Oh, the powers of photography. Hang on; let me rephrase that: Oh, the powers of BLOGGING and photography. When Sienna Miller decides to use her camera and her blog to start shaking up the social status quo of her local high school, things get tricky - and dangerous - quick. But wait. Where would a Young Adult novel be without a hot athlete/mysterious dude/gentleman/love interest? Nowhere, I tell you! She manages her little photography scheme with the help of oh-so-wonderful Lee. There's only one problem. Her mother is a man-hater and Sienna isn't allowed to date. Drama, people. Drama.
I received this book from the author and don't worry, I didn't let that influence my review. I was so glad to read something that didn't include vampires or werewolves or supernatural zombies with gorgeous hair. This was a story about the everyday life of a high school student. I love the whole blogging aspect because, ahem, well...I AM a blogger. *cough* I also identified with Sienna on a number of levels. Her mother drove me insane. Seriously, Sienna's mom equates holding hands with a boy as the ultimate betrayal. Dear lord, somebody pull this woman out of the 19th century. In all seriousness, I really enjoyed the book. It was cute, it was fun and it was simple - just
the way I like it.
The author, Michelle Pennington, stopped by for an interview to talk about her book! Here she is, in her own words...(well words that replied to my questions).
Salutations, Michelle! I’m so glad you’re visiting today. Why don’t you introduce yourself to everybody reading?
Well, as I write this, my two year old is dumping a bottle of bubble solution out on my floor, so I guess I’ll start by saying I’m a stay at home mother of three. When I dreamed of being a writer, I never pictured it quite like this – you know, crazy. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and a mother, but I never really thought about how I would put the two together. Let me tell you, it takes a lot of discipline, but it’s so fulfilling. My children inspire me and keep me hopping at the same time. Without them I wouldn’t have such a well-developed sense of humor or so much patience. Writing takes both.
I’m married to my sweetheart and the hero of my own love story. He thinks I’m a total nerd and doesn’t get how my brain works, but he’s proud and supportive just the same. While I was writing Candid, he made sure I didn’t mess up any of the sports scenes since that is the passion of his life. He’s also my “cheese filter” because I only have to read him a line to know if it’s too mushy, sickly sweet, or unrealistic. He often says, “A guy would NOT say that.”
Besides writing, I have a lot of interests. I studied art and literature in college and I love photography. I sew, cook, craft, decorate, sing, READ, and watch old movies. (Sometimes I get on a Bollywood movie kick. Love them!) I look pretty normal but I’m pretty sure my brain works differently than most of the people I know. Of course, most people don’t have fictional characters living and talking in their heads all day. It works for me though.
Your novel, Candid, is a YA novel. Tell us a little about the story.
Candid is the first book in the True Images Series. So much of our identity is determined by how people see us and how we see ourselves. I’ve always wanted to explore the ways that those perceptions can change. My main character, Sienna, wants to shake up the social scene in her high school because she hates how so many peoples’ images are not true to who they are. In photography, a candid picture is one that is not posed, but is taken without the subject being aware of the camera. The word candid also means being honest and sincere, or without deception. When we pose for photographs, we are presenting ourselves as we want the world to see us. As Sienna says, candid photography catches the “fleeting but revealing emotions” of people. The ironic part of the story is that Sienna thinks she has herself figured out, but then Lee comes along and turns her life upside down. She begins to realize that she hasn’t been candid with herself.
What inspired you to write a story like this?
My idea for Candid began back in my own high school days. I was the yearbook editor and back then (not SO long ago) we only had film photography. We had hundreds of photos that we had to sort through. Some of them were just magical. I don’t exactly remember when Sienna started living in my head but it was sometime during my junior year. She didn’t have a name yet, but she did have a passion – photography. She had a room with hundreds of photographs that spoke to her. It wasn’t long before she took on personality and depth. Once her love interest showed up, a new guy who played basketball, I knew I would have to write her story someday.
Did you base this book on any real-life High School experiences you might have had?
As I already mentioned, all of the yearbook and photography aspects of this story were easy to write about since I was so involved with it myself. Funny enough, the football scenes were also from my own experiences – or my mothers. I was the water girl for football for a few years so I got the unique experience of being down on the field in the middle of everything. My mother was the yearbook sponsor and so she was the one out on the field taking pictures at every game. She was an endless source of inspiration and advice for Sienna’s work on the field – and even some of her disasters.