School pupils were given the chance to quiz the author of a best-selling series of books for teenagers.
As part of a tour to meet readers, Holly Smale, who’s behind the international hit series of Geek Girl novels, stopped off at St Anthony’s Girls’ Catholic Academy to meet the people who pore over the pages of her books.
Credited with defining the new ‘clean teen’ genre when first published in 2013, Geek Girl went on to become the No.1 children’s UK debut of that year.
St Anthony’s pupil Emily Adamson, 13, is currently reading the fifth book in the series, Head Over Heels, which was released this summer.
The High Barnes teenager said: “I’ve been really excited about Holly visiting today as I’m a big fan. I like that the books are about real life: these things could happen to anyone. It’s very relatable.”
Former model Holly draws upon her experiences of being a teenage model as well as her school days for the books, which have sold more than half a million copies in the UK.
“I talk to the pupils about how I came to write the series and also give them plenty of time to ask their own questions, teenage girls always have a lot of questions,” explained the author.
“The books deals with a lot of things teenagers are going through, such as issues surrounding identity, family, friends, travel, what they want to be. So they feel like they can empathise with the protagonist.
“Though I refer to the teenage me for the novels, it’s not me, it’s not autobiographical, but I’m very much inspired by the girl I was when I was a teenager.”
Holly, who won the teen category of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2014, added: “There’s a tightrope you have to walk as an author between having a teenage voice and the emotions that come with that and being adult enough to write about it.”
She added: “Being on tour and meeting the people who read your books is great because it helps you understand who you’re writing for. They’re always very interested in how I got the ideas for the book. When I was young, at my school, there was no feeling that writing was an option as a career. So it’s great to be able to encourage their imaginations and make them realise that it is.”
Holly is juggling the schools tour with writing the sixth, and final, instalment in the Geek Girl series which will be titled Forever Geek,