January 23, 2013

Interview + Giveaway: Rebekah Crane

Rebekah Crane fell in love with YA literature while studying Secondary English Education at Ohio University, but it wasn't until ten years and two daughters later that she started to write it. Inspired by her past students, growing up in Cleveland with its fabulous musical theater community, and music of all kinds (particularly the Avett Brothers), she created PLAYING NICE. It is her first published novel, but having an unbridled imagination, it's not the only fantasy world she's lived in (just ask her husband). She now lives in Colorado, where the altitude only enhances the experience.

Find Rebekah: Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

**A tremendously huge thank you to Rebekah for agreeing to this interview and giveaway. I send many neurotic emails just to be clear on absolutely everything and she has been JUST WONDERFUL. You guys should all read PLAYING NICE for her wonderfulness alone. But if that's not enough of a reason, read the interview, enter the giveaway and keep an eye on my blog for my review of PLAYING NICE, which should be up tomorrow! Now onto the good stuff.**

Queen Ella Bee: When you were Marty's age, did you ever imagine you would one day publish a novel? 

Rebekah Crane: No way! I wasn't even in Honors English. In college when I told my mom I wanted to be an English teacher, she laughed (very lovingly) at me. My older sister has always been the book nerd. BUT I have a very strong imagination. Always have. I think that's what ultimately pushed me to write. I needed to get stuff out of my head and onto paper. Turns out, I'm actually pretty good at it.

QEB: What authors were you biggest inspiration?

RC: Stephen Chbosky opened the door for me to the YA genre. THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER changed my life. It's still my favorite book. Jane Austen is my romance idol. Mark Twain is just a GOD. (Can you tell I was an English teacher? I love the classics). But John Green, he's my modern day, "please let my writing career be half of what his is" inspiration.

QEB: What is your favorite genre/book within YA? (Feel free to be as vague with that as you'd like. I know I would be!) 

RC: It's hands down THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER. I'm a total geek for this book.

QEB: Do you anticipate writing another book? If so, do you think you'll stick with contemporary or branch out?

RC: My second book, ASPEN, is set to release next year at this time. It's a YA contemporary, black comedy about a girl struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after getting into a fatal car accident the summer before her senior year. It sounds very serious, but I promise, it's actually quite funny.

QEB: How hard was balancing writing and rest of your life? Do you have any secrets, tips or tricks to share?

RC: I'm an anxious person by nature, which lends itself to writing and taking care of two little kids. And I love to write, so making time to do it is a priority. Luckily, I have a VERY supportive husband who helps out a lot... and a baby-sitter who comes twice a week. My secret is to LOVE writing so much so that you'll let the laundry sit in the dryer a bit longer than usual so you can crank out a few more pages.

QEB: At the beginning of PLAYING NICE, Marty is described as "the nice girl". How would your high school classmates describe you?

RC: This is an interesting question... I think people who knew me on the surface in high school would probably think I was the "nice girl". People who were my friends knew I was nice, but also that I have a very dry, rough side. In high school, my mom once told me that I have a sharp tongue. My younger sister likes to say that if I was a character in Veronica Roth's DIVERGENT, I would be forced into Candor. She's right.

QEB: In your bio, you say a lot of PLAYING NICE is influenced by your students. Is any of it influenced by your own high school experiences? If it's one of the embarrassing parts, you don't have to say, but just know that this is a judgement-free zone ;)

RC: I loved high school. I met my husband in high school. :) Nothing in Playing Nice is specifically "my experience", but I will say that the friendship piece with Marty and Lil is influenced by how much I love my high school girlfriends. We would drive around in the Cleveland Metro Parks, blasting music, and it felt like the time of our lives. I did puke in my boyfriend's ear once, a very Marty-esque move, but he married me anyway. And every girl has a Matt Three-Last-Names somewhere in her past. *winks*

QEB: If you could pick one character from PLAYING NICE to be an actual person in real life, who would you pick?

RC: Alex. I love Alex.

QEB: Ooooh I love Alex too :)

On a more serious note, though: PLAYING NICE deals with a lot of very important issues like bullying and vicious gossip. Have you ever encountered something like what Lil and her mother had to deal with (whether it's something that happened to you or just something you witnessed)? What advice would you give someone in that situation?

RC: I managed to escape high school pretty unscathed. Thank goodness. My sister was not so lucky. It broke my heart to see what she went through. It still breaks my heart to this day. My advice is similar to Alex's words to Marty: people can be assholes, but that's not true for everyone. Find people who understand you, who love you for you. Fight against bullies by knowing yourself so well that you never stoop to their level. Dumbledore said, "There is a time when we must choose between what is right and what is easy." Have the confidence to do what's right, which most of the time happens not to be easy. And love yourself beyond people's words. Love is not solely defined by our words, but more so by our actions.

QEB: And finally: Is there anything you want your readers to know about you that they couldn't look up somewhere on the World Wide Web?

RC: I sleep with my eyes open. Its true. So does my daughter. It's super creepy.

QEB: Creepy indeed. *Edges away slowly*

No, just kidding, you're wonderful (and I'm sure your daughter is too).

Well, that's all the questions we have time for. Thanks again and again to Rebekah for stopping by. Now, I suggest the rest of you scroll down and enter the giveaways, okay? You definitely want to read this book!

Don't forget to check out Playing Nice, available now!

Martina "Marty" Hart is really nice. At least, that's what people think.

It's Marty's junior year at Minster High. Minster's a small town where making great grades, smiling pretty, helping old people, running the new-student Welcoming Committee, and putting up decorations for all the dances - including the totally awful Hot Shot fall hunting celebration - gets you... what? Marty's not sure. Instead of dreaming about a sororities-and-frats future at nearby University of Michigan, she's restless, searching for a way out of the box her controlling mother and best frenemy Sarah have locked her in. When Lil - don't call her Lily! - Hatfield transfers to Minster, Marty gets her chance. Lil's different. She smokes, wears black, listens to angry punk records, and lives in a weird trailer with her mother. Lil has secrets - secrets that make her a target for all the gossiping and online bullying Minster can muster. But so does Marty. And Marty sees something different in Lil. Something honest.

Something real.

PLAYING NICE is the achingly true story of a girl who's been following the rules for so long she's forgotten who she was when she started. It's about falling in love with the wrong people and not seeing the right ones, about the moments in life when you step out of line, take a chance... and begin to break free.


~ To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. DO NOT enter using the comments.
~ You must be 18 years or older or have a guardian's permission to enter.
~ The winners will be chosen randomly. Once chosen, the winners will be emailed. They will then have 48 HOURS to respond, otherwise another winner will be chosen.
~ The e-book raffle is INTERNATIONAL while the hardcover raffle is US & CANADA ONLY. Please don't enter the raffle for the hardcopy for PLAYING NICE if you live outside the US & Canada. It will only lead to sadness.
~ I reserve the right to disqualify anyone who tries to cheat the system. I WILL be checking the winning entries.

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  1. Great interview Gaby! I loved hearing what Rebekah had to say about her book and her writing.

  2. Thanks Alexa! So glad you won a copy of the e-book! I hope you enjoy! :)


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