Jessica was kind enough to answer some questions for Tween Tuesday:
1. Nice and Mean is the story of two girls who don't like each other yet have to work together on a project. Did you ever have to work with someone you didn't like-and how did you handle it?
JL: Strange to say, I can’t remember getting stuck with any really awful partners. (It’s possible that I’ve blocked them out but channeled them into my poor characters’ lives.) I do remember prepping a presentation for history class, though, in which I worked with two good friends and one so-so friend, and it did not go entirely smoothly. The good friends and I would say, “Oh, we’ll do this and this,” and the so-so friend would say, “And I’ll do the map.” And when we made plans to work on it at someone’s house, we said, “We can run through the presentation,” and so-so gal would say, “And I’ll work on the map.” You can see where this is headed.
Sure enough, when we actually got together, my good friends and I were sprawled around the bedroom, eating hummus and crackers and outlining what we’d say, and the so-so friend was just crouched over a map, carefully tracing. The map wasn’t that big a part of the project; we all needed to plan our parts; and this girl wasn’t even paying attention! Finally I said, “Hey, So-So, can you help us with the presentation?” To our immense gratitude, she reluctantly parted with her mechanical pencil.
Even though it was just a small moment of asserting myself, and with someone I wasn’t particularly intimidated by, I felt proud that I’d asked for what I wanted, instead of just fuming and rolling my eyes. That’s the kind of thing I hope people might gain the confidence to do after reading Nice and Mean.
2. If you weren't an author, what would you career be?
JL: I’d go back to my previous profession, teaching middle-school English. Reading, writing, dressing up; celebrating projects with pints of icing (yes, icing.) What’s not to love?
3. If you were stuck on a desert island, which five books would you take with you?
The Secret History, by Donna Tartt.
The Boy Book by E. Lockhart
The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf
Ulysses by James Joyce…so maybe I’d finally finish it.
4. What mean girl (real or fictional) would you hate to be partnered with?
JL: The current iteration of Jenny Humphrey on Gossip Girl. She’s pretty conniving, but she’s not as clever as Blair, so I’d really have a hard time with her. Plus, I’d get in trouble for cutting her hair. There’s such a thing as too much long platinum blondness.
5. What's your favorite thing about the library or favorite library memory?
JL: From kindergarten through sixth grade, library class was part of our weekly schedule. In sixth grade, it came right before lunch. The school I went to in New York City had thirteen floors, with the library in the lobby and the lunchroom in the basement. This small detail was responsible for a real gaffe that befell a friend I’ll call Quin.
One Wednesday in library, Quin didn’t show up and didn’t show up. Was she in trouble? Had she gone home sick? Nobody knew. After about fifteen minutes, she burst into the library, everything askew. “I forgot we had library,” she wailed, “so I went all the way down to lunch! I got my food and I sat at the table in the corner, but nobody showed up. At first I thought everyone was ignoring me. Then I realized that nobody from our grade was in the lunchroom. And then I realized that we didn’t have lunch—we had library! I was in such a rush to come up here that I put my tray away without even throwing out my food. Do you think I’ll get in trouble?”
Fortunately, it was the kind of school where you didn’t get in trouble for things like that. Mostly, we laughed. I still think it’s hilarious that even though we had library fourth period on Wednesdays every single week, for some reason on that particular Wednesday, that piece of information just slipped Quin’s mind.
I know that story doesn’t really highlight what’s awesome about libraries, but I’ve actually written about that a bunch this year, thanks to Jenn Hubbard’s Library-Lovin’ Blog Challenge and Shelli Johannes-Wells’s Library Appreciation Day. To read those stories, head here.
Thanks for having me, GreenBeanTeenQueen! I love librarians who care about finding new books for their readers, and I’m honored to be featured alongside them!
Jessica is hosting a giveaway in honor of Nice and Mean's release!
Winners will recieve a choice of book out of the book box:
* Summer Camp Secrets by Katy Grant (for all your middle-grade reading pleasure)
* The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han (hm, I'm sensing a summer theme)
* Saving Maddie by Varian Johnson (a page-turner by Jess's indispensible friend)
* A signed copy of Need by Carrie Jones (yes! Signed by the author! Not by Jess; that would be weird)
* Boys Are Dogs by Leslie Margolis (one of Jess's favorite middle-grade books)
* The Year I Turned Sixteen by Diane Schwemm (worth all ten pounds)
* Front Page Face-Off by Jo Whittemore (debut author's madcap middle-grade)
and Nice and Mean-related swag
* signed N&M bookmarks
Swag of Nice Girl Sachi:
* Indian bangle bracelets (not as special as Nani's ring, but still important)
* Indian coconut candies (these are so good--you're lucky Jess didn't eat all of them)
Swag of Mean Marina:
* Dr. Pepper lip gloss (Dr. Pepper: the only drink)
* Pilot Rolling Ball pens (PRBs: the only pen)
* stick-on rhinestones (Yuck! Marina wishes you wouldn't mention these. The mess with Rachel is their fault!)
Leave a comment below telling me if you're nice or mean and you have a chance to win something from Jessica's Nice and Mean Loot Box! Ages 13+, US Address, and contest will end at midnight June 13-so start commenting!!
You also have a chance to win more at Jessica's blog! Don’t forget to head over to Jessica Leader’s blog to enter the Nice and Mean Grand Prize Giveaway—aka, all this swag plus a copy of the book. Learn how to earn points by spreading the word, or win the battle of wits,where you get others to vote for your favorite nice or mean character in books, tv and movies.