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August 08, 2012

Interview with Smart Girls author, Sarah Storhmeyer + Giveaway

Hello awesome readers! Maji Bookshelf is excited to interview Sarah Strohmeyer today! She is the author of the awesome contemporary novel Smart Girls Get What They Want. Let me just tell you that I devoured Smart Girls in one sitting because it just spoke to me. We need more books about smart girls right? Anyways, hearing it from The Smart Girl, be sure to check out Sarah's hilarious answers to the interview questions and a peek at what her upcoming work will be about. Trust me. You want to know. 

Sarah Strohmeyer is a bestselling and award-winning novelist whose books include The Cinderella Pact (which was made into a Lifetime Original Movie called Lying To Be Perfect), The Sleeping Beauty ProposalThe Secret Lives of Fortunate WivesSweet Love, and the Bubbles mystery series. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications. She lives with her family outside Montpelier, Vermont. Her first young adult novel, Smart Girls Get What They Want, was published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, on June 26, 2012. Check out My review of Smart Girls Here

Follow Sarah on her
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Find SGGWTW on Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | BD
Gigi, Bea, and Neerja are best friends and total overachievers. Even if they aren't the most popular girls in school, they aren't too worried. They know their "real" lives will begin once they get to their Ivy League colleges. There will be ivy, and there will be cute guys in the libraries (hopefully with English accents) But when an unexpected event shows them they're missing out on the full high school experience, it's time to come out of the honors lounge and into the spotlight. They make a pact: They will each take on their greatest challenge--and they will totally "rock" it.

Gigi decides to run for student rep, but she'll have to get over her fear of public speaking--and go head-to-head with gorgeous California Will. Bea used to be one of the best skiers around, until she was derailed. It could be time for her to take the plunge again. And Neerja loves the drama club but has always stayed behind the scenes--until now.

These friends are determined to show the world that smart girls really can get what they want--but that could mean getting way more attention than they ever bargained for...

Now on to the interview! 

Describe Smart Girls Get What They Want in three words
 Smart Girls Rule

What inspired you to write a contemporary, especially about smart girls?! 
When I started this book in 2006, my daughter was still in high school. (She’s now a senior at Bryn Mawr College, an all-women’s school in Pennsylvania.) She was a “smart girl” and so were her friends who were wonderful except they were kind of socially isolated. Either they were setting themselves apart from their classmates or their classmates were doing the setting apart for them (more like a mixture of both), but it reminded me of my own high school experience and I thought…enough! Let’s break the cycle!  

Do you base your writing on your own past experiences? 
Like most authors, I’d have to say I do and I don’t. I might get a spark of an idea or an odd character from my past but that’s it. For example, I really did have a Latin teacher named Ms. Fay but she was nothing like the Latin teacher in Smart Girls. For one thing, MY Ms. Fay always returned our homework with splotches of red wine and cigarette ashes. 

 However, all experience is copy, as the late great Nora Ephron said. And like Anne Lamott says, every lousy thing that’s happened to you, that someone said to you, that someone did to you, is yours to write about. Own it! Too bad if the morons who inflicted the harm don’t like seeing their actions in print. They should have been nicer. 

Where do you usually like to write or read? Provide photos if possible.

I’ve included two photos. One is my modified desk. Don’t ask about the wooden “extension” my husband made because it is downright hillbilly. My office is in my house and looks out over the driveway so I could see my kids come home from school when they were younger and wrap up my writing. The other chair is the ugliest most comfortable chair in the world. That’s where I read and knit and, okay, soak up Real Housewives of New Jersey.I have a desk, but inspiration generally strikes when I am in the car, or on the beach or somewhere where I have to scribble down notes in lipstick on the back of a random receipt. 

Which one out of the three best friends do you most relate to?
Probably Bea. Bea is more likely to be on her muscle than Gigi the narrator. Plus, Gigi’s much more diplomatic than I’ve ever been whereas Bea is more likely to stick her foot in her mouth which, as a Sagittarius, is my specialty!

 How would you describe your own high school experience?
Meh. I mean, I had good friends and fun times and I graduated as one of the top ten students, but I was never popular. I didn’t go to my prom or have a boyfriend. I kept my focus on graduation when I could get out and things would be better and they were though, probably, I should have taken a cue from the Smart Girls and made more of an effort. Still, I had 750 kids in my class alone. It was a big public school in a Pennsylvania steel town and all anyone did for fun was sit in their parents’ basements and drink beer or smoke pot. (It was the 70s.) Kind of like hanging out with zombies.

What extra-curricular activity did you do back in high school? Since the girls in Smart Girls tried out for Drama, Skiing, and student council.

Okay, calibrate your nerd-o-meter - I played the clarinet in the school marching band, the Grenadiers (they were kind of big back then) and the string bass in the school orchestra. I was on the debate team (I sucked!) and an editor of the school newspaper where I wrote snarky editorials bemoaning the lame state of my generation. Sigh. And I wonder why I wasn’t popular.

Name your most favorite Young Adult book (and if its harry potter, then your second favorite), movie, and show:
Fave young adult book is hard as you know. Harry Potter aside, I’d say it’s a tossup between Anna and the French Kiss and If I Stay though I also love Libba Bray and Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen and Megan McCafferty, Louise Rennison, of course…And my friend Patty McCormick who wrote Cut, Sold and now Never Fall Down just floors me with her talent. Her subjects are gritty, but her books are amazing and award winning. 
Movie: Easy A. 
Show: Buffy the Vampire Slayer. 

What are your plans for the next book? Different genre? A standalone, or a series? More books about smart girls? ;)
I have another book scheduled to come out next summer with Balzer + Bray at HarperCollins but I can’t say anything about it until the catalog becomes public in a few weeks. And I’m talking to my publisher now about a sequel to Smart Girls. It all depends on how it sells and, therefore, if there’s enough of an interest. So I guess we’ll see! 

Now to end this post, Sarah Storhmeyer has generously offered ONE (1) signed copy of Smart Girls Get What They Want to one lucky US/Canada reader! So, you want to win a copy? fill out the rafflecopter below! and if you didn't win? make sure to still check out Smart Girls, you won't be disappointed! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
and i'll be borrowing Sarah Strohmeyer's words to end this post....


  1. This book looks so cute. Thanks for the interview. I am in total agreement with her choices for favorite YA. I have to say, my favorite debut so far this year is probably Everneath.

  2. My favourite debut so far this year has been I AM FORBIDDEN by Anouk Markovits! Thanks for the great giveaway!

  3. It sounds like such a fun read :) And I love that reading/working corner - the chair looks super comfy!

  4. I loved this book! I think we need more books about Smart Girls :)

    Kate @ Ex Libris

  5. Smart girls rock. :D What a fun interview, and such a nice giveaway too! :)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  6. Smart girls are rockstars :D Great interview. Definitely looking forward to this read!

  7. Smart girls will take over the world :)

  8. Smart girls are obviously the best! (though I may be a bit biased because I'm one of them)

  9. Well, I do know that although smart girls aren't at the top of the social hierarchy, they do seem to get very successful in the future.

  10. Ooh! I just saw this book in B&N while out shopping for required books for school :/ And being the broke reader that I am, I couldn't buy it, so... fingers crossed!

  11. OMG I LOVE EASY A! What am awesome interview, I loved this book :D

    Anna @ Literary Exploration

  12. i would love to read this book, i love that the author is encouraging girls to be SMART and not play dumb!

  13. i think it is a great book...we must read it!

  14. I loved the interview and how Sarah came up with the idea to write about the smart girls.

    I definitely need to read this book!

    Sana @ artsy musings of a bibliophile

  15. Loved the interview! Can't wait to read Smart Girls...I've heard nothing but good things! :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  16. cant wait to read! Smart girls do rule, i wish there were more books about characters with sazz and brains...

  17. Smart Girls are awesome! I've heard a lot of good things about this book, can't wait to read it!

  18. I've had this one on my TBR list for a while. It's sounds so amazing. Yay for smart girls!

  19. Smart girls rock! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  20. I've heard good things about this book and think it sounds so cute! I prefer reading books with smart girls as the main character. I relate more to them than the ditzy characters :)