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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Behind the Pages #21: Ginger Scott on Writing and the Harper Boys


It's such a pleasure to have recent Goodreads Choice Awards Nominee Ginger Scott as the latest Behind the Pages featured author. Check out my interview and enter the international giveaway below to win the first two books in her Harper Boys series:

Where are you from and when did you realize you wanted to be a writer?

I was born and raised in Arizona, and graduated from Arizona State University. I love this state - it's hard to argue with our weather. Yeah, it's hot as hell in the summer, but it's dry and I can swim in the winter if I want to :-) 
I've wanted to write since I was a young girl who read nothing but Judy Blume YA novels. I read the book 'Forever' and knew that was what I wanted to do. I wanted to write novels like that, about real girls and real teens facing heartbreak, tragedies and the awkward years ahead while navigating delicate relationships, love, family and friendships. I took a detour, because becoming a fiction writer felt impossible. I went to ASU for my degree in journalism, and I learned to tell stories about real people and to gather facts and take note of the nuances and characteristics that made someone different or special. I'm so glad that's the path I took, because I think I'm a better writer because of it. I approach my fiction with the same methods - painting the details of my characters as best as I can.

Who are some of your biggest influences?

Besides Judy Blume, I grew up loving books like The Great Gatsby and The Outsiders. I also love Crime and Punishment, so much so that I worked a discussion of that book into one of my own. I also admire Curtis Sittenfeld, Katja Millay and Colleen Hoover. My favorite book, however, is Friday Night Lights. Yes, like the television show. But the book, which was written years before, is actually an amazing piece of sports journalism written by Buzz Bissinger. He spent a season in Odessa following the town and team - and the way he captures the hopes, dreams, failures, racial tensions, class divides and politics of Texas and football is spectacular. If you loved the show, you really should read the book.

I discovered that you've been writing for newspapers, magazines and websites for more than 15 years. How difficult is it to transition from journalism to writing novels? And how has the experience impacted your stories and characters?

For me, it wasn't difficult. But I think that's because my heart always really wanted to write fiction. I think journalism is an amazing training ground for writers. It taught me how to research, how to ask the right questions to fill in the color for a story. It also taught me how to find those small details that bring a person to life and make them relatable. I approach my character development that way. And whenever I come across a
subject that isn't necessarily my wheelhouse, I go right into interview and research mode.

Congratulations on your Goodreads Best YA Fiction nominee. Tell us about your latest series, Harper Boys. What inspired the books?

Thank you so very much! I am beyond thrilled to see Wild Reckless (the first Harper Boy book) be recognized this way. That book is my personal favorite - I felt it when I wrote it, and I still do every time I pick it up. 
To keep it short, the Harper Boys books (Wild Reckless and Wicked Restless) are about two brothers who grow up in a household that has been affected by the stigma that comes along with mental illness and a family member's suicide. The first book begins with a young Owen Harper witnessing his father struggle and ultimately suicide. And both stories
follow these two boys through how they navigate their young lives - what kind of people they are, who they become and the struggles and tragedies that hit them along the way. The stories also really focus on how important finding a person you can believe in, share your pain with and trust is. Their love stories aren't easy, but they are powerful. Both Owen, and his brother Andrew in the second book, find that other half that understands them more than most. The simple theme really is to not judge others by rumors and stigmas - to see beyond, to the heart of a person and who they really are. 
I was inspired to write this story by family members and friends I have known who have suffered through the effects of mental illness. The way we view it as a society varies, and sometimes, it isn't nice. Sometimes, people lack compassion - and that doesn't come without consequences. I wanted to explore that other side of things - what happens when the dominoes all start to fall down from one person's struggle and ultimate actions.

How does the second book, Wicked Restless, differ from the first, in regards to the subject matter, and what separates Andrew and Emma from Kensington and Owen?

Wicked is more about the effects of being sheltered, and to some extent isolated. In the first book, Owen was always trying to protect his brother from seeing too much and feeling the pain of ridicule. Andrew was gifted, and Owen wanted to provide for his brother - to step in to that father role and make sure his baby brother had it all. But ultimately it made for a very lonely boy. In Wicked, I wanted to explore how that might affect Andrew, and how he probably really did know everything that happened, and was probably impacted by it all despite Owen's best efforts. And then I wanted to throw one more layer on Andrew - I wanted to see what would happen if the stars aligned against him. The story is about how far he falls into darkness, and the struggle he has climbing back out.

How many books will there be in the Harper Boys series?

I may explore another character or two, but not until next year. I'm really happy with the Harper brothers as they are. But there is something so inviting about that world, and I have a feeling I may go back to it.

What do you hope readers will take from your stories?

To look beyond someone's exterior - to look inside and give the benefit of the doubt.

Where can readers meet you next?

I will be signing at Love & Fifty in Sacramento in February 2016. I will also be at RT in Vegas in May, and am incredibly honored and excited to be one of the hosting authors for the Keith Milano Memorial Fund for Suicide Prevention fundraiser event: Martinis, Desserts and Authors. You'll also find me at the Giant Book Fair during the convention.

Thanks for taking the time, Ginger. Please any tips for aspiring writers.

My biggest tip is to shed the fear - there's no place for fear in writing. Believe in what you have to say and start working on it. No time like the present!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Ginger Scott is an Amazon-bestselling author of nine young and new adult romances, including Waiting on the Sidelines, Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity, This Is Falling, You and Everything After, The Girl I Was Before, Wild Reckless and Wicked Restless.






5 comments:

  1. I really liked this interview. I especially liked the remark " to look beyond someone's exterior- to look inside and give the benefit of the doubt." I have not yet read any of Ginger's books but definitely plan to.

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  2. I think I own all of Ginger Scott's books, but have yet to read Wild Reckless and Wicked Restless. They are next, though. Sometimes I wish all my favorite authors could take a break and let me catch up. :)

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  3. I'm yet to read anything by Ginger Scott, but I'd like to! These boys sound like fun and I hope some of the secondary characters get their own books too!

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