It's a tactic the best generals couldn't predict: making the move from school newspaper to the cheerleading squad! Bethany isn't quite certain how it happened herself. So how is she supposed to be prepared to become one of the most visible girls at school - and in such a short skirt?
Geek Girl is a fun read, but it also questions the "natural order," as Todd likes to call it. Why can't you be a nerd and a jock at the same time? And what is it about pom-poms that makes girls popular? What about her super-hot new boyfriend; would he like her if she was still her invisible self? Abandoned by the Geek Squad, scorned by the Cheer Squad, Bethany is forced to wonder these things as she struggles through cheer season.
Charity Tahmaseb and Darcy Vance have created an engaging story about defying the norm, doing an excellent job of keeping it light while weaving in serious undertones.
Even the popular kids have their own issues beneath the surface. Where did you draw so many emotional backgrounds from?
C: We’ve either known someone like the characters in the story, or we’ve been where they’ve been. I know people are surprised to hear that I spent six years on active duty in the Army, but I did. I pull a lot of my “guy knowledge” from that experience.
D: And I pull a lot of my dork knowledge from, well, being a dork. But seriously, you're right. Even the popular kids have issues -- sometimes even more of them than the less popular kids do. There is a lot of pressure at the top of the social strata. Kids there have to hang on really tight and be aware of every move they make because there are so many people who would like to take their place. I didn't know that when I was in high school, but it is a lot easier to see as an adult who works with teen volunteers. Nobody gets out of school unscathed.
Bethany often missed her deadlines for her column in the newspaper. How do you deal with writing deadlines and (more importantly) procrastination?
C: I don’t know if Bethany missed her deadlines so much or if it was a case of Todd being Draconian (or more likely, a bit of both). I work as a technical writer for a software company, so my days are filled with deadlines--which are often moving targets. Right now, while we have projects in the works, we don’t have anything under contract. On the upside, the work won’t feel rushed and we’ll have ample time to revise. Downside? Oy. We could maybe use just a teensy bit of rushing to finish up a few things.
D: I am an expert at procrastination. When I do have a deadline to meet, I usually have to treat myself like a three year old child -- remove all distractions and promise a cookie when it's done.
Do you have any other books in the works?
C: We’re both working on various things, together and on our own. I have a solo project I’m revising. We both want to continue to work together, and have a couple of projects in the works.
D: A couple of those projects that Charity mentions are geek girl type stories. They're coming along s-l-o-w-l-y, but they are a lot of fun to write. Charity's solo project is a little more serious -- a really wonderful story that I can't wait to get a chance to read again when she's done revising. I've started a wacky non-fiction project for middle graders that I am hoping to entice Charity into working on with me.
Did you consider yourself a geek in high school?
C: Very much so. The premise for Geek Girl’s Guide came from an experience I had in high school. I was never the cheerleading type, but a friend convinced me to try out. And yes, we both made the squad. Sadly, my life was far less interesting than Bethany’s. The rest of the story is purely fictional.
D: I was (and still am) a geek at heart. I had friends from a lot of groups though and really, they weren't all that different from each other underneath the interests and social status that kept them separated. All of us are always just looking for someone else to connect with.