{teen} Book Scene Interview with Marni Bates, Author of Awkward

Marni Bates is the author of Awkward, a recent release from KTEEN.  With a little help from {teen} book scene, Marni was able to drop by the virtual offices to answer a few questions about her book.

[Manga Maniac Cafe ] How did you come up with the concept and the characters for the book?

[Marni Bates] At the time, I was trying to publicize my autobiography Marni and I was getting frustrated with the amount of effort it takes to promote something. It’s hard! But it got me wondering what would happen if I had the opposite problem. What if my goal in life was to fly under the radar and then suddenly (by no fault of my own) I became an overnight celebrity? What would that be like? As far as my characters go, I’m not quite sure how they came about. I mean, I definitely see a lot of me in Mackenzie (although she is way cooler, in my opinion) but the others just captured my heart and I rolled with it. Especially Logan. I had a lot of fun figuring out what made him tick. I also went to bed for a long time muttering his name as I tried to puzzle him out. It’s just a good thing I was roommate free during that particular point in time!

[Manga Maniac Cafe ] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Marni Bates] I am both fascinated and horrified by how our culture treats women. I think girls in particular receive really toxic messages about what it means to be attractive, popular, or important. My family has always placed a great deal of importance on having a boyfriend (although they will deny it if asked) and that’s been a constant source of frustration for me. Until I can introduce someone to them over dinner, it’s a black mark against me. And I think that the desire to prove that I can indeed attract male interest encourages me to engage in really unsafe behavior. I find that scary. Terrifying, actually. It makes me constantly question whether I’m making a good decision for me or if I’m secretly wanting to impress someone else.

That makes me want to write about strong girls in hard situations who are determined to find a way to accept themselves.

[Manga Maniac Cafe ] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Marni Bates] I need ambient noise because when I’m alone in a quiet house I inevitably procrastinate. So I find that if I have a delicious caffeinated beverage (usually a mocha frappachino with whip cream), a window table at Starbucks, and indie rock music pounding through my headphones . . . I’m a very happy writer.

[Manga Maniac Cafe ] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Marni Bates] Who Is Bugs Potter? by Gordon Korman. I read it in elementary school and I have a very clear memory of forgoing my lunch to keep reading . . . and then falling off my bench howling with laughter. My best friend has never let me live that one down. Anyhow, I fell in love with reading because I discovered that it was a way to enter a world way more hilarious than anything I saw on a regular basis. Oh, and there’s this scene where these jewel thieves are pretending to be plumbers except the boys also pretend to be plumbers because they want to approach the famous actress too, but then they actually mess with the toilet and . . . dying of laughter. Trust me, you have to read it to get it.

[Manga Maniac Cafe ] Thanks!


You can learn more about Marni by visiting the following websites:

Marni’s website


You can purchase Awkward from your favorite bookseller, or by clicking the widget below:

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