Yesterday I read “Whip It” by Shauna Cross. I saw the movie last year, by recommendation of my aunt, and really enjoyed it. The book is charming, witty and hilarious. I found Bliss, with her blue hair and thrift store finds, to be very relateable and realistic. The clashing worlds of pageants and roller derby, small town and big city, conventional and individual dominate this story about finding your place. Bliss’s growth, heartbreak, skill, and friendships make for a very rich and quickly moving story. Great music (beck AND bright eyes) makes an appearance. There are cute boys, catty girls, tattoos and fishnets. What more could you really want?
Upon finishing this story I greedily read up the last few pages of type, which happened to be an interview with the author. It’s probably my favourite author interview ever (I mean if I don’t count vlogbrothers and Stephanie Perkin’s website). Maybe you won’t be interested in this unless you’ve read the book, or seen the movie, but I personally find that these answers have value all of their own.
Here are some of my favourite Q&As. (I’ve italicized my very favourite parts)
What made you decide to take up roller derby?
I went to one practice and it was love at first skate. the girls were misfits, but hilarious – a bunch of wild bandits who didn’t it the mold of traditional sports. But, kind and encouraging.
I love that it’s a serious sport that doesn’t take itself seriously. Plus, roller derby enthusiastically celebrates a very healthy idea of sexuality. You’re sexy because you’re strong and athletic, not because you’re underfed and falling all over yourself to please some boy who totally doesn’t even deserve it.
It’s like self-esteem amp on skates. With a badass soundtrack. Muy caliente!
Bodeen, Texas is a fictional town. Is it based on a real place?
Kind of. It’s loosely based on a small town called Brenham, Texas, home of the regionally famed Blue Bell ice cream (d-lish!). Small towns can be charming, but I think for a lot of teens, they are stifling and boring – especially if you don’t fit in.
What’s your most embarrasing childhood memory?
I was a chubby kid, so my older brother got the whole neighbourhood to call me “Jabba the Hut,” or “Jabba” for short. That sucked. But any kind of awkwardness makes you develop in other ways – for me, I became funny. And that has served me well.
Those who have a super-easy life don’t usually become the most interesting people.
What was your best subject in school?
English. History. I LOVE history and it took me a while to figure out history is more than just “big men and big dates,” but also all the day-to-day info about living ind different eras. How people survived, who fell in love with whom…the little human touches that shape us. I love that stuff. I gobble it up.
What’s the best advice you have ever received about writing?
Voice is the most important talent; your individual point of view is what makes something special.
Okay, so check out Whip It – book or movie or whatever. I may look for more books by Shaunna in the future. As a last note “Malice in Wonderland” is my favourite roller derby name in the book.