I have been so blessed recently to have an email correspondence with author Ginger Scott. Ginger’s first novel, Waiting on the Sidelines, was released in April of 2013. Since then she has released Going Long, Blindness, How We Deal With Gravity and This is Falling. Her new book, You and Everything After is being released on December 5th. If you haven’t discovered Ginger yet, you are missing out. Young love, friendships, self discovery, you will find all of that here. Ginger was kind enough to answer a few questions. I hope y’all enjoy!
As clichéd as this question is, when did you start writing? Was it a constant in your life from a young age, or something you fell into in college? Being that you were a journalist first, I am going with the latter!
I always wanted to write, from the moment I realized there was such a profession. For me it was a combination of two main inspirations—Judy Blume and a female reporter I met from my hometown paper. Let me start with Judy Blume. I was a pre-teen, maybe 11 not quite yet 12, when I bought a copy of Judy Blume’s Forever at a thrift store with my grandma. I brought the book home, started it in the late afternoon light, and ended up finishing it under my covers by the light of my digital clock. It was the first book that felt like me, my friends and the girls we were becoming. It was older, and I think the taboo of reading something older sort of lit me up, too. This book—it had sex. And not like magic, in-the-movies, fade to black and everything is wonderful and easy sex. It had painful, not-fun-first-time, awkward feelings, should-I-or-shouldn’t I sex. But it was more than that; this book also hit all the right notes—and I felt like I was part of the story. That…that! I wanted to make more of that.
Fast-forward a few months probably to a local interview I was doing with the town newspaper for a library program I was taking part in. The reporter was a woman, with a snazzy pen, and she held it in a way I can only describe as crooked. She scribbled on this small notebook—catching EVERY word I said! So I thought, “journalism—yeah, I think I’d like to do that, too!”
I love journalism, and I still write plenty of non-fiction, in-depth stories in my other life. But…fiction, love stories, friendship stories—that’s where my soul has always been. A really long, probably overly poetic answer to your question, but yes, writing has always been my passion, and I wouldn’t change my path getting here for anything in the world.
Who were some of your writing influences when you were growing up? Anyone today that you would totally fangirl over if you met them in person?
Well, clearly I’m a Judy Blume girl. I started with the kid’s books and moved right into young adult. I adore the classics—I think Gatsby is something truly special. But, there are sooooo many writers today that I admire. For the sake of not bogging down your blog with a never-ending list, I would become absolutely useless and probably pee myself in the company of Colleen Hoover and Curtis Sittenfeld. Both can pen a character like nobody else.
What made you jump from journalism (a fact based career) to fiction? Do you still work as a journalist?
I always wanted to write fiction. I think I just needed to get over the fear. You see, I’m desperately afraid of failure—of writing something that nobody cares about. I let that fear stand in my way for a very long time. But I finally realized that I was good at journalism, and I was good at it because I was good at pulling out the human element in my stories. I love finding the emotion and telling the stories that reach our emotions and make us react. I honestly think that is the one thing that has helped me most in my fiction writing. I tackle my characters the same way I would an in-depth story, finding the colors and painting with them as often as I can. I will always keep my hand in journalism, too. I think it is a wonderful career, and I think this world needs storytellers to capture everything that is real and sad and beautiful all the same.
All of your novels, with the exception of How We Deal with Gravity, are centered around sports. What is the appeal for you and do you feel that it has broader implications in each of the stories?
I am an athlete, and I’ve been a fierce competitor. I watch ESPN, I love Al Michaels, I wish I could fall asleep to Chris Collinsworth’s commentary and there isn’t a sport I don’t have a deep appreciation and respect for as well as the athletes who compete in them. Sports is something I know, and I love the drama it brings to life. I love the culture of sports, the togetherness as well as the heartbreak. Some of my favorite stories are sports-related, and not just romance (truly, I think everyone should read the book that started Friday Night Lights). I guess I gravitate to these characters because on some level they are kindred, and I know them well, inside and out.
The protagonists in your novels have really intense love stories, life changing in some respects. Do you think this is realistic or do you think this is a reflection on society’s need to focus on that concept of “everyone has a soul mate and a happily ever after”?
I think life-changing love happens all of the time. I don’t think it happens everywhere, or for everyone, but I think there is something magical about falling in love that can happen for everyone. The drama isn’t always the same—heaven help us if we all had to endure the drama of a romance novel—but I think the idea of having a soul mate is very real. For me, I married my very best friend, and I found him when I wasn’t looking. Some have that connection with someone more than once in their lifetime, and some never find it. But as humans, we’re always looking. I think our hearts crave the other half.
I have heard and read a number of discussions recently that deal with “instalove”. I think it can exists, especially when someone is older or when they have gone through a life changing/traumatic event. What are your thoughts?
I love that word—it’s so funny. Instalove. I can tell you that I loved my husband pretty damned fast—I thought he was crazy cute at first, was really smitten after the first date, wanted to spend all of my time with him after my second date, and pretty much knew I loved him after my third. We were very similar—academically focused in college, ready to be grown-ups, simple in our wants and needs. He was ridiculously romantic (I won’t put details to spare embarrassing him, but let me just say that he wrote me a fairytale once). Most would probably hear the story of our meeting and romance and chalk it up to impossible and unrealistic, but it’s the easiest and greatest thing I ever did. Does instalove happen often? I doubt it. But I think it happens enough to make stories like mine common, and I know for a fact they are really out there. I don’t think it’s a mission people go on, and I don’t think there are potions or incantations that will force it, but the right glance from the right person across the room at just the right time…yeah, I think the heart knows when a miracle hits it.
All of your books are written from the perspective of a late teenager to mid-twenty something. What is the appeal for you to write from this view point?
I love this age—I love how vulnerable we are as teenagers, the freshness of experiencing everything for the first time. And I love seeing people grow into adults, learn how to navigate emotions and relationships and all of the things that come along with being a grown-up. This has always been the age for stories I love to read and watch. One day, that may change, but for now, I love scratching at the surface.
Where do you come up with the plot points for your stories i.e. autism, death of a parent? For example, I know with Stephanie Meyers, Twilight began as a dream she had of this girl and a vampire in a meadow. Any crazy stories like that?
The plot points come from many places, and every story has a unique origin. For example, THIS IS FALLING was born from a glance I saw a girl give one of the players at an ASU baseball game I went to. She liked him. She more than liked him. And he was interested. And the glances kept happening throughout the game. I sketched the basic outline for FALLING on my ticket stub from my seat in the lawn. The autism focus of HOW WE DEAL WITH GRAVITY was different; that was born from my passion for the cause. I’ve been a volunteer journalist for an organization in Arizona for years, and I wanted to write a story that honored the dozens of parents I’ve interviewed. As for crazy dreams and such, I haven’t had anything like that happen yet. However, what I’m writing now started with a truck I had in my mind—and then I found a photo that was exactly the truck I had in my head, and then I found the photographer. The story grew from there and it is quickly becoming my favorite thing I’ve written.
What inspired you to write the story of Nolan and Reed? Is there any possibility of a continuation of their story for instance a Waiting on the Sidelines from Reed’s point of view? I loved how in Going Long we got to see both of their POVs which I think made the story stronger because of it. There are so many unanswered questions, why Reed did the things he did, what happened those months they had broken up, so much juiciness! Have you ever WANTED to write that or is their story done for you?
I don’t have anything definite planned in terms of continuing their story…but, I will never rule it out. I love those characters, and they will always be my first loves. If I were to dive back into their world, readers would definitely get more Reed Johnson.
As for what inspired me, this answer is very simple. The Waiting Series is the exact story I always wanted to tell. It is the perfect story for me…and I don’t mean it’s perfect, and I know it isn’t for everyone. Waiting on the Sidelines sat unfinished for longer than I care to admit. (It was that pesky fear thing.) But once I committed to finish it, I promised myself I wouldn’t hold back. I would write this story for me, how I wanted it to play out, real and raw and painful and beautiful. Of all my stories, this is the one that I would give anything to see on a movie screen one day.
All of your stories, with the exception of Waiting on the Sidelines and Blindness, are told from both the male and female protagonist. Why did you decide this format worked better?
I sort of let the story decide. Sometimes, dual POV just makes sense. But others, it’s nice to experience the ride right along with the main character, only knowing what she or he knows. Somehow, so far, I have always just known, sort of on instinct, what perspective was going to play out.
This is more of a writing question. Some authors are very methodical, have outlines, they have a very good sense of where they want the story to go. Others just sort of wing it. Which one are you?
I guess I’m a hybrid. I usually have a very loose outline, the basic plot points and character notes. And I always know where I’m going. But, the road getting there changes often, and it sort of grows and plays out as I write.
I know most of your novels are categorized in the YA section of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, however, I would argue that a good portion are better placed in the new category of New Adult with authors such as Jennifer L. Armentrout (J. Lynn) and Cora Carmack. What are your thoughts? Which would you prefer to be associated with?
I would agree. Honestly, I usually associate myself more with the New Adult genre, but sometimes retailers have their own opinions. I think I tend to walk a line, and I like that my stories find a lot of teenagers. I will never forget my first copy of Forever and how amazing it felt to read. To think that one of my books could be that story for someone…gah! That’s getting into ‘living the dream’ territory.
This has to do with a panel I sat in on at Ya’ll Fest as well as some articles I have read on the subject recently. Do you have a problem with the fact that a large percentage of YA/New Adult readership are actually adults? There are some out there who have a problem with the number of adults, who read YA, that we should be better than that. Jennifer L. Armentrout stated that her adult readers probably comprise around 60% of her readership. Do you have a large adult readership and how do you feel about that?
I think any book is for any person, if they have a desire to read it. Granted, there are probably some books not quite appropriate for younger audiences (sex or violence thresholds, etc) but…I think if a book finds its reader, than that relationship was meant to be–whether the characters are the same age as the reader or half their age. I love that my readers are all over the spectrum. I’ve chatted with high school boys and girls
who have identified with some of my books, and I’ve also talked with mothers and grandmothers who have read my stories and said they found themselves, their memories and pasts, in the pages. What an honor. One of the greatest things I’ve heard are stories of mothers and daughters reading together. I write the books I like to read, stories I would want to find. And that’s the only line I draw for myself.
What is your favorite story or character of the novels you have written and why?
It’s funny, I wrote about this on my blog and Facebook page recently. Right now, it is Reed and Nolan and the Waiting Series. Again, I think because that story was in me for so long, and it was the perfect story for me, what I would want to read or watch or hear. I’m enormously proud of it, and I think it’s going to be hard to beat.
Other that the final book in the This is Falling series, what is up next for you?
Before Paige’s story comes out in 2015, I am finishing up a really intense high school romance. This story is a little dark, and it really has a hold on me. I will be releasing the title in a few weeks. But for now, let me just say, that even though the Waiting Series is my personal favor for now…this story, it might just make me change my mind.
Finally, what advice would you give to any aspiring authors?
Let go of the fear. Whatever it is. For me, it was always fear of rejection–fear that I would write something and nobody would care. It caged me. Fear only holds you back, and if you have words you NEED to get out of you, do it–write without abandon, and get your story out. Worry about perfect later, worry about the process later, worry about the laundry list of things that come next later. Just write. Once that hurdle is crossed, you will wonder at how amazing you feel.
I just want to thank Ginger for taking time out of her day to answer my questions. Once again, If you haven’t read any of her works, I will link them below. You won’t be disappointed!
Waiting on the Sidelines, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Going Long, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
Blindness, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
How We Deal with Gravity, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
This is Falling, Amazon and Barnes and Noble
You and Everything After, Amazon and Barnes and Noble