GETTIN’ LUCKY: An interview with Laurie Boyle Crompton, author of BLAZE

blazecoverI was so excited to have the opportunity to interview Laurie Boyle Crompton after reading an ARC of BLAZE, her debut novel releasing today. Here’s the blurb:

Blaze is tired of spending her life on the sidelines, drawing comics and feeling invisible. She’s desperate for soccer star Mark to notice her. And when her BFF texts Mark a photo of Blaze in sexy lingerie, it definitely gets his attention. After a hot date in the back of her minivan, Blaze is flying high, but suddenly Mark’s feelings seem to have been blasted by a freeze-ray gun, and he dumps her. Blaze gets her revenge by posting a comic strip featuring uber-villain Mark the Shark. Mark then retaliates by posting her “sext” photo, and, overnight, Blaze goes from Super Virgin Girl to Super Slut. That life on the sidelines is looking pretty good right about now…

Humor plays a huge part in Blaze. You had me snort laughing on the first page. The most outrageous was the leftover food in the plastic bag reaction and its unfortunate timing. Don’t want to spoil more by saying anything else, but tell us about humor in your writing. Is it your natural voice, something you worked for, or a happy accident?

Thank you so much! Humor is really important in my life so to hear that my book made you snort laugh is high praise indeed.I remember listening to a very funny author speak once years ago and she was so hilarious she had the whole audience snort laughing! It made me realize that the humor in her books came from inside her and helped me allow my sense of humor loose in my own writing. I really love writing scenes and dialogue that I find funny. Of course, not everyone thinks the same things are funny so I don’t know that working to be funnier should necessarily be a thing.

My favorite relationship in the book was the one between Blaze and her younger brother. Tell us about your childhood. Did you have siblings? Did you draw from real life to create the middle-school-pubescent cast of Cretins that Blaze is the pseudo-soccer mom for?

Yes, I have a younger brother and sister and I absolutely played pseudo-soccer mom when I was in high school. The thing is, despite missing out on being with my friends, it made the three of us really close. We would sing songs and play games and basically create as much fun as possible while stuck shuttling around in a smelly car. It was important to me that Blaze and Josh share that strong bond. Of course the Cretins in the book also act like pubescent boys and so things like the leftover food in the plastic bag are a natural (icky!) occurrence.

On a more serious note, cyber bullying plays a part in this story.  What do you think your readers can do to protect themselves from these kind of attacks?

I think it’s important to be careful when sending texts and emails. Before sharing it’s good to ask yourself how devastating it might be if someone (or everyone) saw it unintentionally. These days everything is sort of permanent and easily made public, plus we text so much it’s easy to become careless. I hope that if a reader finds themselves in the awful position of being ‘slut shamed’ like Blaze they’ll draw strength from her story.

Let’s talk comics. They play a central role in Blaze’s character, including her desire to create her own comics. Did you have such an in-depth knowledge before you began this novel, or did it require long hours in the comic shop talking to guys like The Comic Book Guy? 

I became a comic fangirl back in high school and thankfully that’s not something you ever really outgrow. When I was going through a tough time I remember devouring superhero comics as if they held all the answers to my crappy-seeming life. It can be refreshing to enter worlds where good and evil are clearly identified and I remember wishing real life boys were so easily categorized. I discovered that reading vintage Marvel can really make a girl want to become a better person (and possibly make her think she needs a boob job – but that’s a different topic entirely). Of course I had a lot of fun rereading those comics when I was researching Blaze and I love that she seeks the wisdom of comics in much the same way I did.

And you have to tell us, who’s your favorite character and what would your super power be?

Like Blaze, my favorite superhero character is absolutely Jean Grey. Kickass powers, plus she gets to hang with hunky X-Men all day? Um, yes please.  And if I could choose only one superpower it would have to be flight. Like, seriously, more than a grown woman should wish she could actually fly.

As this community is All for One and OneFour KidLit, we’d like to know what two or three books inspired you as a kid.

Oooo – hard to pick just a few! I read LITTLE WOMEN at exactly the right age and related to Jo March so strongly that it’s probably one of the reasons I’m a writer today. Also it doesn’t get much better than Judy Blume’s Are You There God, It’s Me Margaret and of course I learned about sex by reading Forever. Plus, I had my mind properly warped by devouring everything Steven King ever wrote and still love him for that.

My first memory of Laurie comes from seeing a video she made of taking ‘The Call.’ Yes, the one from her agent telling her of her publishing deal. She’s agreed to let us share it:

Laurie Boyle Crompton

When she was 17, Laurie Boyle Crompton painted her first car hot pink using 40 cans of spray paint. It dried really drippy but looked great when she was flying down the back roads of Butler, PA where she grew up. She now lives near NYC in Queens, but maintains a secret identity in New Paltz, NY where she and her family can often be found tromping through the forest.  Laurie Boyle Crompton’s  debut, BLAZE (or, Love in the Time of Supervillains), is published by Sourcebooks. FSG/Macmillan is publishing her novel ADRENALINE in 2014. 

Jaye Robin Brown, or JRo to most everyone but her mama, lives and writes in the Appalachian mountains north of Asheville, NC. She’s fond of dogs, horses, laughter, the absurd and the ironic. When not crafting stories she hangs out with teenagers in the high school art room where she teaches. Her debut novel, SING TO THE WIND (Harper Teen, Fall ’14), is a love song to small town girls and mountain music.
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