Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Interview with J.E. McLeod
WAITING TO SCORE IS J.E. MACLEOD'S debut novel about a young ice hockey player.Zack Chase, new in town, gets a crash course in the dangerous, fast-paced lives of local teen athletes. A good-looking, book-loving hockey star, Zack’s also expected to be a womanizing, alcohol-abusing party animal, but it’s not who he is. As jealous, obnoxious team captain Mac hounds him, Zack falls for Goth-girl Jane and befriends her teammate brother, both with their own secrets. Tragedy strikes and affects them all in this true-to-life debut novel, giving readers an insight into the lives of high school students and athletes.
The author says she writes her young adult stories,pulling from her own teen years. Here's what she says about herself and her entry into writing.
You know how some people are really quick witted and clever things seem to just float right off their tongues, like they’ve got a tiny speechwriter living inside their brains or something? Well, I’m totally not like that. Sometimes I’m a little slow on the comeback. It’s one of the reasons I love to write. I can always go back and add things later.
For me, being a teen was hard work. My teen years overflowed with angst. Good material for books I guess. Character building as it were. I think I love YA books for that reason.
My path to becoming an author was a windy one. After college, I worked as an advertising copywriter for radio and then TV and eventually moved on to sales and marketing. I missed writing and after having a son started my first book. I’ve been writing since and once I started writing YA, found like I’d come home. Back to the angst. And the hope of having a whole life ahead of you.
So let's get to know a little more about the author.
I'm guessing that you are an ice hockey fan. Am I right? If not, how did you choose to use this sport as your MC's talent? Do you play or enjoy watching other sports?
I watched a lot of hockey growing up--two brothers who played and my dad who coached. I spent a lot of time in hockey rinks.
Am I a fan now? Not as much as I used to be, but I still love watching live hockey! I followed one NHL team when I was in my twenties and was quite an avid fan. Okay I was a huge fan with player crushes and everything. I'm not much for watching hockey on TV though, I don't know why. I get so caught up in a game when I'm on a team's side and take the losses so personally. My son plays recreational hockey.
I myself was not very good at sports. I always wished I was better, but was born with kind of a klutz gene unfortunately. I think high school sports are an awesome outlet for kids. Might have kept me out of trouble. Maybe not. I have nieces who are very competitive in volleyball, baseball and ringette and I think they're amazing.
I chose hockey for Zack as a package really. He came alive to me as a hockey player in a dressing room, so there he was. Already a hockey player. But not the cliché hockey player that lived in the towns where I grew up. Someone different. Not what people expected. Like Zack.
My favorite part of Zack's story is when he stands up for a girl who is not able or willing to stand up for herself. I can't much more than that without being a spoiler.
What you've said is a great teaser. My next question is one I ask all the writers I interview. When people ask me this question I don't have an answer, so I keep hoping one you guys will give me one. What is your favorite book?
My list keeps growing every time I read a fab new YA author. Love, love, love YA books. My fave book from childhood, the book that made me want to be a writer, was a Wrinkle in Time.
I'll add that to my growing list. Thanks. Now what advice would you give to an aspiring writer?
I guess I'd quote Jo Beverley (Historical Romance Writer)when she says, "I will work hard on what can be analyzed and enunciated (ie books on craft and critiques) but I will work equally hard at treasuring the way I FEEL about my work."
But after publication, here's what I'd say. Accept in your head and in your heart that not everyone will love what you write, and that this does not reflect badly on them, or on YOU.
Amen to both pieces of advice, and thanks for sharing.
Be sure to look for WAITING TO SCORE at your local bookstore or Amazon.