Today I have young adult author Gabrielle Prendergast on my site discussing her latest book, Capricious, which came out April 1st.
Please tell us about your current release.
CAPRICIOUS, which is the sequel to last year’s AUDACIOUS, came out April 1 from Orca Books Publishers. It’s a YA novel in verse about a teen girl, Ella, who despite a desire to be accepted by her peers, can’t seem to conform to the norms of high school life. Both her attempts to fit in and her non-conformist behavior repeatedly backfire on her, not to mention her romantic attraction to the wrong boys, but the strength of her convictions and her good heart help her towards a greater self-acceptance.
Both AUDACIOUS and CAPRICIOUS stand out because they are written as a collection of free verse and formal poems, but also because they deal with subject matter not often seen in YA books. Islam and atheism, modesty and exhibitionism, art and censorship, and the devastating consequences “mean girl” bullying all form part of the series.
What inspired you to write this book?
Many YA books feature popular girls with healthy and emotionally supportive female friendships, while boys are often portrayed as the villains. This was not my experience at high school so I wanted to write about a different kind of girl – the awkward, unpopular, slightly prickly girl. Ella is popular with boys because she’s funny and open with them, and makes them feel respected and admired.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
I did quite a lot of research and consultation about Islam , the Arabic language and Palestinian culture, because Ella’s love interest, Samir is a Muslim of Palestinian descent. I also researched laws with regards to child pornography and “sexting” as this forms part of the plot of AUDACIOUS. For CAPRICIOUS I consulted an expert on electronic communication aides used by people with speech disabilities. I also consulted someone about Jewish funerals.
Did you base any of your characters on real people?
Ella is certainly based on high school me and her art teacher is based on my favorite high school teacher. Ella’s mother shares some qualities with my mother. David is based on a high school friend of mine, a hockey jock with a secret sensitive side. Marika, who has cerebral palsy and uses a wheelchair, is inspired partly of a classmate from university who was kind of a rocker chick and slightly raunchy. I feel like Marika might grow up to be like her. I’m often inspired by real people and real events from my life.
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
I “pantsed” the whole first book so a lot of things happened that I didn’t expect. For example I didn’t know that it was going to be called AUDACIOUS or that a piece of explicit art was going to be the main plot point. I outlined CAPRICIOUS as taking place over nearly a year but only got about four months through the plot by the time I realized I had the whole book. My publisher is interested in another book in this series so I think I’ll just keep going with all the other stuff I had planned.
If you could be one of the characters from any of your books, who would it be and why?
I would definitely be Ella in CAPRICIOUS because she has two hot boyfriends! I don’t think high school and college years should be wasted on monogamy. There’s plenty of time for that when you get married. Why not enjoy your young body with your intimate friends? As long as everything is safe and consensual, where’s the harm? I was a serial monogamist before I got married and I turned down a lot of very sexy boys and men for the sake boyfriends who turned out to not be worthy. I regret that!
Ella’s grade-eleven year was a disaster (Audacious), but as summer approaches, things are looking up. She’s back together with her brooding boyfriend, Samir, although they both want to keep that a secret. She’s also best buddies with David and still not entirely sure about making him boyfriend number two. Though part of her wants to conform to high school norms, the temptation to be radical is just too great. Managing two secret boyfriends proves harder than Ella expected, especially when Samir and David face separate family crises, and Ella finds herself at the center of an emotional maelstrom. Someone will get hurt. Someone risks losing true love. Someone might finally learn that self-serving actions can have public consequences. And that someone is Ella.
About the Author
Gabrielle Prendergast is a UK-born Canadian/Australian who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with her husband and daughter. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. A part-time teacher and mentor, Gabrielle blogs and rants at www.angelhorn.com and www.versenovels.com . She also designs book covers for indie authors and publishers. You can see her work at www.coveryourdreams.net .
You can purchase Capricious on Amazon.