I really loved Geek Girl, Holly Smale’s brilliant debut, and you can read my review HERE. I was so happy to be a part of the blog tour! Today, it’s a Q and A between me and Holly Smale about…
How Holly got published!
B&WJNR: Did you use to enter writing competitions as a child?
H.S: I didn’t, actually. I attempted my first bit of creative writing when I was seven – a poem called “The Unicorn” – but I was far too shy to show it to anyone but my family. I wrote a huge amount of poetry and short stories (by the time I was seventeen I had an entire book of them) but I would never have considered entering them into any competitions or letting strangers see them. I kept them in a very pretty box under my bed: I think they were too important to me, and I couldn’t face having them shot down or laughed at or rejected.
When I sent Geek Girl to my (now) agent, she was the first person outside of my family or boyfriend who had ever seen anything creative I’d written.
If so, were any of these published in any form?
Nope. Although obviously I have high hopes for “The Unicorn”. It has goblins and everything. 🙂
You’ve had a history with journalism from the age of six, what kinds of articles did you write and who for?
For some reason I found it easier to share journalistic pieces than creative writing: maybe because it was less personal and scary. My first published article was inBunty magazine when I was six years old. I got a cheque for five whole pounds, which I spent on pens and paper and apples because I thought I was Louisa May Alcott. When I was seven I did some bizarre features for the Parish magazine, and then was overwhelmed with the “pressure of journalism” and didn’t publish anything else until I went to University. At that point I took a deep breath and wrote some comedy features for the student newspaper, won an award for it and accepted a position editing the paper. I then scribbled bits and pieces over the following years here and there: random columns for Company magazine, The London Paper, Itchyguides, Venue, Decode. Anyone who would have me, basically. I also started up my (now sleeping) blog – The Write Girl – which was read in 28 countries and was one of the most fun and productive things I’ve ever done, writing-wise.
I guess I’ve always veered towards writing about everyday things with a comic edge, although sometimes the humour is unintentional (my piece in Bunty was hysterical, but totally by accident).
When you began writing Geek Girl, did you ever dream of it getting published?
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t write it with that intention, but I didn’t actually believe it would happen. Saying that, I had a good feeling from the very first sentence (which is still the same): obviously I’d been creative writing since I was a very little girl, and had started and abandoned dozens of novels, but I’d never had that “hairs standing up on the back of the neck” sensation before. I did with Geek Girl: it felt right and natural, and I was suddenly desperate to tell the story in a way that I hadn’t been before. So although I didn’t necessarily think it would be published, I trusted my instincts enough to keep going until it was finished. I knew I had to write it regardless of anyone buying it or not.
I read that your book was sold in a ‘hotly contested’ auction between five publishers! How did that feel?
I’m a pretty quiet person, but when I found out five publishing houses had made offers for Geek Girl I did shout a few times and hop round the garden, squeaking, before bursting into rowdy tears. Nobody expects a situation like that: I’d thought – best case scenario – one editor might be brave enough to take a chance on my book, and that would have been all I could possibly hope for. As it was, I think I went into a state of shock. I got to spend an entire week visiting brilliant publishers who had created some of my very favourite books of all time, and they were all so incredibly lovely and enthusiastic about what I’d written. I still pinch myself, to be honest. I got my dream, and it’s still hard to believe I got so lucky.
If you’d like to check out the past blog tour posts or want the blog addresses for the next blog tour posts, click HERE for the blog tour poster! 🙂
Geek Girl, Holly’s book, will be out in bookstores on the 28th of February (Paperback). Also available in eBook formats.