Monday, 13 February 2012

Jeanne Bannon joins The Book Imp

Hello and welcome to our world Jeanne. As we live in an enchanted forest and we are magical folk, let us transport you to another world for your interview today. Tell us where you would like to go and why. It could be another time or a setting that is special to you. Just say the word and we are there…….
If I could be anywhere I would be sitting on a beach. It wouldn’t matter where, just as long as it’s by the ocean and water is calm and clear.
Now that we are sitting in your special place, we have a few impish questions to ask of you.
B – How do you carry out your background research?
Fortunately with Invisible I didn’t have much research to do. It’s a contemporary story about a teenage girl. I have an 18-year-old daughter and a pretty good memory so that’s what I relied on to make the book as real as possible.
O – Do you ever obsess over your work?
Of course I obsess. I think about it all the time. Usually I’m obsessing about how I think my writing is not good enough, or that I haven’t written enough on any given day. I’m always pushing myself and can be hard on myself, but I think without those qualities, I would never have finished Invisible.
O – From a writing point of view, what has been your most memorable occasion?
My launch party. It was held at a local bookstore and I loved being surrounded by family and friends. And we sold out of books!
K- Of all the kisses you have ever written about, which is your favourite and why? 
I would have to say Lola’s first kiss. She’s my main character in Invisible. The kiss was sweet and innocent and really meant a lot to Lola. It was also pivotal in that it set her on a path of determination. That’s all I can say without giving away too much.
I – What would you say is the most important thing to consider before starting to write a book?
For me the most important thing is to have an outline. I can’t write without one. It will change and develop as I write but I don’t like to start out staring at a blank page with no idea what’s going to come out of me. Also, the most important part of any novel (in my opinion) is the ending and without an outline how can an author plan an ending where all the loose ends are tied?
M – How do you plot your male characters? Are they based on people you know or your ideal man? Do you have physical or mental pictures of your male characters?
In Invisible, no, the male characters were not based on anyone. I try not to make my characters physically perfect. I want them to be real. But of course, the lead character will possess qualities that make him attractive. He may not be physically perfect but he’s desirable...does that make sense?
P- Do you prefer to write from the male or female point of view?
Good question. Since both of my novels are written from a female point of view, maybe I should say a female point of view. Although I have started another YA novel in which I write from a male point of view. Okay, it’s a toss up. It doesn’t really matter.
 F - What do you like to do for fun?
I’m really boring, I like to read and hang out with my family. Though I do love to travel but don’t have enough time or money to do as much travelling as I’d like.
A – What is the most adventurous thing you have ever done?
Again, I’m really boring. I did go up in a hot air balloon once. Sadly, that would be the pinnacle of adventure for me.
I – What is your favourite musical instrument and why?
The piano. I suppose the reason why is that I’ve always wanted to learn to play one. Perhaps one day.              
R – What genre of books do you like to read the most?
I love to read literary works, in particular historical novels. Of course, I could never ever write one. But I greatly admire the authors who do. It takes way too much time and research for me.
Y – What is your favourite memory from your youth or childhood?
Being with my grandmother. There’s one day in particular that I remember vividly. It was Christmas Eve. I was about 8 years old and we were on our way to my aunt and uncle’s house. I recall the feeling of safety and love I felt while snuggling with my grandmother in the back seat of the car. That was the best feeling in the world.
Lola’s not pretty. Lola’s not popular. Lola wishes she could disappear … and then one day she does just that...

For seventeen-year-old Lola Savullo, life is a struggle. Born to funky parents who are more in than she could ever be, Lola’s dream of becoming a writer makes her an outsider even in her own home. Bullied and despised, Lola still has the support of her best pal Charlie and Grandma Rose.

Not only is she freakishly tall, Lola’s a big girl and when forced to wear a bathing suit at her summer job as a camp counselor, Lola’s only escape from deep embarrassment seems to be to literally vanish. Soon after, she discovers the roots of her new “ability”.

Slowly, with Charlie’s help, Lola learns to control the new super power. The possibilities are endless. Yet power can be abused, too…

Then, when tragedy strikes, Lola must summon her inner strength, both at home and at school. She has to stand up for herself, despite the temptations and possibilities of her newfound super power.

A coming-of-age story that will warm the heart.
Chapter Three

I always leave Grandma Rose’s apartment with a smile on my face and an ache in my heart, wishing my mother were like her. How lucky for my mom to have such a wonderful, almost normal, mother. While I’m stuck with a parent in an ever-present state of adolescence, whose life’s mission is to desperately hang onto what’s left of her looks. My mom, with her rat’s nest of hair stacked high on her head, dyed cherry red with chunky blonde highlights and dark brown lowlights, and extensions thrown in for good measure. A woman can’t ever have too much hair, she’s forever saying. Giving me her version of what passes as parental advice. I prefer Gran’s words of wisdom – “extensions make a woman look trampy” and “dye your hair only when the white comes in.” It seems more dignified, because I think a woman can have too much hair.
Dad’s just as bad with his funky jeans, Ed Hardy tee-shirts, pointy-toed boots, pierced ears, tattoos and soul patch. He’s going to be fifty next year for God’s sake. The thought makes me cringe. I live with dim-witted middle-aged teenagers.
Gran tells me all the time it’s not what’s on the outside that’s important and I know she’s right. I suppose I’m a bit of a hypocrite, since I’m always complaining about my weight or my height, or the fact I don’t have a boyfriend. But I’m supposed to be obsessed with fitting in and with my looks, after all, I’m the teenager.
It’s only a ten-minute walk home from Gran’s. I tilt my face towards the sun, soaking in the warmth of the spring day as I make my way along familiar streets. When I approach the park on the corners of Whiteside Avenue and Moorehouse Drive, I stop dead. Sudden dread causes the beat of blood to fill my ears.
There are three boys and a girl - Nino Campese, Tyler Campbell, his girlfriend Julia and Jon Kingsbury. They’re seniors like me and even though we’ve known each other since kindergarten, once adolescence hit and separated the weak from the strong, the cool from the nerd, I became prey. Hunted by those better looking, and with more attitude, simply for entertainment.
I plunge my hands into the pockets of my jean jacket and hang my head. Taking large quick steps, I tread quietly. They’re talking and laughing and the foul scent of cigarette smoke wafts past me in the breeze. From the corner of my eye, I spot Julia and Tyler sharing a butt as they cling together under the large plastic orange slide. Nino’s holding court and Tyler’s laughing at something Nino’s said and Jon, well Jon just stands there looking bored.
Why is he with them? My heart sinks. I thought Jon was different.
Tyler’s eyes flicker my way, immediately I pick up my pace.
“Hey!” someone yells.
I don’t answer.
“Where do you think you’re goin’ ya fat cow,” Nino hollers, as he jogs up beside me followed by Julia and Tyler.
“Home,” I say, not stopping.
Nino jumps into my path. “Where’s your girlfriend?” He sneers and spits a snotty gob at my feet.
“Lesbo freak,” Julia chimes in and flicks a butt at my face.
It bounces off my chin with a burning sting. I glare down at her with her hawkish nose and eyes that are too close together. “Get out of my way,” I growl through gritted teeth and try to step around them, but Tyler grabs my elbow, his fingers bite into my flesh and a small groan escapes me.
“We’re not done talkin’ yet hippo,” he snarls.
I yank free. Tears sting my eyes and the heat of anger and embarrassment reddens my face.
“Leave me alone!” I scream and push. Tyler’s tall, but skinny and I manage to knock him on his ass. But as soon as I take a step, Nino and Julia are on me.
“Leave her alone,” Jon calls. He’s hung back away from the action and is still standing by the orange slide.
I slam a shoulder into Julia’s face and hear a crunch as my bulk meets her nose. Blood spurts and the purple blur of manicured nails flash past, as she whips a hand to her face.
She gazes up at me in surprise. “You broke my nose, you bitch!” Then she looks at Tyler with eyes that say ‘you better do something about this.’
My heart beats so hard, the swishing of blood in my ears is a roar. They’re swearing, yelling and threatening me, but panic has taken over as adrenaline pushes into my veins, and I make out nothing coherent.
I turn and try to run back the way I’d come. But another hand is on me, biting the flesh of my upper arm through the fabric of my jacket. Then a fist smashes into the back of my head. “You’re nothin’ but a fat dyke.”
My knees smack the gritty concrete as my legs buckle, and deep heaving sobs erupt from me. Why do they hate me?
“Where the hell did she go?” Nino asks, his voice laced with astonishment.
“Holy shit!” Julia and Tyler exclaim at the same time. “What the…?”
Slowly, I pivot and look at them. They’re turning in circles searching for me.
Jon is with them now. “She’s gone,” he whispers in wide-eyed disbelief.
“What? How?” Nino asks.
I creep away on elastic legs.

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