Tuesday, September 13, 2011
YA Author Stop & Guest Post: Shanna Norris, author of The Boyfriend Thief
YA author Shanna Norris is with us today. Shanna is the author of three YA books, Something to Blog About (2008), Troy High (2009), and the recently released The Boyfriend Thief (April 2011).
Here's the blurb for The Boyfriend Thief: Avery James has her life planned out: this summer she'll work with a humanitarian program in Costa Rica, next year she'll graduate at the top of her class, and after that, college and medical school. Perfect, planned, total order.
The only problem: getting the rest of the money she needs for the trip before the deadline. Hannah Cohen, her biggest competition for the valedictorian title, makes an unexpected offer: If Avery can win over Zac Greeley and make him break up with Hannah before the end of the school year, a check for five hundred dollars is all hers. Faced with the prospect of spending yet another summer working as a giant hot dog, it's an offer Avery can't refuse.
Zac is nothing like Avery expected. Within his chaotic world of midnight slushie runs and spontaneous dance parties, her total order is quickly falling apart while Hannah seems poised to get everything she wants. But just how much is Avery willing to give up for the perfect, planned life?
Reader Girls welcomes author Shanna Norris.
Author Guest Post: Real Life Truths in Fiction by Shana Norris
When I first started writing The Boyfriend Thief, the idea was a simple story about a girl who was paid to steal another girl’s boyfriend, along with the background of dealing with her mom’s abandonment. But as it grew and progressed, I realized that the story I was really writing was about truths in growing up.
Truth #1: You can’t be anyone other than who you are.
Throughout middle school and high school, I constantly tried to change myself. At the beginning of each school year, I would make a “plan” for how the new year would unfold. I’d be popular, have a line of boyfriends I didn’t know what to do with, try out for all the sports and clubs and plays and any other extracurricular activities that came my way. I’d always know the right thing to say and be absolutely perfect.
But things never worked out that way. Because I couldn’t escape being who I was—the quiet girl who always scribbled stories in her notebooks during math class and who had just a few close friends.
And you know what? That was okay. Because I, like Avery in my book, had to learn to accept myself for who I was and not be afraid to let everyone see me, flaws and all.
Truth #2: We’re all weird.
There’s an epiphany Zac tells to Avery during one of the scenes when they’re driving together late at night, just the two of them in her car. It’s an important thing that Avery had to hear from someone else and as I wrote it, I realized it was something that I really needed to hear and know as well. We’re all weird in our own ways.
At age sixteen, instead of hanging out with friends, I was the new girl in town. I’d just moved 700 miles away to a new state, which felt more like an entirely new universe. I never felt like I fit in with the other people in that new place. I was the weird quiet girl with the thick Southern accent they could barely understand and who liked to play online RPGs in which I was an elf who fought goblins.
But if I had done some digging around, I probably wasn’t the only person at my school who liked to fight goblins and dragons. Because as weird as you are, someone else is just as weird too.
Truth #3: It’s okay to need help.
No one expects perfection. Well, okay, there are some people who may expect it, but even they aren’t perfect themselves. I still struggle with this one a lot, opening myself up to other people to ask for help. Because doing that means showing your weaknesses, which is one of the hardest things to do in life.
Every book I write teaches me something and writing The Boyfriend Thief allowed me to grow along with my main characters. The truths they discovered along the way are the ones I wish I had known fifteen years ago!
About the author: Shana Norris loves to write because she gets to be different people for a little while. She is the author of three novels for teens. Her newest book, The Boyfriend Thief, is available in ebook format for all ereader devices (Kindle/Nook). She lives in North Carolina with her husband and their zoo of animals.
Visit her online at www.shananorris.com
We thank Shanna Norris.