I have to thank the next member of the Girlfriend's Cyber Circuit, Jenny O'Connell for introducing me to this amazing group. Jenny asked me a little over a year ago if I would like to become a member of this group and I'm so thankful that she did. It's been so great getting to know all the members and touring them on my blog, as well as making stops along their blogs when my book came out. Anyway, a big hug and kiss sent to Jenny for including me in this superfun group of girls. Make sure to go and check out her books, as well as her fun, new anthology, EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME, which comes out Tuesday, April 14th, 2009.
Do you (or did you ever) have a writing group? Who are the first people to read your book once it’s completed?
Nope, the first people to read my books are my editors.
What writers do you consider your “sisters”? Are there any published writers that you hang out or tour with a lot? Call? Email? IM?
The first writers I contacted to contribute to EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME were my good writer friends – Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Cara Lockwood, Alison Pace, Melissa Senate – women I’ve met over the years because we wrote in the same genre or whatever. Megan McCafferty, who contributed an essay, joined a group of us on Martha’s Vineyard for the launch of the anthology and we instantly hit it off and have become good friends. As far as I’m concerned, getting to hang out with smart, funny women is one of the huge bonuses of being a writer.
Who do you find yourself being compared to or are often put together with in reading lists or book clubs?
I have no idea, some readers have said Sarah Dessen.
What writers do you wish would be in your “clique”? (It doesn’t have to be in your genre….doesn’t even have to be living! For example, I’d pick Alice Hoffman, Jodi Picoult, Sarah Dessen, Oscar Wilde, Stephenie Meyer, Meg Cabot, Stephen King and Joan Didion).
I love the writers I mentioned above, but I’d love to hang with John Green and Sarah Dessen and Sonya Sones, too.
If someone was going to join your book club, what would be a “must read” in order to join?
THE AWAKENING by Kate Chopin.
What was your “initiation” to writing?
Hmm, I just sat down and started writing. It was pretty painless. The pain comes later, when you’ve published a book and realize you have to keep doing it!
When did you first feel that you’d officially joined the “published writers’ club”?
My first book was featured at BEA in Los Angeles , I walked into this huge hall filled with books and publishers and there was my book cover blown up and hanging in the Penguin booth.
What was your best/worst memory of high school?
I had fun in high school, but nothing stands out as the best or worst. I just couldn’t wait to go to college, I knew it was going to be amazing, and it was.
In SISTERS OF MISERY, the last place new members want to go to is Misery Island . But if you had the choice, what island would you go to and what would you take with you?
I’d go to Anguilla and take my family and friends. My husband and I have been there 6 times, it’s small and off the beaten path with beautiful beaches. It’s one of my most favorite places in the world.
Finally, what can you tell me about your book? Give me a quick run-down about why I’d want to pick it for my own book club.
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. I started contacting my female writing friends and they all jumped at the opportunity to contribute. It was so much fun, I hope that when people read it they can tell we all loved doing it.
Here's some more info on Jenny's latest project:
EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL
I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME
Contributors include: Megan Cabot, Megan McCafferty, Cara Lockwood,
Melissa Senate, Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Shanna Swendson and 17 other acclaimed women writers
“Fun tributes to a beloved role model.”
“Wry pieces… make this more than a nostalgia trip.”
“Each writer is fearlessly honest… it’s emotional reading.”
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.
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.
JUDY BLUME STILL ROCKS!
“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.”
“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.’”
“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.”
“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.”