|Photo Credit: Kurt Brownell Photography|
Miranda Reads: This year will be your fifth time coming to TBF. What brings you back to TBFCharles Benoit: TBF is THE coolest teen book festival in the world, filled with rabid fans, amazing authors and volunteers who make authors feel like rock stars back when it was a big deal to be a rock star. TBF has more fun crammed into one day than many week-long book events I've attended. So it's less 'what brings me back' as it is 'try to keep me away'!
MR: Are you working on a new book? If so, can you tell us a little bit about it?CB: Just today I penned the last line in what (I hope) is the latest "last draft." We’ll see what my editor has to say about that. The working title is SNOW JOB, it's set in the last weeks of 1977 and it's my first first-person novel. Nick’s a (failing) high school senior who tries to turn his life around by following a list of four ideals that he’s sure will make him a better man. But Nick’s life gets a lot more complicated when he makes a (drunken) bet he can’t cover and is bailed out by a guy he helped send to jail. Then there’s the mysterious girl he’s falling for, the one who works for a coked-out drug dealer, the same dealer who wants Nick to work for him. The story’s got sex, violence, lies, betrayal, strained friendships, indifferent parents and just a tiny flicker of hope—so something for the whole family!
MR: In Cold Calls, the characters get blackmailed into bullying classmates. Were you ever blackmailed in high school?CB: Not in the sense that I use in COLD CALLS, but I often did things I knew were wrong because I feared the social blackmailing that would come if I didn’t. Not just parents-say-it’s-wrong stuff that everybody does, but illegal and dangerous and totally stupid things that any idiot would be smart enough not to do. But I did them, and then had to deal with the numerous times after when someone would say, “Do this new thing or I tell about the time you [fill in the blank].” It’s an awful feeling knowing that someone else controls your life.
MR: Let's pretend you're performing in your high school talent show. What's your talent?
CB: Since my only talent in high school was doing the very least possible to earn a C, I’m going to go back in time with a current talent and wow the heck out of everyone by playing One Step Beyond on my tenor sax.
MR: Which author are you most looking forward to meeting at the 10th Annual Greater Rochester Teen Book Festival?
CB: Don’t try to fool me with your trick questions, Miranda! You know I’m excited to see them all. I’m pumped that my pal April Henry will be making her first TBF appearance, and I’m looking forward to hanging out with Terry Truman again (the man knows how to tell a hilarious story), and I want to track down G. Neri to tell him how much I loved SURF MULES.
Thank you so much Charles! SNOW JOB sounds interesting and we're all excited to get our hands on it!
To learn more about Charles Benoit's books, check out his website. Follow him on Twitter and like his Facebook page.
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