30 December, 2015

#Interview with Becky Jerams, #Author of Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me

About the Author:
Becky Jerams (born June 26th, 1987) is a writer and musician from Portsmouth, UK. Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me is her debut novel and has been featured on the website Wattpad where it has gained many loyal readers and over two million hits. After receiving such an overwhelming response for her writing, she recently released the new and improved edition of her story as an official eBook through Kindle Direct Publishing.

She lives with her boyfriend in a little flat near the sea and splits her time between fiction writing, songwriting sessions, performing acoustic gigs and working in a student art shop. Her songs have been featured internationally on various shows and adverts, and her stories have been read by thousands of young people across the world gaining her fans from UK, US, Spain, Philippines, Nigeria, France, Egypt, Jamaica, Australia, India and beyond. Her pacey, emotional style of writing aimed for a young adult audience has been compared to the likes of John Green, David Levithan and Jenny Downham.

Becky is currently working on the spin-off sequel to Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me titled Could You Love An Apple? which will be available on Kindle in the near future. She hopes to continue writing about the characters she has created for as long as people want to keep reading about them.

Interview with the Author: 

When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer/ a storyteller?
I have always written stories right from when I was a small child in my creative writing classes at school. I had a big imagination growing up and would often spend hours making up stories and little home-made books with my own illustrations. As I got older, this skill transferred to music and lyric writing. I spent many years honing my musical craft and the thought of fiction writing didn’t really cross my mind until a few years ago when I stumbled across the website Wattpad and felt inspired to try my hand at it. I never realised how passionate I felt about writing books until I was finally doing it. Now I seriously couldn’t imagine my life without it!

What inspires you to write?
Many things inspire me to write, whether it’s people and situations from my own life or just beautiful imagery and characters from other media that spark my imagination.  I always try and put a bit of myself into every scene and write elements of my own experience into my stories.

How did you come up with the idea for your current story?
When it came to Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me, my aim was to throw all my favourite things together in one book and see what happened. I love reading boy x boy stories and I know the genre is very popular, plus I feel very strongly about gay rights so I decided to go down that route with the romance side of things. Then I added all my passions to the mix – music, headstrong females, a brooding rocker boy, geeky pop culture references and lots of melodrama. I just wrote the kind of story I’d want to read and luckily for me, others responded to it!

Are there some stories tucked away in some drawer that was written before and never saw the light of the day?
Before I wrote RTLANLM I attempted quite a few different novel ideas that never quite got off the ground. I have one story all about a female professional songwriter who finds herself falling for the spoiled movie star she is writing music with. I also had another tale about a socially awkward middle-aged widower who takes in a young teenage rebel. I would love to go back to some of these stories someday because I loved the ideas and the characters but I wasn’t quite skilled enough at the time to finish them to the standard I wanted. Maybe now I’ve had some more practice I can tackle them again!

Tell us about your writing process.
When I’m writing, the first thing that comes to me are the characters and the concept of what is going to happen to them. I see certain scenes very vividly and I liked to fully realise my end goal of writing the story before I start. After I have the ideas, I sketch out a vague outline of chapters and some sort of plan to follow. However, I usually find that the story takes on a life of its own once I start writing and the pacing can change drastically, so I use the chapter outlines as more of a general guideline than anything else.

What is your favorite scene in the book? Why?
My favourite scene in Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me is the moment when Scotty finally confesses his feelings to the person he likes (I won’t give away too much for those who haven’t read the story yet). It’s really the magic movie moment where everyone is waiting with baited breath to find out what’s going to happen. I loved hearing people’s reactions to that scene and I could picture it perfectly in my head as I was writing it.

Did any of your characters inherit some of your own quirks?
I think a lot of my characters have inherited some of my quirks. Scotty definitely has my dorky sense of humour and socially awkward moments. Like him I always look back on situations and wonder why on earth I said something so embarrassing! I’m not quite as bossy as Olive, but I’m definitely nosey like her and love to know everything about everybody’s business. I’m also a total music geek like Vincent – although unlike him I actually love pop music!

What is your most interesting writing quirk?
Whenever I am coming up with ideas, I tend to pace around wiggling my fingers. I’m not sure why but it just seems to get my brain juices flowing. Of course, once I start typing up the ideas then I have to stop wiggling otherwise it would be very difficult to get anything done effectively.

Do you read? Who are your favourite authors and how have they influenced your writing style?
I am quite a slow reader but there are lots of authors who have influenced my tastes and writing style. Growing up I was completely obsessed with Jacqueline Wilson and the way she makes such simple, heartfelt stories from big complex issues is something I have very much tried to emulate. I am a huge lover of teen fiction and chick lit from authors such as Meg Cabot, Maureen Johnson, Louise Rennison, Sophie Kinsella and Lisa Jewell. The way they tell their stories with such vibrant characters and weave comedy and tragedy seamlessly has been a huge influence to me. On the edgier side of the spectrum I have been influenced by writers such as Ben Elton and Louise O’Neill, both writers with something to say. Oh and of course, massive shout-out to JK Rowling, the Queen of all of us.

What is the best piece of advice you have received, as a writer, till date?
The best advice I ever got about writing was from my Mum who taught me everything I know about building a good story. She told me that the main thing to remember whilst constructing characters is what drives them at every point of the story. If you know what drives your character and what makes them do the things they do then you can’t go too far wrong. She also always tells me to “write what you know” which I think is stellar advice.

What is the best piece of advice you would give to someone that wants to get into writing?
My best advice for someone who wants to get into writing is simply to write. I spent way too many years talking about writing and thinking about writing rather than actually getting on and writing. Once I started actually putting pen to paper and fingers to keys, everything else fell into place. It’s difficult knowing where to even begin sometimes, but the best thing you can do is pick a starting point and just go for it!

What would be the Dream Cast for you book if it was to be turned into a movie?
My dream cast for Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me would be the following:
Scotty – Matt Bennett
Vincent – Nicholas Hoult
Olive – Taylor Swift (from the You Belong With Me video)
Taylor – Chad Michael Murray (in his teenage years)
Alexis – Sophie Wu

If you were to be stranded on the famous deserted island, what three things would you carry?
I’d have to have my Ipod with me (which I’m assuming I could magically charge by sunlight on this imaginary deserted island), a great book and a stash of snacks to last me until I got rescued.

How do you spend your free time? Do you have a favorite place to go and unwind?
I love to spend my free time surfing the net, reading and watching TV! It’s also great to take books outside during the summer and read. I live five minutes from the sea so it’s lovely to go down to the beach with a good book. Only when it’s sunny though (which unfortunately isn’t very often here in UK!)

Can you share with us something off your bucket list?
I desperately want to go to Japan and see the bright lights of Tokyo. That is definitely something I am going to make happen before I die!

Tell us three fun facts about yourself.
1. I am a singer/songwriter and my music has been used on various TV shows and adverts across the world. 
2. I am a huge lover of anything “kawaii” and my computer den is plastered with many pikachus, hello kittys and other cute things. 
3. I have been with my boyfriend for the past nine years, he was my first kiss and when it happened I felt so dizzy with butterflies that I almost missed my stop on the bus home!

What do you have in store next for your readers?
I am currently editing the spin-off sequel to RTANLM titled Could You Love An Apple and I am hoping to release it as an ebook by next summer. I have lots more ideas and hope to keep making books as long as people want to keep reading them.

About the Book:
"Scotty Williams is the nerdiest 17-year-old at Havensdale College - and proud of it. However being a nerd can have its downsides, particularly when you're constantly being targeted by the school bully Taylor Raven and his cronies. As Scotty tries to navigate his final college years with the aid of his best friend Olive, he also finds himself on the radar of the mysterious and intimidating Vincent Hunter, toughest guy in the Sixth Form. Is Vincent really as bad as he seems? Will Scotty's darkest secret ever be revealed? Can he ever just finish his last few college years in peace? But most importantly... will any guy ever find the reasons to love a nerd like him?

The Wattpad hit "Reasons To Love A Nerd Like Me" by Becky Jerams comes to Kindle for the first time in a new and improved edition. With over 2.5 million reads and counting, the first draft has resonated with readers across the world and been compared to authors such as John Green and David Levithan. Recommended for fans of teen drama and unconventional romance."