for my critique group, besides writing, which makes it really difficult to find time to indulge in reading for pure pleasure. Currently, I’m reading Boyfriend from Hell, and for my book club group Night Stalks the Mansion.

A standard question for any interview with the Bibliojunkies (since we REALLY do have the mentality of 16 year old girls): What fictional character would you most like to go on a date with? And don’t feel that you need to limit yourself to YA.

Oh, that’s easy. From books I’d want to date (if I were a teen) Fang from the Maximum Ride series, or Peeta from The Hunger Games. What’s more sexy than a guy who wants to protect you, even if you’re fully capable of protecting yourself? If it were from any media, my top preference would be Clark Kent, the Smallville version of him, in the form of the gorgeous Tom Welling.

Do you have anything specific that you want to share with your readers?

I want to thank all of my amazing readers for your support, and all of your kind words and emails. I’m so glad you gave an unknown, indie author a shot. I only hope I can continue to write books you like, that I don’t ever allow myself to get lazy in my writing and forget who I’m writing for—I write for you.

Thank you, Cindy, for chatting with us today.  We can't wait for the official release of Geek Girl on 12/8/2011!

Check out Cindy's website where she not only shares her experiences with writing and publishing but also regularly interviews authors of all different genres.

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