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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Meet the Author! An Interview with Trish Cook, Author of Outward Blonde

In honor of Outward Blonde's release today, I'm very excited to have Trish Cook on the blog. I'll be reading her book soon, and I can't wait to share it with you. Here's a little info about Outward Blonde before we pick the author's brain!
Outward Blonde by Trish Cook
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary Fiction)
Date Published: October 18, 2016
Publisher: Adaptive Books

Sixteen-year-old Lizzie Finkelstein is a hard-partying socialite who lives a charmed life with her mother in Manhattan. After a public drunken sexual escapade results in both an arrest and an embarrassing viral video online, Lizzie’s parents stage a late night intervention. Lizzie finds herself whisked away to Utah to learn a lesson or two about taking responsibility at Camp Smiley, a wilderness survival program for troubled kids.

Camp Smiley is a far cry from Lizzie’s high society life in New York. Without her stable of luxury hair/makeup items, her teacup Pomeranian, contact with the outside world or access to social media, Lizzie must face the harsh conditions of the outdoors. Grouped with troubled campers in which she’s certain she has nothing in common (except Jack, who’s pretty hot), Lizzie must now learn to dig her own toilet in the woods and build a fire by rubbing two sticks together before the camp will ever let her go back to her former existence. She has a choice: get with the program, or get out of there.

How long have you been writing?
If you mean writing because I love it, pretty much since I could hold a pencil. Growing up, I was always creating new short stories and angsty poetry. But as far as writing fiction, about 15 years now. When I was writing my first book, So Lyrical, my main goal was to create an awesome beach read that captured some of the good times my best friend and I had in high school. Since then, I’ve tried to tackle deeper subjects while still holding on to the fun and humor in my writing.

What inspired you to write Outward Blonde?
For Outward Blonde, the inspiration came from my publisher, Adaptive Books. They have a really unique way of approaching stories: They take unmade film projects and ask YA writers to create novels based on them. Outward Blonde was originally a movie set to star Hilary Duff.  Adaptive came to me with what they call a "spark page"—just the most basic outline of what the story is: A spoiled, rich New York girl gets in trouble and gets sent to wilderness camp. I never read the script for the movie that was never made. I just developed my own story based off the spark page and had so much fun doing it.

What was the weirdest thing you had to google while doing research while writing any of your books?
For my book A Really Awesome Mess (cowritten with my friend Brendan Halpin), I did a bunch of Googling about corn: how fast it grows and how far apart the stalks are planted and how tall it grows and how high it gets to be every month. I was writing a scene about how the main character was running through a corn field with a stolen pig and I wanted to make sure the way I was describing it was possible! But from my search history, my guess is you would’ve thought I was considering becoming a farmer.

Which of your characters do you relate to most and why?
I’d say Lizzie from Outward Blonde. She’d rather appear tough than like she needs anything or anyone at all. I love when she figures out that real, solid, close relationships are built on trust where you show someone your true self,  especially the soft, squishy feelings part. It’s a scary, huge leap but so, so worth it. I spent a lot of time as a teen sad that people had hurt my feelings but not wanting to admit I even HAD feelings so…how could they ever know? It took me longer than Lizzie to truly connect with someone you have to let yourself be vulnerable, but better late than never!

What is a secret about you that nobody else knows?
That I am consistently 15 minutes late because I can never find my phone and bag. No wait… EVERYONE knows that about me.

If your real life as a teenager was a Young Adult book, what would you, the main character, be like?
Oh, I’d be the girl wearing ripped up jeans, Doc Marten’s, and a tee shirt that said something like Aggressive Tendencies, and I’d stomp around and swear a lot. BUT I’d also have a total crush on a smart, sweet, quiet, nerdy guy who was scared of me and preferred his love interests not to swear, stomp around, or wear aggressive shirts. So I’d spend a lot of time alone, in my bedroom, writing sad poetry about him, bemoaning the fact that no guy I ever liked liked me back.

What book have you read too many times to count?
Okay this is going to sound weird, but it’s called The Cheerleader by Ruth Down MacDougall. I was obsessed with the movie Grease and as an extension, the 50s. This book was set in the 50s, and what I loved most about it—even more than the old-fashioned Grease-like setting—was even though that era was supposed to be such an innocent time, and it was so different than how I grew up, the teenagers were still acting like normal teens and doing things teens always do. Mind. Blown.

Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy day to talk with us! 


Trish Cook is the author of four YA novels: So Lyrical, Overnight Sensation, Notes from the Blender, and A Really Awesome Mess. Her personal essays have appeared in Graze Literary Magazine and Spittoon, and she is currently completing her memoir, tentatively titled Bret Michaels at the Symphony. When she's not writing, Trish is a runner, rower, music and pop culture fanatic.

To learn more about Trish Cook and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

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