Allison's Book Bag

Interview with Bethany Crandell

Posted on: June 23, 2015

BethanyCrandellAccording to her bio, Bethany and her husband Terry live in San Diego with their two daughters and a chocolate Labrador who has no consideration for personal space. She writes Young Adult novels, eats too much guacamole, and is still waiting for Jake Ryan to show up at her door. She’s also always open for a chat and so a few weeks ago I emailed her some questions. Enjoy the interview!

PERSONAL BACKGROUND

ALLISON: What is your most memorable childhood memory?

BETHANY: Just to clarify, you said most memorable not most embarrassing, right? ‘Cause that’s a fine line that’s been crossed a lot of times in my life–heh!

Okay, there are actually a ton of memories coming to mind right now, but one that stands out is when one of my older sisters and I decided to use the garden hose and a mound of backyard dirt to turn ourselves into human mud pies and then traipse through the house while rubbing our nasty, mucky selves against the walls. No big surprise that my mom was not happy with us. We spent a lot of time scrubbing that day. And soothing our sore butts that night.

ALLISON: How did you survive being a teenager?

BETHANY: I think I swore a lot.

ALLISON: You’re obsessed with John Hughes. Me too! Which film is your favorite?

BETHANY: *sighs* I feel like I should light a candle or something. What a perfectly divine question.

Most days I’d say SIXTEEN CANDLES because of… Jake Ryan!, but then there are those days, usually when I’m irritable and funneling M&Ms by the bagful, where THE BREAKFAST CLUB would take the honor.

ALLISON: How about books? Is there an author with whom you’re obsessed?

BETHANY: I’m the world’s most promiscuous reader. I tend to fall in love with whoever I’m reading and then move on to the next. I am obsessed with voice though, particularly when it comes to contemporary books, so that’s always something that keeps me coming back for more. I just read, THE ONE THING (Disney Sept. 2015), by debut author Marci Lyn Curtis, and…dang. I could easily obsess over her. She captures sarcasm and wit so effortlessly I found myself suffering from a severe case of writer envy. (There’s a string of Twitter DMs to the author to prove it.) Also I recently discovered Anne Eliot—again, she weaves teen angst into her story so seamlessly I wonder if she isn’t channeling Mr. Hughes while she sits at her keyboard.

WRITING BACKGROUND

ALLISON: Why do you write?

BETHANY: The voices in my head need to tell their stories. Either I put them down on paper or I wear a white jacket with extra-long sleeves. I’m too messy to wear white so….

ALLISON: What inspired Summer on the Short Bus?

BETHANY: Because we live in a very politically correct world, sometimes to the detriment of being true to ourselves and building honest relationships with each other, I wanted to see what would happen when an honest character threw PC out the window and tackled a sometimes-taboo topic without any reservations. The response has been pretty interesting.

ALLISON: You draw on your own experiences of being a parent of a special-needs child. What advice would you offer to other authors who also might want to feature a character with special needs?

BETHANY: Treat them the same as you would any other character. “Special” only describes the care a differently-abled person requires it doesn’t void their need to have authentic, honest relationships.

ALLISON: Why young adult as opposed to another age group?

BETHANY: The short answer: John Hughes made me do it.

The not-quite-as-short answer: YA is all about feels and firsts. It’s about frustration and angst, self-discovery and growth. Yes, the teenage years can be rough, but it’s also the one time in your life when you’re allowed to be an idiot and get away with it–because you’re learning. For me, those firsts are too good to pass up on a regular basis.

ALLISON: What do you hope readers will get from your book?

BETHANY: A good laugh, some legitimate feels, and maybe a little perspective on what it really means to live life honestly.

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Summer Reviews

Books can take connect us with strangers, take us to unique places, and introduce us to new ideas. They can also offer hope in a chaotic world. And so I must share what I read!

Each week, I’ll introduce you to religious books, Advanced Reader Copies, animal books, or diversity books. Some I’ll review as singles and others as part of round-ups. Just ahead, there will be reviews of:

  • Joni: The unforgettable story of a young woman’s struggle against quadriplegia & depression by Joni Eareckson
  • The True Story of the World’s Most Beloved Animal Sanctuary by Samantha Glen
  • Brothers in hope : the story of the Lost Boys of Sudan–refugees by Mary Williams
  • The Inner Life of Cats by Thomas McNamee

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