About the author of THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD!
Mother, wife, and YA author living on a windy hill in Natchitoches, Louisiana. I love fuzzy socks, comic books, cherry coke, and brand new office supplies. THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD by me coming Summer 2013 from Entangled Teen. Thanks for visiting and stay cool! Contact me at leahraewrites(at)gmail(dot)com.
RECLAIMEDTHE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD by LEAH RAE MILLER - releases May 7th 2013 from Entangled Teen
ABOUT THE BOOK:
On the outside, seventeen-year-old Madelyne Summers looks like your typical blond cheerleader—perky, popular, and dating the star quarterback. But inside, Maddie spends more time agonizing over what will happen in the next issue of her favorite comic book than planning pep rallies with her squad. That she’s a nerd hiding in a popular girl's body isn’t just unknown, it's anti-known. And she needs to keep it that way.
Summer is the only time Maddie lets her real self out to play, but when she slips up and the adorkable guy behind the local comic shop’s counter uncovers her secret, she’s busted. Before she can shake a pom-pom, Maddie’s whisked into Logan’s world of comic conventions, live-action role-playing, and first-person-shooter video games. And she loves it. But the more she denies who she really is, the deeper her lies become…and the more she risks losing Logan forever.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW with LEAH RAE MILLER!
1. Describe your book in 5 words.
Nerd is the new sexy!
2. Your book THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD is coming out May this year. Is there anything more you can tell us about the story or the characters? And what kind, if any, research did you have to do?
The story takes place in my home town, Natchitoches, Louisiana (fun fact: Steel Magnolias was filmed here). They always say write what you know and I know Natchitoches the best.
There's one character that everyone seems to fall in love with, Logan's best friend, which is actually based on two good friends of mine. Dan is a loud-mouthed geek, but he's extremely loyal and smart.
As far as research goes, I didn't really have to do any. All the nerdy references were things I already knew. If I did have a question about say, a comic book fact, all I had to do was call up my brother which was handy.
3. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how you got started? What was your publishing journey like?
I was just a small town stay-at-home mom who loved to read (still am, actually). At the end of 2010, I looked up some of my favorite writers online and found out about this amazing book community. All their stories gave me inspiration to try my own hand at writing. Of course my first book was not good at all, but the experience I gained from writing it was invaluable. I finished TSIBAN at the end of 2011 and started querying.
I'd heard of Entangled and all the waves they were making, so I researched them. When Heather Howland said she was looking for something like LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR by Stephanie Perkins (one of those authors that originally inspired me to investigate the online book community. LOVE her!), I thought I'd give Entangled a shot. Twenty minutes after sending the query Heather responded with a full request! The rest is, as they say, history!
4. How did your main character Madelyne Summers come to life? What was the inspiration behind her and do you have any quirks or hobbies similar to hers?
I started out with a simple idea for this book: A popular girl has a secret comic book obsession. Maddie just developed from there. I watched some of my favorite films like Sixteen Candles and Easy A, trying to figure out why I liked those female main characters so much, and went from there.
Maddie is quick witted in her head, but a lot of times that wit doesn't make it to her words, which I can relate to. It's that thing where it's only after a conversation is over do you think of what the best thing to say was. Plus, she's reads comic books which is one of my life-time loves.
5. I'm really into books with strong romantic elements, is there anything you can tell us about the romance in your book?
I'm a romance girl, as well! I tried to make the romance between Maddie and the adorkable Logan sweet and genuine. And even though there's obviously a physical attraction there, I wanted them to be friends and enjoy each other's company, too.
6. What made you decide to write a Young Adult book? And why about a cheerleader?
I just love YA! Sometimes I'm sure that part of my brain didn't develop past age 17. I'd tried to write adult romance a long time ago and found that I felt restricted, for some reason. And why a cheerleader? Because cheerleaders are awesome! Plus, that's just how Maddie appeared in my head; in her uniform, sitting in her room, reading a comic book. The image just made me fall in love with her.
7. As a reader, what is the most important to you, the characters or the plot? And as a writer, is it different?
I suppose the characters are most important to me as a reader and a writer. Sure, the plot or premise might be why I originally pick a book up or decide to write it, but if I'm not interested in the characters right on page one, I usually don't finish the book. And the characters are always what really stick with me after I'm done with a book.
8. Are you working on or thinking of doing other projects soon? Can you share anything with us?
Hmmm, I'm the type of writer who has a ton of ideas going on at once, but right now, I am focusing on another contemporary YA which miiiight have to do with TSIBAN.
9. How did the book title came about? Were there any other titles that you were previously thinking to name this book?
There were never any other titles for this book. Once I realized it was going to take place during the summer, the name popped into my head and never left.
10. And finally, what message would you want readers of THE SUMMER I BECAME A NERD to take away from the story?
I didn't write the story with a specific message in mind. I like to think that the idea of being yourself no matter what is there, but I don't want to force any message on the reader. I'd like the reader to form their own opinions and hopefully just enjoy the book.
Check back next Friday for our next author interview, Toni Del Palma (author of THE DEVIL'S TRIANGLE!)