Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Guest post and a review...

I am taking part in the Geek Girl, blog hop.  I just love that book title.  Today we have a guest post from the author Cindy C. Bennett.       You can catch up with the rest of the tour here.

Inspired Character by Cindy C Bennett

People often ask writers of fiction where they get the inspiration for their characters. The answer to that question is as varied as the writers themselves. Sometimes characters are based on someone the writer knows, other times they are entirely created from imagination. I can’t answer for any other author as to where they get their inspiration from, but I can tell you about my characters in this particular book.

Jen is almost entirely from my imagination. I don’t personally know anyone like her, nor did I in high school. But I’ve known people like Jen in that they are people judged based solely on how they look. I wanted to write a character who is very distinctive in how she dresses, purposely painting herself into a specific guise. Her reasons are to show the world that she is hard and untouchable, which is the absolute opposite of the truth. She also found that the others who dress in a similar manner were the ones who would accept her into their circle without question. I did pull her backstory from the real story of a boy who I saw on TV some time ago. His childhood closely reflects hers, though I fictionalized it to a degree. He, however, chose to take a different path and his interview that I watched was from prison. I also wanted to show Jen finding her strength, becoming who she wanted to be rather than who she felt forced to be.

Trevor is not based on one specific person, but on a few different guys I’ve known at different times in my life. I went to school with kids who were just genuinely kind guys like he is, who were a bit geeky, but who were well liked anyway, though they could hardly be called popular. I also based him loosely on a boy that liked my own daughter at one time. He was definitely a geek, though a very cute one. He played the piano and sang as Trevor does. So Trevor’s sort of a blend of a bunch of different people.

Jane is based on those girls or people we’ve all known at one point or another, people who are just so sincerely nice that no one could possibly dislike them. I have a neighbor who is like that. Everyone who knows her absolutely loves her. There is no vanity, meanness, or guile in her at all, qualities I admire and try—and fail—to emulate.

Trevor’s mom is based on a few moms of friends I’ve had over the years. Who didn’t have a friend whose mom was controlling, strict, and didn’t like any of their child’s friends? But I also wanted to give her some redeeming qualities, as I believe all people have some kind of redeeming qualities.

Jen’s foster mom is based on a woman I know who was a foster mom herself, though she had taken in many kids over the span of many years. She really loved her foster kids, and I believe she would have adopted them all if she’d been able. I know she helped find adoptive families for a couple of the kids she fostered. She was pretty amazing.

I suppose in all of my characters there is at least one quality or quirk that belongs to someone I know. I don’t know that any writer can create a character that doesn’t have something in them that helps the author to have compassion or at least some small bit of love for those characters—even the villains. There isn’t any real person who is so completely beyond human that there isn’t one single, recognizable compassionate quality about them. Obviously if a writer wants their characters—all their characters—to seem realistic, they will have to borrow from people they know or love themselves, even if it’s something as small as pushing glasses back up the bridge of their nose. That’s how we give our characters, well . . . character.

Now ... a review

Geek Girl
 Cindy C. Bennett
genre:  YA
pages: 280
rating: ***3/4
I was given an e-copy of the book for review.  The review is my own.  I was not required to give a positive review.
 Geek Girl is a story about a teenage girl living in a foster home.  She is "Goth" and has a tragic family story.  The basis of the tale is Jen bets she can turn a geek into a bad boy.  She chooses Trevor.  Anymore and I give away the book.
First off I have to say...I am a geek and I love geeks.  When I received the book I scanned through to get a feel for it.  I was thrilled to find a table of contents.  The titles for chapters are awesome, The Wrinkled Prunes and Stardates and Spock-girl are just two titles.  I had difficulty rating this book.  I really enjoyed the characters and the story, yet at times the writing was too simple.  Maybe I'm just used to adult books. 
 Parts of the book have Romeo and Juliet overtones, but no one dies.  You have classic angst associated with high school, complete with cliques.  The characters, at first glance, seem to be stereotypes' of teenagers.  A dark Goth girl in black and heavy makeup who makes fun of the "normal" kids and likes to party.  A buttoned up geek who makes straight A's and enjoys sci-fi movies and bowling.    Yet, as the story moves on the characters evolve into complex people.  I am a character nut.  I will stick with a bad book if the characters are authentic and interesting.  These characters are blessed to be in a really great story, as well as being authentic and interesting.
I would be wrong not to mention Jen's extremely low self-esteem irritated me to no end.  At the same time it fits with her character.  Once you read her back-story, you understand why she is the way she is.  But it still bothered me. 
 In the end, the story is not about high school.  It is about overcoming the odds, even those you are born into, and finding love and redemption.  I laughed and I cried, seriously, it's a good read.  It would be a great book for teenagers, obviously it's a YA book.

A few helpful links:

Author Website: www.cindycbennett.com



Cindy C Bennett said...

Thank you for letting me and Geek Girl stop by your post today. I appreciate both the chance to write a post, and your great review of the book!

Camelia Miron Skiba said...

Great review, Karen. And great interview as well. Love Trevor and Jen for how real they were portrayed.
Can't wait for the launch party!

Sherry Gammon Author Of Unlovable said...

I loved this book!! Great interview/post!!

TToria said...

Really enjoyed this book & love Jen & Trev! :-)

Great review/ interview