Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Interview with Judy Gregerson, Author of BAD GIRLS CLUB

What reviewers are saying

MIDWEST BOOK REVIEW-"Bad Girls Club is as riveting as Dave Pelzer's A Child Called It books, but is far better at exploring the psychological reasons why the abused remain so loyal to their abusers. This is definitely a novel all young adults should read!"

PROFESSORNANA-"Books like A CHILD CALLED IT have long been popular with teens. This book will appeal for many of the same reasons. It is the story, ultimately, of triumph over incredible odds."

Marlene P.:
Tell us about your newest book BAD GIRLS CLUB.

Judy Gregerson: BAD GIRLS CLUB is very special to me. It is so much a part of what happened to me as a teen and I wrote it to show what abandonment and abuse does to the soul and mind of a teenager. We read stories about abused kids in the paper all the time or we see it on the news, but we don't hear much about their inner conflicts and how they struggle with their own feelings and thoughts about what has happened to them. But I think that every teen knows someone who wrestles with these issues and I thought there was a place in teen literature for this story.

Marlene P.: What was your inspiration for this story?

Judy Gregerson: Several things, really, but probably the biggest one is that my mom left when I was thirteen and went into a mental hospital. She never returned and because of it, one of the biggest themes in my writing has been abandonment. No matter what I write, it just shows up.

I tried writing other stories for a long time, but this one kept calling to me. I didn't want to write it at first. It was too close to home. Too scary for me to tackle. But eventually I decided that I would have to take a stab at it. And as I got deeper into the story, I knew that I had to keep going.

Marlene P.: What is the hardest part of writing for you?

Judy Gregerson: The hardest part for me is finding the real, naked truth of the story and bringing that to the forefront. It's easy to write off the top of your head, but when you go deeper, through layers of what you think is truth, eventually you find the real core of the story or the character. It's difficult because you have to keep digging until you find it and that is real work. The other hard part for me is a first draft. I hate first drafts. They're like ugly little anemic stories that are going to have to be fixed.

Marlene P.: What are you working on now?

Judy Gregerson: Right now I'm pretty busy with marketing this book, but I have a humorous YA I'm trying to find a home for and a silly midgrade that I'd like to polish. I've also gotten back into a novel I started in 2002 and couldn't finish. I woke up one night at about 2:30 a.m. and all the answers to the problems were very clear to me. So the next morning I got up and started writing. That's going well, but it's slow because I tend to veer off into marketing or chatting or something else. I'm easily distracted, probably too easily, and I really have to fight to stay on track.

Marlene P.: What is your favorite line, passage, chapter from this book?

Judy Gregerson: Ooooh. You're going to go make me fish it out? Ok, let me go find it.

My life, this island on which I stand, is built with sand, and with each step I take, my feet sink to my ankles. Some days I sink all the way up to my knees. Today I will pull my little sister behind me, sometimes carrying her on my back because she is too small to pull herself out of the quicksand that often traps us. And on our way across this island, I will tell her jokes, and I will hold her hand, and I will shield her from the woman who used to be my mother.

~~Cafe Note~~ As a regular part of our interviews, featured authors will pop back in for one week after their interview is posted to answer any other questions blog readers may leave for them. So if you have any questions or comments for Judy Gregerson, send them now! She'd love to hear from you!