Tuesday, April 14, 2009

GCC Presents . . . Jennifer O'Connell!!!

Hey Everyone-

This week I'm thrilled to host Jennifer O'Connell, editor of EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, a fabulous collection of essays by contributors such as Meg Cabot, Megan McCafferty, Cara Lockwood, Melissa Senate, Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Shanna Swendson and 17 other acclaimed women writers, that, as it just so happens, is releasing in trade paperback this week!

Whether laughing to tears reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great or clamoring for more unmistakable “me too!” moments in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, girls all over the world have been touched by Judy Blume’s poignant coming-of-age stories. Now, in this anthology of essays, twenty-four notable female authors write straight from the heart about the unforgettable novels that left an indelible mark on their childhoods and still influence them today. Drawing on their own experiences of feeling like a Fourth Grade Nothing before growing up to become Smart Women themselves, these writers pay tribute, through their reflections and most cherished memories, to one of the most beloved authors of all time.”—

The Praise:

"Fun tributes to a beloved role model."- People

“Wry pieces… make this more than a nostalgia trip.”
—Entertainment Weekly

“Each writer is fearlessly honest… it’s emotional reading.”
—Chicago Sun-Times

“Funny, poignant, honest, and reverential, these stories will resonate strongly with the legions of readers who, like the authors, are grateful and lifelong Blume devotees.”
—Booklist

“From bittersweet to laugh-out-loud hilarious, the essays in this collection all sparkle with charm, style, and wit. No doubt about it, if you grew up reading Judy Blume, you will love this book.”
—Sarah Mlynowski, author of Spells & Sleeping Bags and Me vs. Me

“Writing in the spirit of Blume, these women present their experiences as a series of personal truths: ‘girl moments. Woman moments. Human moments.’”
—Publishers Weekly

“Judy Blume’s adolescent books have left such an indelible mark that two dozen of today’s female writers of young adult fiction wrote essays about the impression her novels left on them. . . . This is the gift we Judy Blume-raised mothers can give our daughters now: the voice that told us everything we were feeling was normal.”
—The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

“By turns funny and poignant, this essay collection captures the essence of Judy Blume’s appeal.”
—Library Journal

“These stories are intensely personal recollections that offer an insight into the influence that Judy Blume’s works have had on everyone who reads them.”
—Teens Read Too

The same 5 questions I always ask:

1. Every story has a backstory, what's the backstory for your book?

I was about to begin writing my first teen book, PLAN B, and I sat at the computer and thought to myself, “Everything I needed to know about being a girl I learned from Judy Blume.” And so the idea for the collection of essays was born. Because I knew I wasn’t the only one who felt like that.

2. What's your work environment like? Any rituals, totems, or must haves?

I write in a bookstore. I have trouble writing at home, it’s too easy to get up and do laundry. When I’m sitting in a bookstore I feel so guilty staring at all the books people actually finished it makes me get my butt in gear.

3. If you could live inside any book-- which would it be?

Oh my god, that’s hard! I can’t choose. I don’t necessarily like “happy ending” books but I like happy endings in real life, so I can’t think of an answer!

4. What book rocked your world growing up?

It’s Okay If You Don’t Love Me by Norma Klein. I still have a copy and re-read it before I begin writing a teen book. It gets me going. And makes me want to be as good as Norma was. (Alyson- waving excitedly! I still have my original copy--I loved this book!)

5. If you could visit any time, place, or person- what, where, or who would it be?

I’d love to spend the summer on a Greek island. In sixth grade I made a plaster of Paris Parthenon and have been vaguely convinced I was meant to live in Greece ever since.
(Alyson- after spending 7 years on Mykonos, Greece--I highly recommend this!)

About Jenny:

Jennifer O’Connell is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. Visit her website at www.jenniferoconnell.com and www.jennyoconnell.com.

2 comments:

J.T Wilbanks said...

Great interview once again.

Shamefully, I've never read any of Judy Blume's books. I don't know why or what came in the way of picking one up but I never read a page of her writing.

I might have to by the end of summer though. I don't think I'll feel complete without reading one of her books now.

Hope everything is going great!

-J.T.

Alyson Noel said...

Hey JT- Judy Blume is a hero of mine- her books made me want to be a writer too. She was one of the rare few, back in the day, who wrote REALISTIC teen fiction-the whole, messy, adolescent, truth! I met her two years ago at a library conference, and she was nice, and smart, and wonderful, and gracious, and everything I hoped she would be!
A real class act-