EVERYTHING I NEEDED TO KNOW ABOUT BEING A GIRL
I LEARNED FROM JUDY BLUME
Contributors include: Megan Cabot, Megan McCafferty, Cara Lockwood,
Melissa Senate, Laura Caldwell, Stacey Ballis, Shanna Swendson and 17 other acclaimed women writers
Whether laughing to tears reading Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great or clamoring for more unmistakable “me too!” moments in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, girls all over the world have been touched by Judy Blume’s poignant coming-of-age stories. Now, in this anthology of essays, twenty-four notable female authors write straight from the heart about the unforgettable novels that left an indelible mark on their childhoods and still influence them today. Drawing on their own experiences of feeling like a Fourth Grade Nothing before growing up to become Smart Women themselves, these writers pay tribute, through their reflections and most cherished memories, to one of the most beloved authors of all time.
Jennifer O’Connell is the author of ten books, the most recent of which are her two teen novels Local Girls and Rich Boys. She received her BA from Smith College and her MBA from the University of Chicago. Visit her website at www.jenniferoconnell.com.
Jenn E.: In my book The Ex Games, Hayden has to overcome her fear of heights to make it as a professional snowboarder. What are your characters afraid of, and how do they conquer their fears?
Jennifer O.: My characters are afraid of change, afraid of letting people down, afraid of making mistakes. I’m very afraid of snakes, so in my head they’re always afraid of snakes, too.
Jenn E.: What has been your greatest fear as a writer, and how have you dealt with it?
Jennifer O.: This is probably a tie: 1) not coming up with anything to write about, and 2) writing something that’s terrible. The only option is to keep writing and try not to worry about it.
Jenn E.: In The Ex Games, Hayden goes head-to-head with her ex-boyfriend in a snowboarding challenge. Are you involved in any sports? How do you think being a woman has affected you as an athlete?
Jennifer O.: I play field hockey every Sunday night in an indoor league. I’ve played since high school – that’s more than 20 years of playing field hockey! The women on my team are as competitive as any guy (and the fact that some have gotten thrown out of games for yelling at the ref is proof of that). I don’t know that being a woman has affected me as an athlete, except that I always want to win.
Jenn E.: For good or ill, I design my own web site. Who designed yours? What’s your favorite part of your web site that you wish more people would visit?
Jennifer O.: A sister duo in NYC designed my site. My favorite part is the book trailer for LOCAL GIRLS and RICH BOYS on the home page. I had so much fun making that. Here’s a link to my home page, which has my trailer: www.jennyoconnell.com.
Also be sure to check out Jennifer's story of meeting Judy Blume on the MTV Books Blog!