5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, December 26, 2014.
Bullying doesn’t end in the hallway anymore—with a smartphone or tablet, it can happen anywhere.
According to the Ambassadors 4 Kids Club, one out of every four students is bullied—and 85% of these situations never receive intervention. Parents, students, and teachers alike have amped up discussions on how to solve the bullying problem for a networked generation of kids.
Written by bestselling author, Nancy Rue, each book in the Mean Girl Makeover trilogy focuses on a different character’s point of view: the bully, the victim, and the bystander. The books, based on Scripture, show solid biblical solutions to the bullying problem set in a story for tween girls.
You Can’t Sit With Us tells the story of Ginger Hollingberry, a new sixth grader at Gold Country Middle School. Ginger has been the brunt of teasing and taunting from the queen bee of GCMS, Kylie Steppe, and her so-called Wolf Pack. Kylie and the Pack favor a new and especially hurtful medium of taunting: social networking. What follows is a candid look into the growing world of cruel cyberbullying, showing kids that bullying doesn’t always end at school—it can now follow you even into your home and torture 24 hours a day.
Exclusive interview with the author:
1) No matter how many books you write, I’m sure each one has its own challenges. How was this book more challenging to write than your others? How was it easier?
You’re so right. I’ve written over 120 books in my 32-year career (so far …) so you would think I’d have the whole writing thing down pat, but every time I begin a new one, it’s like meeting somebody new, a stranger I need to get to know so well I can speak for her, and since every person is different … inevitable challenge. The particular test inYou Can’t Sit With Us was to bring Ginger to life not as a victim but as a girl with innate strength she’d never tapped into before. It would have been tempting to make her a whiner, let her wallow in self-pity, but that wouldn’t have sent the message of the So Not Okay anti-bullying campaign. I’d depicted her as annoying and without social skills in the first book of the trilogy (So Not Okay) so I had to spend a lot of time with her to find out what was beneath all of that. Once I did, her story practically told itself. By the end, she rocks.
2) When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer? Have you had other jobs along the way?
I knew it when I was ten years old and finished reading all (and I do mean ALL) of the Nancy Drew mysteries. It suddenly occurred to me that I didn’t just want to BE Nancy Drew (and who doesn’t – I mean, really?), I wanted to write my own books about a girl other girls could relate to. I tried sitting down and just whipping out my first book, but being ten got in the way. Still, the dream never died. I majored in English in college (there were few creative writing programs then) and taught high school English and theater off and on for 16 years. I was also the co-founder and artistic director of a children’s theater and a youth arts camp director. Looking back, I realize that everything I did in those years before I started my full-time writing career prepared me for the amazing ride I’ve had as an author. I’m blessed and I know it.
3) What book are you currently reading or what was the last book you read?
Right now I’m reading Phyllis Tickles’ Emergence Christianity as part of my research for an e-book the members of my teen blog community and I are writing together, entitled The Whole Christian Thing. It’s dense and I have to keep looking words up in the dictionary but it’s a profound read and I like the mental and spiritual challenge. The last book I read was Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins. I’m a little late to The Hunger Games party, but I have found the books and the movies to be thought-provoking and emotionally engaging. They have really helped me understand my YA audience and they help me prep my tween audience for coping with the challenges that await them. In addition to losing myself in the trilogy, I’ve also studied just what it is about The Hunger Games that has so captured the imagination of young readers. I’m always trying to learn and grow as a writer and as a mentor.
4) If you weren’t a writer, what job would you love to try out?
I actually can’t imagine being anything BUT a writer, but secretly I’ve always wanted to take a shot at being a back-up singer for a great musical artist. I love to sing, especially harmony. When I’m singing along to a favorite album I always try to learn the parts the back-up gals are doing. Even the “oooh-aaahs.” Just sayin’.
5) What kind of research did you have to do to bring this story to life on the page?
Research is one of my fave parts of the writing process and I always do a ton of it. For You Can’t Sit With Us, I talked to and emailed with many, many girls who have suffered at the hands (and mouths) of bullies. I read published personal accounts, especially Jodee Blanco’s work, and kept up with various anti-bullying programs, particularly BULLY. I also read The Lord of the Rings for the first time because that was what Ginger (the protagonist) is into, and now I, too, am a Tolkien fan. Finally – and the most fun of all – I spent time in Grass Valley, California, where the trilogy is set, and I ate in the restaurants, picked out a school and houses to use as models, and just walked around getting the feel of the place. It’s a tough gig, but somebody’s gotta do it, right?
About the author:
Nancy Rue is the best-selling author of more than 100 books for teens, tweens, and adults, two of which have won Christy Awards. Nancy is also a popular speaker and radio guest due to her expertise in teen, tween, and young women’s issues. She and her husband, Jim, have raised a daughter of their own and now share their Tennessee lake home with two yellow labs.
5 autographed copies will be given away on Friday, Dec 26, 2014
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