Monday, April 23, 2012
We welcome YA author Marley Gibson back to YA Fresh today to talk about her newest release, RADIATE.
Hi, Marley! Tell us about your book in ten words or less.
Marley: RADIATE is a story of how cheerleading saved my life.
Other than your main character, who's a favorite character of yours in your novel and why?
Marley: In RADIATE, I really love the relationship between Hayley and her mom, Nan. She’s a very strong woman who just wants to protect her child and she’s struggling because a disease that attacks you randomly isn’t something you can prepare for as a parent. I love the way she stands up to the doctors and is always telling Hayley to look at the bright side. I loved writing her because I’m the age now that my mother was when I went through my cancer...so I’m writing a bit about my mom, but also about how I might handle it at this age now if one of my step-kids had to go through something like this.
Tell us something fun about RADIATE. It can be a character detail, something that inspired the story, or a behind the scenes story from the writing process.
Marley: Well, the whole book, RADIATE, was inspired by the cancer that I went through in 1983 as a teenage cheerleader. So many times you read YA books about cancer or other serious diseases and they’re so depressing. I wanted to show that even though Hayley had this tumor and had to go through hospitalization, surgery, chemo, and radiation, she was still herself. She still had her number one goal of putting on her cheerleading uniform and getting on that football field to cheer. There’s a scene in RADIATE where all of the football players shave their heads at the pep rally because they think it’s going to make them tough for the season. That actually happened at my school--although not at a pep rally. Just one day, all the football players came to school with boot camp haircuts. Funny thing is...when my hair fell out, most of the competing schools just thought that I had that much school spirit and shaved my head too. LOL! I hope that these scenes in the book are very vivid and emotional, putting the readers right there into the action of what it was like for Hayley to make the varsity cheerleading squad and keep her spot.
What is a favorite comment you've ever received from a fan?
Marley: Wow…I’ve had so much amazing fan mail...it really humbles me and blows me away. I think any time a fan writes to say that reading one of my books inspired them to write, I’m like, "Wow, that’s pretty cool." I did have one fan, an older man in his 50's, write to tell me that he knew he wasn’t my target audience, but he read RADIATE. When he was in college, he dated a girl who came down with cancer and they lost touch. He said that reading my book helped him reconnect in his mind with what she might have been going through and how her life changed overnight with her diagnosis. It helped him reconnect with her eventually, which was really cool.
That's terrific. What are you working on now?
Marley: I’m working on a bunch of stuff! Aren’t all writers? LOL! I’m working on a proposal right now that also incorporates cheerleading and a new take on it. I’ve also got another contemporary romance coming out soon called CAN’T FIGHT THIS. And, hopefully this summer, the sixth GHOST HUNTRESS book will hit Kindles and Nooks everywhere. Thanks so much for having me!! = )
Wonderful, Marley, and thank YOU for spending some time with us and telling us about RADIATE. The book sounds amazing and inspiring, and one I'm not going to be able to put down!