Saturday, 9 January 2016

Rachel McIntyre Exclsuive Interview

Rachel McIntyre is the author of Me and Mr J and her upcoming book, The #1 Rule for Girls which publishes on the 25th February 2016. Both are published my Egmont's Electric Monkey imprint.

What have you been working on?

Well, I’ve finished my next book, it’s called The #1 Rule for Girls and it’s out on February 25th next year. Very exciting! And I’m currently writing the third, which is as yet untitled.

What’s The #1 Rule for Girls about?
The main character is a girl called Daisy who has split up from The Love of Her Life and rebounds unwisely into the arms of a good-looking bad boy. Along the way, she makes a few mistakes before finally realising she needs to follow The #1 Rule for Girls.

Which is…?

Not telling. You’ll have to read the book!

What inspired you to write The #1 Rule for Girls?

Oooh, quite a few ideas whirling around my head suddenly merged into one idea. First, I’d read a certain immensely popular series featuring a very bad boy protagonist and a young submissive girl. (You know the one I mean). Women’s reactions to this character interested me (I thought he was repulsive, many, many readers didn’t) and it got me thinking about the gap between fiction and reality. Maybe I’m a bitch, but I’ll take kindness and a sense of humour over a six pack and narcissistic introspection any day of the week. So, yes, first thing I was thinking was the perennial appeal of bad boys in fiction.

Second, I once overheard a former student of mine (a rugby player) shouting “Oy, get here” at his girlfriend, who then did as she was told to a sexist chorus from his team-mates. (I’ve met some lovely rugby players in my time, but the ones in my book aren’t based on them. It’s nothing personal: I chose rugby players because of that one incident I witnessed. If they’d been members of a string quartet, I’d have used that.) It struck a chord with me; about what we put up with when we think we’re in love.

Finally, whenever I’ve taught Wuthering Heights, opinion has been divided on the Heathcliff question. I.e. Does his devotion to Catherine outweigh the fact his utter hideousness towards the other women in the book? Cathy? Isabella (he hangs her dog!)? Again, it’s the idea that one reader’s Tortured Romantic Soul is another’s Total Nightmare.

Bad real life boyfriends. Any anecdotes?

Oh yes. I played Snog the Frog for much of my adolescence and, unfortunately, for a few years after that. Take the one who bought me a mop for Christmas. Not even a steam mop, just a plain Vileda, no bucket or anything. We didn’t last long after that. Then there was the one who didn’t get me a Valentine’s card because “Valentine’s Day is for people who are in love.” I think that was the final nail in the coffin for that relationship too. And when I was in the first year at uni, my then-boyfriend from home came to stay….and snogged my flat-mate. I forgave her (it was the cider-goggles) and carried on seeing him. (Why, younger self? WHY?)

I eventually found the right one for me and, many years of loveliness later, I can confirm he was definitely worth the wait!

Me & Mr J was a hard-hitting book about a very controversial subject. Is The #1 Rule for Girls similar?

Me & Mr J was a difficult book to write because of the subject matter (terrible bullying, family breakdown and a forbidden relationship). There’s a lot of comedy woven in it, but the themes are so dark that, at times, it’s a very sad book. Although #1 Rule deals with some serious issues, there’s less shade and the overall tone is much lighter.

Is The #1 Rule for Girls written as a diary, like Me & Mr J?

No, it’s first person narrative. Me & Mr J worked as a diary because it’s such a claustrophobic form and it reflected Lara’s isolation and desperation: she has no-one she can confide in. One of the underpinning themes of the book is keeping things hidden: the bullying because she doesn’t want to jeopardise her family’s financial stability (her mum works for the family of the bully); and also her illegal relationship with Mr J.

Wow, Rachel! Thanks for this scoop. I can't wait to read The #1 Rule for Girls out the 25th February. Pre-order it here.

Thank you for having me on the YA Takeover and wishing you a spectacularly Happy New Year!

Anytime! It's our pleasure

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