Monthly Archives: February 2013

Happy Geek Girl Launch Day Holly

Huge congratulations to Holly Smale on the launch of Geek Girl today. Not only was I lucky enough to interview Holly for the blog but I was invited to meet her at a book bloggers’ party last Sunday.

Holly and her team from HarperCollins were wonderful and made us all feel very welcome into the weird alien lightbulb cocoon basement at The Book Club bar in London.

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Weird Alien lightbulb ceiling

We were fed mini macaroons and cupcakes and given goodie bags including a lovely fresh copy of Geek Girl which Holly kindly signed for us all (with my Sharpie – note to Holly’s team – get the girl a multicolour pack of Sharpies – she will love you for it).

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The goodie bag contents – love the hanger paperclip, the badges and the shiny copy of Geek Girl.

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Yes I will most definitely Geek On! I can’t do anything else, it’s who I am.

There was a bit of a chair malfunction when Holly sat to talk to us about the origins of Geek Girl (as well us telling us which countries Harriet will visit in the sequels).

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Where’s Holly gone? (Otherwise known as I think the cushion’s a bit soft!)

As a writer and aspiring published author it was great to hear Holly’s passion for her story and for her characters.

Holly was a bit of a maverick when securing her agent but sensibly she told us to make sure we have written the whole book before sending it out. I also loved that she told me to write the story I want to. I just have to hope mine sells too.

I have started a bolt.it collection for Holly’s blog tour posts which you can find here.

Photo taken of Holly and us all just before we had to say goodbye

Photo taken of Holly and us all just before we had to say goodbye

And to start the day my mate Jay and I took a geeky trip to Platform 9 3/4!

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Geek Girl Blog Tour – Author Holly Smale’s Geekiest Traits

I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour for Holly Smale’s Geek Girl with a Q&A about her geekiest traits.

You can see a list of the other stops on the tour on the list below and I posted my review of the wonderful funny Geek Girl here.

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Hi Holly, congratulations on the book and thanks for answering my questions about your geekiest traits. Firstly I’m very pleased that being a geek is now seen in a more desirable light.

Thank you! Me too! The first time I ever got called a “geek” – when I was about seven years old – I cried for about three days. Now people are proudly buying T-shirts with the word emblazoned across it. It’s an amazing turn-around.

When did you first start to accept and be proud of your geekiness? When did you let your inner geek out?

I’ve always let my inner geek out without actually meaning to: that’s kind of what Geek Girl is about. I remember when I was eleven obliviously telling my brand new class that my “favourite single” was The Dying Swan by Tchaikovsky, and getting mocked mercilessly for the next three hours. There’s never been any hiding my inner geek, sadly: it’s really quite gobby.

It took a really long time to be proud of it, though, and I probably didn’t really come to terms with who I was until my late-twenties. I sometimes still struggle with parts of my own particular brand of geekiness, though. It’s fine that I recite Shakespeare when I’ve had too many glasses of wine and sometimes dribble a bit when I laugh: it’s not so fine when my social awkwardness leads me to say hugely embarrassing things and stops me making friends, or when I get overly verbose and irritate people. It’s more a case of acceptance, really. That shy, nervous little geek in me will always be there, so I just try to be kind to her instead of shouting at her all the time.

I have a feeling that being a writer potentially predisposes us to geekiness  (e.g. stationery and smelling books). What are your writerly geeky traits?

All of them. Book shops and libraries are where I immediately go when I’m stressed, or anxious, or overexcited, or physically lost. There’s something about the smell and potential of them that makes me feel both calm and a bit tingly. I also have the normal writer’s Stationery Habit: I buy dozens of beautiful pens and notepads to “write things”, and then end up scribbling ideas on the back of supermarket receipts because I don’t want to ruin them.

Oh, and lists. I’m a list-freak. I have one right in front of me right now. Answering this question is on it. (*Leans forwards and triumphantly crosses it off*)

To me geekiness is akin to passion and addiction. What addictions and passions do you have? What would you happily lose sleep to do?

Books are my main passion, and also what keep me up at night: it’s physically impossible for me to choose being unconscious over a good story. If I haven’t read or written anything in a while I get narky, and depressed, and twitchy, and I shout at people I don’t know very well. I think that’s a pretty universal sign of addiction to anything.

Do you think Twitter helps to feed your inner geek because it’s the perfect place for a geek up with others that may share our bizarre obsessions?

Twitter feeds EVERYTHING, doesn’t it? It gives people a place to meet and communicate about things they love, and that can be a great thing, but I also think it can be an obsession in itself. I’ve actually found myself refreshing my Twitter feed in the cinema, during quite a good film. That’s the problem with geeks/obsessive people: there are no limits to the things you can become obsessed by.

Do you think that the growing acceptance of geeks demonstrates a growing acceptance of difference in general?

I hope so. I remember when I was young that “normal” felt quite limited: you either ticked the box, or you didn’t. Now a lot of our biggest icons in every area of life – film, books, music, fashion – seem to be constantly pushing the boundaries of what that word means, and it encourages people to be whoever they want to be. That has to be a good thing. I just really hope it spreads as far as the people who struggle the most to “fit in”. I’d hate for Geekiness to become such a cool trend that isolates insecure or awkward people even more, because then it’s doing the opposite of what it’s supposed to do.

Finally down to the nitty gritty

Who would you happily stalk and why?

Ryan Gosling. There’d be so many of us I’d have lots of other people to talk to. And he’d never see me.

Geekiest book choice

A Brief History of Time, by Stephen Hawking. I’m nowhere near smart enough to understand all of it, but I find it fascinating.

Geekiest song choice

Swan Lake by Tchaikovsky. Still.

Geekiest menu

My favourite coffee: Starbucks Medium Cappuccino, extra hot with soya milk and two pumps of Almond Syrup (not four) and less froth and extra chocolate sprinkles. Every single time I ask for it I can see the person behind the counter trying not to punch me.

Geekiest outfit (feel free to share a picture)

My mum’s holey tracksuit bottoms, thermal vest, thermal leggings, a beige jumper that doesn’t fit my dad anymore and cheap grey NHS glasses that make me look “like an old lady” (I won’t share a picture because I don’t want your readers to combust with jealousy at just how vampy and glamorous I am.)

Geekiest trait of all

Getting overexcited and writing overly-long answers on Q and A quizzes.

Feel free to add anything else geeky that you’d like to be loud and proud about.

I hate Star Trek, I don’t read comics and I know nothing about computers. So there you go.

A huge thank you to Holly for sharing this insight with me – she truly is a geek after my own heart.

So dear readers what are your geekiest traits?

Geek Girl by Holly Smale is out on 28th February, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books, £6.99 (PB).  Also available in e-book formats.

Geek Girl – Book Review

Geek Girl

 

 

 

 

 

Geek Girl by Holly Smale

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I only went and devoured the book in a couple of sittings. Goodreads will give you the low down on the plot.

As a self confessed geek I think there would have been something wrong had I not liked a book with this title but I was a little anxious when I started. What if I didn’t, would that mean I wasn’t a geek? But I am, I’ve spent ages getting to the stage that I’m proud of this fact and for a book to take it all away!! BUt thankfully that didn’t happen.

Why I loved this book

It starts with a dictionary definition of geek.

The main character (Harriet Manners) has the OED by her bedside (I have a huge dictionary and thesaurus that I once bought myself with some birthday money – it is downstairs – too big for the bedside table).

It literally made me laugh out loud on a few occasions and giggle quietly to myself on many others.

It reminded me a little of The Princess Diaries which I also loved.

The chapters are short and punchy which makes it easy to keep reading just one more until the whole book has gone (if pesky work hadn’t got in the way I’m sure it would have only taken me one sitting to read).

The first person POV talking to the reader really worked in this case.

There’s a nod to the fact that this is a story at the start of chapter 2.

Wilbur in the wheelchair!

Toby and putting the pieces of “the puzzle” back together.

Lion Boy (Come on! he’s nice – we don’t all like the treat em mean, keep em keen type).

That Harriet’s interesting personal style makes me have the idea that someone somewhere might have thought my cycling shorts over black tights period of “fashion” was darling.

It made me cry twice (in my edition on pages 295 and 312 if you like detail – as Harriet does). If you’ve read my recent 2012 review (the first bullet point) post that gives you a clue why. To say that I empathised with Harriet a bit might be an understatement.

That Harriet isn’t perfect but we still like her because underneath it she is a jolly good sort.

The message – that it’s ok to be yourself.

There’s more to come!! But that’s enough from me so you can enjoy it for yourself.

Holly Smale, I bow down to you (this book was up in a five-way auction before HarperCollins obviously beat the others into submission).

And just so that you know I have never hidden under a table – never ;o)
I did however punch myself in the nose while turning a page of this book though!

Under the table

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