June 06, 2012

Summer Teen Reading Party! Welcome Barb Ehrentreu, author of "If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor" and a Boop Collector!

Today I welcome Barb Ehrentreu, author of
If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor
.
About the Book:

Carolyn Samuels is obsessed with the idea of being popular. She is convinced that the only thing keeping her from happiness is her too heavy for fashion body and not being a cheerleader. When she is paired for a math project with the girl who tormented her in middle school, Jennifer Taylor, she's sure it's going to be another year of pain. Carolyn is blackmailed into doing her math homework and Jennifer takes on Carolyn as a pity project since she can’t be seen with someone who dresses in jeans and sweatshirt. Then Carolyn learns Jennifer’s secret and lies to her own friends to cover it up. Will Carolyn become a cheerleader and popular, or will she be a target of this mean girl again?



** I'm also at Barb's blog today talking about THE CORNER CAFE & my other stories. Stop by! **

What is your writing background?
I have written poetry for years and had two short stories published online. One is a children's story published on Story Station and the other is an adult story on Moondance.org. I have a Masters in Reading and Writing, K-12 and taught 17 1/2 years as well as being a Literacy Specialist.

What inspired this story?
My daughter was going through a period when she started being bulimic and she also felt bad about her body. There were a few books written from the POV of a person who had an eating disorder, but there were none about knowing someone who had one. So I decided to use this and wrote my character without an eating disorder who finds that this perfect girl for whom she had this love-hate had this problem.

Share your favorite line from the book.
Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

What do you hate about your character?
Moving the blanket up to my nose, I say, “Mom, I can't stop
shivering, and my stomach and head hurt.”
She feels my head and looks at me with mother vision. “Carolyn,
did you think I'd fall for your tricks?”
I cringe. Now my stomach and head ache for real. Defeated, I climb
out of bed and get washed. I slip the hated outfit onto my body and glance at my bloated reflection in the mirror. It's too late to change. I’m stuck with this. If only I could be like Jennifer Taylor.

She is whiney and doesn't want to face her life. At the beginning of the story I don't like her at all.


On the opposite side, what do you like about your character?
I love how strong she is and how she manages to keep such a dark secret from both her parents and her friends.


When I'm not writing, I collect...
Okay, here is my secret. I love Betty Boop and collect the dolls in all sizes. I have them above my desk actually. I love anything Betty Boop and even had jeans with her on them. I also collect and love pictures and figures of lions. That makes sense, since I'm a Leo. I wear a lion's head around my neck.



Excerpt:

If I Could Be Like Jennifer Taylor - Free Chapter

Chapter One
I spot him walking toward my locker with a small box in one hand and a plastic fork in the other. My Crush! He hands me the box, and I open it. Inside is a piece of luscious chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. I look up into his blue eyes and give him the box so I can touch his cheek as I smooth his dark hair.

“You always know just what I like.”

He smiles and feeds me a forkful of cake. I don’t have to worry about eating it because I can eat anything I want and not gain weight. He places the cake box in my locker so he can put his arms around me.

The first bell rings in my ears. I ignore it because I’m thin and blonde and floating in the arms of my dark-haired crush. The other cheerleaders run up to us laughing and kidding around, and I’m about to speak. The ringing gets louder.

The dream evaporates, and I realize it’s the darn alarm piercing my sleep. Slamming my fist onto the snooze button, I get this nagging feeling. Then I remember. I have something to do. Worse luck, I have to do it, not as the slender blonde beauty in my dream, but as the real Carolyn Samuels with my brown curly hair hanging like shriveled spaghetti, mud brown eyes, and a body too large for fashion.

I see my new book bag is packed and ready by the door with the initials C. S. in blue, my favorite color. Suddenly it hits me, and I get this dizzy let-me-plop-on-the-pillow feeling. Freshman year of high school— first day. My brain is ready, but my body isn't. Jennifer will be there. Math class and Jennifer; gym class with Jennifer. My body curls into a fetal position, and I throw the covers over my head. Don’t faint Carolyn, I tell myself, panting.


1 comment:

  1. Chris, thank you for hosting me and for the great post!! I enjoy having you on my blog too!!

    ReplyDelete

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