An Interview with Beth Garrod, author of Super Awkward

Hello! It’s our turn on the Super Awkward blog tour, so today we have an interview with Beth Garrod, author of Super Awkward! Enjoy!

What inspired you to become a writer?

I don’t really think that I am one. I just really enjoy writing for teens and when I started to do less of it at work, I started to do it more in my spare time. And now I’m just a very lucky person, because the something that I did to keep my happy has become a real life book. Which is exciting, and ridiculous and lovely.

Where did the idea for this book come from?

I think a lot of people have an idea for a story they want to tell. In my case it was more that I really had a character I wanted to share. And a story about the feeling that not everyone has life totally figured out. Although… if I’m totally honest, maybe the idea came from the fact I’m pretty bad at life, and once fell over in a school assembly while standing still.

Where did the ideas for the character traits of Bella come from?

Errrm, Bella is a combo of loads of different things. She’s inspired by experiences I’ve had, experiences I’ve been around, and loads of the amazing young people I’ve met since I started work. Who knows what anyone will take from the book, but I wanted to try and write someone who ultimately has her heart in the right place. Who knows how amazing friends and family can be, and who is trying to figure out what she should do as she goes along.

Technology is a key part to the plot of this book, with the secret-sharing app forming a key part of the plot. Why did you make it that way?

You’ve read it! Thank you! That still totally weirds me out. I guess I should say that the reason there are apps in it, is because I was trying to write a contemporary plot that was relevant to young people and how they live their lives today. HOWEVER, it’s mainly because social media is a whole new world of potential over-sharing and awkwardness.

How did you develop the plot and the characters?

Well, I just began writing. And I loved it – I would be surprised by what happened as I went along and felt like I was getting to know the characters in real time. A gazillion words later I got to the end. I used to take a photo every chapter to remind myself where I was when I wrote it, because it was a really special time to me. But then my agent, and then editor, politely pointed out it was the ramblings of a crazed woman, so I should maybe have another go. So this time I did using things I’d never thought of – like plot ideas and chapter arcs.

Super Awkward only came out on the 1st September, but it’s already received positive feedback from those who have received early copies. What do you think about all of this?

Oh, I think most people are just nice. So I never read too much into anything. Although I have been totally blown away but how lovely everyone in the book community has been so far – and I have appreciated it massively. THANK YOU!

You are a debut author, so how has the experience of having your first book published been for you?

I think key words would be, ‘imposter syndrome’. I can remember when I first met people like Robin Stevens and Sibéal Pounder and Ruth Fitzgerald and was like, ‘these people are actual authors. I have touched their books. Woah.’ But they were the nicest people too. The day Super Awkward came out, I popped into to some bookshops to see it, and it felt amazing. But also as if everyone around me could totally tell I was geeking-out. I felt as it my name was flashing on my head like an alert as I was looking for a book by the person with the same name. I did get to hang out with the team at Foyles (Charing Cross), who were ace, as always, but when I signed copies of the book it truly felt like I was defacing something I shouldn’t. Like as if you’d walked into Tesco and started scribbling on a bag of frozen prawns.

Has anything about writing annoyed you at all?

Being wildly optimistic about how much I can get done, and then realising I’ve done just that, so I have to employ emergency-hermit strategy. I love seeing friends, so I hate holding myself house-hostage. Oh, and I also hate it when you’re typing and one of your fingernails catches down the side of the key. GROSS.

Oh, and finally finally, I really don’t enjoy scenes where things aren’t going to plan in a serious way, as I much more enjoy the chaos that being happy and awkward brings,

What’s next for you?

In life? Hopefully watching a great series of GBBO and then starting to get ready for Christmas (usually about October). In book-ness, there’s a second instalment of Bella being incredibly awkward that I’m just finishing up. I’m really excited about it and have loved being back in her world.

As a debut author, what tips would you give to anyone looking to get into writing?

Do. And persevere. Because in five years time there will be so many authors who weren’t published five years ago, so why on earth should one of them not be you?

Thank you to Beth for this interview! Make sure you check out all the other tour stops as well by checking the image below!