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Geek Girl Tour: Interview with Cindy C. Bennett

Tuesday, November 15, 2011
Today, I am hosting both an author interview with Cindy C. Bennett and a character interview from Trevor (see post below for the character interview)!

Jen's life of partying and sneaking out has grown stale. So on a whim, Jen makes a bet to turn Trevor, a goody-two-shoes geek, into a "bad boy." As she hangs out with Trevor, however, she finds it's actually kinda fun being a geek. But when Trevor finds out about the bet, Jen must fight for the things she's discovered matter most: friendship, family, and, above all, love.

Thanks for dropping by, Cindy!

You mention in your "About Me" that one of your high school English teachers began class each day with a ten-minute writing assignment. Could you tell us more about them and how they nurtured your love of writing?

Each day when we came into class, he would have the topic written on the chalk board, hidden behind the pull-down projection screen. Once the bell rang, up went the screen and we began writing. I don’t remember any of the specific topics, but they were always random. Sometimes they’d be about literature, sometimes something personal, sometimes something that was in the news or a current event. Most people dreaded it—I could hardly wait for that screen to go up. It was probably the only class I was actually early to. Just 10 minutes of total creativity with no pressure, no grading on what you wrote or how good your grammar was, simply a place to be free with your writing. I knew I liked to write before that, but that taught me to love to write and to create.

Heart on a Chain and Geek Girl both involve girls who have been abused. How did you start writing about these topics and do you plan on continuing to write books like this, and do you foresee yourself writing books on other topics?
My mom always wants to know why I write about abused girls when I was far from one myself. (laughs) I think the main reason I gave them these horrible backgrounds is because personally I have an immense amount of admiration for anyone who has come from some kind of abuse, neglect, tragedy, whatever bad thing they’ve been given, and are able to rise above the situation and become these amazing people. I definitely like writing some kind of conflict into my character’s lives, because I believe that is how we grow. I also believe that how we act (or react) in those situations is the truest test of a person’s character. I would like to branch out and write on some different topics, in different genres, but I feel my strength lies in contemporary stories starring conflicted young adults.

You believed that Geek Girl would be easier to sell than Heart on a Chain and published it first instead. Why did you believe the YA market would buy into it more?
It was more a matter of which would be easier to market. It’s easier to describe a sarcastic Goth-girl who’s made a bet to turn a geek bad than to try to describe an abused, bullied girl who is just trying to get through each day, without much hope, who then has her “knight in shining armor” type guy show up. The subject matter of Heart on a Chain is much heavier and darker. Jen in Geek Girl has some definite issues she deals with, but overall her story is much more upbeat and has some humor in it. Two very different girls, both with harsh backgrounds, who have both gone a different way in how they deal with life, it just somehow seemed easier to me to try to sell Jen’s story.

What did you enjoy most about writing Geek Girl?
I loved writing Jen. I’m a fairly sarcastic person myself, so I had a lot of fun writing that side of her. My scenes of her and Trevor together were my favorite to write. They had absolutely nothing in common, so it was fun trying to help them find a middle ground, a place where they could be together without outside influences telling them that they shouldn’t be together no matter how much they wanted to be. I really disliked writing the whole section where they are apart. My instinct was to just shove them back together, but I knew they needed to find their way back organically for it to mean anything lasting for them.

Having experienced both, would you tell us the differences between being self-published and working with a publishing company?
There are definite advantages to both. Self-publishing gives me the freedom to choose and create the cover, to format the interior, and to set the price. I also don’t have to answer to anyone else as to what I choose to do with the book, where I sell it, how many I give away. Working with Cedar Fort has taken a lot of the pressure off, especially in certain marketing areas. I have an amazing marketing editor. Plus, if there are any mistakes in the interior, people will blame them and not me. (laughs) It’s also been nice to have the opportunity to have my book available in traditional bookstores, something a self-published author can’t do. I’ll be able to reach an audience I might not otherwise be able to reach, and be able to do book signings in places I otherwise wouldn’t be able to. Plus, they created a fantastic cover for me that I love. There are a lot of haters of self-published books out there, who refuse to read anything not traditionally published, which seems odd to me. If a book is good, who cares how it was published? Hopefully some of them will read Geek Girl and realize I’m not completely untalented, and perhaps they’ll give the others a try.

What can readers expect from you in the future (you mention in your "About Me" that you're dipping a little into the paranormal genre)?
I’m nearly finished with my next book, Immortal Mine, which deals with—as the title suggests—an immortal character. No vamps or werewolves, but definitely outside of the type of writing I’m known for. Of course, at heart it is still a contemporary romance as you will probably almost always see from me, with (mostly) realistic characters.

I love the title Immortal Mine! It definitely suggests that there will be romance in there while telling us about the paranormal element! What are five interesting things about you that readers wouldn't guess?
I don’t know how interesting they are, but:

  1. I ride a Harley Davidson Fatboy. Not on the back, on the front. I would never have imagined myself as a biker when I was younger, but here I am not only riding, but loving it.
  2. I had scoliosis as a teen, and have a metal rod in my back the length of my spine. Makes for an interesting x-ray, anyway.
  3. I am a complete cat person. I own 0 cats, and 2 dogs. I married a man who is allergic to cats, and gave birth to two children who are allergic, so all my plans of becoming a crazy cat lady later in life are shot down.
  4. I believe every person in life, no matter your age, needs to have bosom buddies. I went several years without any close friends and I was miserable. I now have many close friends, and am truly certain that without them I would have long ago been insane. Everyone needs friends outside of family.
  5. I’m a complete computer geek. Everything I know about computers I taught myself. We didn’t have computers when I was a kid, and I didn’t even own a computer myself until I was probably 25 or so, and knew absolutely nothing about them, not even how to turn them on. I’m by no means professional now, but I have to say I know quite a bit. Remember the end of Napoleon Dynamite when Kip (my favorite character) sings his song, “I Love Technology”? That’s pretty much my personal anthem.

Anything else you'd like to add?
I want to thank you for letting the tour stop on your blog (see the character interview below). I also want to thank you for letting Trevor have a bit of a voice. He doesn’t get heard from other than from Jen’s POV, so he and I are both grateful for the opportunity to share a little of his side of the story!

Thanks for dropping by, Jen. It's been a pleasure talking to you and Trevor both!

Jen's Website | Facebook | Twitter
Cindy C Bennett was born and raised in beautiful Salt Lake City, growing up in the shadows of the majestic Rocky Mountains. She lives with her husband, two daughters, and two dogs. She also has two sons. She volunteers her time working with teen girls between the ages of 12-18, all of whom she finds to be beautiful, fascinating creatures. When she’s not writing, reading or answering emails she can often times be found riding her Harley through the beautiful canyons near her home.

Geek Girl will be published by Cedar Fort on December 6, 2011. Look forward to it!

Related Posts
My Review of Geek Girl
Character Interview with Trevor
3 comments on "Geek Girl Tour: Interview with Cindy C. Bennett"
  1. Thanks for the opportunity to stop by your blog and "talk" to you. I had a lot of fun doing both interviews, so thank you!

  2. This sounds like a really fun and original book! Great interview!

    Xpresso Reads

  3. I stopped by this interview because the title Geek Girl grabbed me. Thank you for sharing with us and I definitely think it was the right choice. I am definitely intrigued and will be hopping over to find out more about the book :)


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