Jun 30, 2015

An Interview With Rachel McIntyre! + Giveaway


I loved Me & Mr J, it's one of the best books I've read this year. I had so many questions when I finished this controversial and emotional read and am very happy that Rachel McIntyre has given me the chance to ask them.

1) Could you tell something about yourself?

Hi! My name is Rachel and I live just outside Manchester with my boyfriend and our young son. I was a teacher before I became a writer. I’m a huge live music fan; I used to be a Goth; I’ve been a vegetarian since I was twelve; I read a lot; I’ve got a twin sister; I go to the gym; I am a terrible cook (I set fire to a jacket potato the other week) but I like making cakes; I lived in Spain for years, New York for a while, love travelling and only have a few left on my “visit every European capital” bucket list.

2) Your book Me and Mr J is about a serious topic, bullying in an extreme form. Was it hard to write about it and what inspired you to write about this?

All the episodes of bullying were inspired by events I’d seen, experienced, heard or read about. Bullying never goes away, does it? I’m sure even cavekids were at it. And I think with the advent of cyber bullying, it comes home too. Reading about teenagers who’d committed suicide after being targeted online horrified me and made me realise it’s an even bigger problem than when I was young. I did cyber awareness training through work and was completely shocked how trolling has become embedded in teenagers’ lives in such a comparatively short space of time. As Lara says in the book, it’s like having your bully’s beady eyes mounted on the wall of your bedroom.

3) Some of the scenes made me cry, did you feel like that when you wrote about Lara?

Yes, definitely. I think she needed to be having a terrible time generally in order for the plot to develop. If her mum hadn’t worked for Molly’s parents; if her cousin hadn’t moved away; if her dad wasn’t having financial problems… then she probably wouldn’t have got involved with Mr J. It had to be a kind of “perfect storm” of circumstances that led her to throw rationality out of the window. Poor girl, she had a terrible time. I think that’s why it was important to keep her sense of humour. I wanted to show she wasn’t being ground down.

4) Mr J is that kind teacher who wants to make the world a better place, but somehow it doesn't work out, why do you think that is?

I don’t personally know anyone who has been in a teacher/student relationship but with Mr J, I wanted to present someone well-meaning who makes a massive mistake. He confuses compassion with something more and then when Lara’s at a low ebb, he has a bit too much to drink and it tips his judgment. He makes a huge error and deservedly pays for it.

5) What kind of advice do you/would you give girls like Lara?

a) If you have to keep a relationship hidden, then you almost certainly shouldn’t be in it.

b) TELL SOMEONE. You really shouldn’t keep things to yourself. Bullies are never as powerful as you think. There is ALWAYS a way out, even if you can’t see it.

6) Me and Mr J makes the reader have conflicting emotions, was this intentional?

Yes, definitely. I didn’t want to write anything too predictable and I think the thing that’s shocked me most is reader reactions to the ending. I was prepared for people to find it a difficult topic. I was very prepared for the knee jerky “you can’t write about this!” outrage. BUT what I wasn’t prepared for was the number of people who wanted there to be a happy ever after. I guess in every book, there’s a head ending and a heart ending and when they’re in conflict, that makes for an interesting-if unsettling-read.

7) I think your book shows young girls who are desperate for a little bit of love and care what could happen to them and what the consequences are, but it also shows parents that they should pay attention to their children. The story never becomes moralistic, it's actually the complete opposite which for me is one of the reasons that the book is so good. Was it hard to write it like this?

Yes. I knew writing the whole book from Lara’s perspective would be controversial. But I didn’t want to patronise the readers or be the morality police. Everyone knows it’s wrong, it’s illegal for a start! So going into it with that as a given, I wanted to show how it might happen. We all know it shouldn’t but the newspaper stories show us that it does and that’s what I wanted to explore: why a girl would get involved in a situation that could only have an unhappy ending.

Lara’s dad is based on mine. Unfortunately, my dad was unable to overcome his demons and died young. In giving Lara’s dad a happy ending, I was definitely re-writing my own dad’s story. Lara’s parents aren’t there for her because she’s always been such a good girl. She’s done well at school and not caused them any bother. And because she’s a nice girl, she doesn’t want to burden her family with more problems. It’s a mistake and it makes things worse, but it’s easy to understand why she does it. She suffers in silence because she doesn’t want them to have more to worry about.

8) What are your 3 favourite YA books?

Ooooh. Tough!

Of all time, the Adrian Mole books.

In recent years, I like everything Sarah Dessen writes and I loved “Stolen” by Lucy Christopher.

9) What are your plans for the future?

Keep writing books that deal with difficult topics! You know what I love? When readers tell me how they read the book in one sitting. So, to keep doing that would be amazing.

Thank you so much Suze!

Amazon USA Amazon UK

Giveaway

Rachel McIntyre has sent me a signed copy of Me & Mr J to give away to one very lucky reader of my blog. Enter the giveaway and good luck!

  I will contact the winner on twitter or via email. If I don't get a reply within 60 hours the prize will go to someone else. All of my giveaways are international.   

26 comments:

  1. Maybe a month ago. I was reading Withering Hope by Layla Hagen.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I cried when I read 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' it's a wonderful book.
    I am glad that the author has chosen to write about difficult topics, it'll enlighten more people

    ReplyDelete
  3. The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini made me cry as I get to know the familial relationships and cruelty involved, but I also get a sense of hope as I quickly read through this gripping novel.

    ReplyDelete
  4. don't cry when I read

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love the sound of this book as it sounds like it has a strong story line.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Last week when I finished reading Another Way to Fall by Amanda Brooke.

    ReplyDelete
  7. When I read the poem Aniversário from Álvaro de Campos :'(

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have cried at a book, but it was a while back, and I don't really remember much about what triggered it!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I cried reading The Pursuit of Happiness by Douglas Kennedy in my early 20's but re-read it again in my 30's & it left me cold! I must have hardened!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I cried (with laughter) when I read confessions of a shopaholic by Sophie Kingsella

    ReplyDelete
  11. The last time i cried was during the reading of "Wait for me" of Gayle Forman.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Tear jerkers are my favorite kind of read! Last time I cried was reading The Book Thief...and then I cried also during the movie!

    Carolina M on rafflecopter

    ReplyDelete
  13. Oh goodness! I love books that make you feel so deeply!
    the last book I read that made me cry .... Love, Lies and the DA by Rebecca Rohman

    ReplyDelete
  14. This looks really good for my school library where I have more of the books the YA's are reading than the library. Girls go through this kind go thing a lot and this might help them deal with it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. The last book that made me cry (A LOT) was The Wrong Side of Right by Jenn Marie Thorne. It kind of surprised me, though. I wasn't expecting to get that involved with the characters at the beginning. But almost everything I read makes me cry at some point, it's ridiculous.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Bullying should be highlighted. Well done.

    I cried when I read THE BOOK THIEF.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I cry every time I read a Jody Picoult book

    ReplyDelete
  18. I think the last time I cried at a book was when I read All the Bright Places. Cried like a baby.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I cried my eyes out with Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go", that book left me a mess! But I think the last time I cried with a book must have been with John Green's "Looking For Alaska"..

    ReplyDelete
  20. flowers in the attic made me cry x

    ReplyDelete
  21. Last year, The Fault in Our Stars

    ReplyDelete
  22. It sounds good that the book deals with difficult subjects like bullying, it sounds like a good read. I cried at the end of the book Opal Plumstead

    ReplyDelete
  23. It's been a while since a book made me cry but I cried when i read Tiger Lily..

    ReplyDelete
  24. Last book that brought a tear to my eye was THE ROAD.

    ReplyDelete
  25. reading The Shining - it's more scary than sad, but I hate anything where kids are scared or confused, that always makes me blub.

    ReplyDelete

Be an e-tailPR blogger