Thank you to "Little Library Muse" for hosting my debut Young Adult novel, SPIDER BRAINS: A LOVE STORY while we're on blog tour this August.
Did you ever feel like your teacher was conspiring against you? I remember my days back in high school clearly. I remember hating high school. It seemed a comparison-contrast situation between me and the "popular" kids--the kids in student government and the cheerleaders, the jocks and all of the teachers who loved them.
While developing this story, the main character, Susie Speider spoke to me as if she were sitting right next to me on the couch. Her unique teenage voice crystallized in my mind. And, Susie Speider's situation in high school brought back some treacheries I'd suffered myself. Trying out and failing the cheerleading squad. Longing for Joe Skaggs on the football team and getting rejected by him.
I'd vowed three things in high school:
1. not to have sex,
2. not to do drugs, and
3. not to get beat up
Protection in all three areas felt essential. But, as it turned out, protection wasn't quite so needed outside the classroom as it was inside them.
I remember teachers berating students if they answered a direct question with nerves and stammering. Teachers jeered students in the classroom who didn't perform as well as other more social (or possibly, more confident) students.
One teacher of mine, Mr. Salt, had my sister, Lizz, in his English class two years before me. She rocked his class, aced it, easy. But, at the time, being terribly (undiagnosed) ADD, I couldn't sit long enough to read anything longer than a milk carton! English class felt like slogging in waist-deep mud. The difference between my sister's reading habits and mine looked like Mutt & Jeff. Lizz spent hours with a book in her face while I spent hours spinning pirouettes, tap-dancing and doing cartwheels. Notice the ADD nature? That was the 1970s and kids like me were called "overactive" or "busy." Yeah. I'll say!
Even so, Mr. Salt didn't hold back his feelings. He rolled his eyes if I didn't have a correct answer and made sarcastic remarks about the difference between me and Lizz.
Of course, teachers had their problems too. Some, like Mr. Salt, took their problems out on the students.
Enter Ms. Morlson, Susie Spider's science teacher. A teacher who doesn't hide the fact that she has it in for Susie (maybe even hates her), to the point she has been trying to fail Susie and hold her back a year, destroying any chances for a good start in college.
To me, SPIDER BRAINS is a mix of Meg Cabot's "The Princess Diaries" and "Spiderman"—but as a girl and not in that goofy latex outfit!
Blurb: After her father’s death last year and, now, in the throes of a gnarly teacher’s whim, a small black arachnid bites fifteen-year-old Susie Speider on the finger. The bite sends her nights into fantastical dreams about taking revenge on the teacher who, ultimately, holds her college aspirations in the palm of her cold calloused hand. But after Susie figures out the dreams are real, she begins visiting the teacher regularly… as the spider! And, oh, by the way! Who is that boy spider munching on flies, hiding over there in the corner?A story of loss and forgiveness, tolerance and kindness, in SPIDER BRAINS, Susie Speider deals with the death of her father while Matt Ryder–the new neighbor boy–has just lost his mother. Ultimately, this story poses some important questions about how to treat Attention-Deficit-Disorder and is a tale of hope, transformation, transition and inspiration.Thanks again for hosting me today. It's quite an honor to be featured on your blog. -Susan Wingate.
About the Author:
Most recently, Susan Wingate’s novels, SPIDER BRAINS and DROWNING each reached Amazon Bestseller status in 2012. DROWNING won the 2011 Forward National Literature Award for Drama. She would love for you to read her books. You can find them all under the tab on this site labeled “Books”. SUSAN has written eleven novels, two short story collections, a few plays, one screenplay and tons of poems. Her latest 2011 novel DROWNING (contemporary women’s fiction), won 1st place in the 2011 Forward National Literature Award and also won a finalist award for the category of Women’s Fiction/Chick Lit in the 2011 International Book Awards. A vibrant public speaker, Susan offers inspiring, motivational talks about the craft of writing, publishing and marketing, and how to survive this extremely volatile (e-)Publishing industry. She presents these lectures for private groups and at writing conferences, libraries and bookstores around the country.
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