‘Some Boys’ but not all

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Studio 16

The author of "Some Boys", "Someone I Used to Know", and many other award-winning books, Patty Blount, takes the time to let this Bengal Beat reporter interview her (Photo courtesy of Patty Blount, photo credit to Studio 16).

This article is an interview with the wonderful author, Mrs. Patty Blount. To recap, I did a review of her book Some Boys in October of 2019. Since then she has read the review and agreed to do a follow-up. Before reading the interview, you might want to make sure that you have read the review.

Who is Patty Blount?

Patty Blount grew up quiet and somewhat invisible in Queens, NY, but found her superpower writing smart and strong characters willing to fight for what’s right. Today, she’s the award-winning author of edgy, realistic, gut-wrenching contemporary and young adult romance. Still a bit introverted, she gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, and tends to develop mad, passionate crushes on fictional characters…and Gilles Marini….and Sam Heughan. Let’s be real; Blount’s not nearly as cool as her characters, but she is a solid supporter of women’s rights and loves delivering school presentations. 

Blount is best known for her tough issues novels. The Internet Issues duo includes SEND and TMI.  The #MeToo duo includes SOME BOYS, a 2015 CLMP Firecracker winner, and SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, a 2018 Junior Library Guild Fall Pick, as well as a double winner of the 2019 Athena Award (Best YA Contemporary and Best of the Best). Visit her website at pattyblount.com, where you can sign up for her newsletter. She blogs at YA Outside the Lines and is also active on Twitter and Facebook. When she’s not writing, Blount loves to watch bad sci-fi movies, live tweeting the hilarity, and scour Pinterest for ideas on awesome bookcases. Blount lives on Long Island with her family in a house that, sadly, lacks bookcases. She loves hearing from readers, especially when they tell her she’s cool (even though she knows it’s not true), and is easily bribed with chocolate. Read…roar!…revel. (excerpted from her website) 

The Interview:

Q: What was your inspiration for this Some Boys?

A: I find most of my novel ideas in the news. After I’d finished writing SEND, I heard about this frightening rape case in Stuebenville, OH in which four boys assaulted an unconscious classmate. Worse, they recorded their assaults on her and shared them online. They are heard/seen joking, mocking, and never once, attempting to get help for their unconscious classmate. I was and still am so infuriated by this entire situation, but my rage was only compounded by the arguments that ensued during the trial of these four boys. Everyone — including the media — tried to blame HER for this crime, rather than them. This is the very definition of rape culture and I’d had enough of it. I decided to write a similar story in which the girl may not be “nice” and may not be “right” to show how no matter what you may think of her, she is not the one who broke the law.

 

Q: How did you specifically decide on the plot?

A: The dual narration was something my editor suggested. When I first told her about my idea for a ‘he said/she said’ book, she immediately said it should have a He and She point of view.

 

Q: Favorite part of the book or favorite quote?

A: [My favorite was] when Grace tells off her English class — including the teacher — for permitting offensive things to be said.

 

Q: What was the writing process like for you? How long did it take you to write the book? Any struggles?

A: This book poured out of me. I wrote it in less than two months because it was that important. The hardest part was channeling my rage into words. There were days I literally could not see [because] I was so mad.

 

Q: How has this book changed you as a person?

A: I am NOT Grace and don’t usually stand up for myself. I’m learning to do just that. I remind myself if I could create a character who takes no BS from anyone, [then] I can demonstrate such courage myself.

 

Q: How did the public receive your book following the publishing?

A: Positively, for the most part. The book has been honored with multiple award nominations and even won a few. It’s been included on different lists about rape culture, surviving sexual assault, and strong characters. I’ve learned that a few students made their own book trailer videos and one even earned a school award for their version of my novel. But the best part is when I receive messages from young readers telling me they’re dealing with similar situations and Grace’s ordeal showed them what to do.

 

Q: Do you feel as if my article captured the book correctly? Is there anything that you wished I had brought up?

A: I loved your article and thought you captured the book well, especially its subtleties. If there was anything else I wish you’d mentioned, it would be the companion book, SOMEONE I USED TO KNOW, which deals with the same issues, but from different perspectives.

 

Q: Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?

A: If you’d like to be a writer, it’s important for you to read and read widely — in and out of your favorite genre. Pay attention to the works that suck you in, absorb you and try to identify WHY. Don’t emulate that, but look for places in your own work where you can apply what you’ve identified. It’s highly common to doubt your ability and talent; do not allow those doubts to derail your progress. 

 

Q: Any advice for myself specifically?

A: Write a little each day; make it a habit.

 

Q: Is Some Boys your favorite book? If not, what is?

A: My favorite book is SEND because it was my first, the one I worked on the longest. But I love Some Boys, too.

 

Q: Do you have any friends who are authors?

A: I do indeed! When I was starting out, I joined twitter and followed authors I admire. I later joined a professional organization where I met Katie McGarry, Simone Elkeles, and Jason Reynolds. But we’re not friends. My author friends are authors writing mostly adult romance.

 

Q: Can you pronounce your last name for me? I feel like I have not been saying it correctly.

A: Blount rhymes with ‘count’. I know some athletes with this name who say it “Blunt” but that’s not how we say it. It is my real name. 

 

Q: Where do you get writing ideas from?

A: [I get them from] mostly the news. Sometimes, from writing prompts. Once, from a TV commercial.

 

Q: Your spirit animal?

A: A puppy. I’ve never had one and like to believe I’m as loyal and trustworthy. 

 

Q: Do you ever google yourself?

A: I do! I had an incident a few years ago with plagiarism so I frequently Google my name and lines from my work to see if any unscrupulous people are using either to suit their own needs.

 

Q: What made you want to become an author?

A: I adore books and reading. You know, now that it’s 2020, I hear people complaining that they still don’t have hover cars or time travel and shake my head. Books are transportive! I’ve truly felt like I attended Hogwarts and fought in the Hunger Games. I wanted to be able to do that… to write stories that make people forget about their own lives for a while.

 

Q: Any good title ideas?

A: SOME BOYS BUT NOT ALL. I think it’s important for boys to know I don’t believe they’re ALL rapists. It’s like Ian in the novel; some boys see nothing wrong with their behavior while others instantly know it’s wrong.

 

Q: Can you describe yourself in three words?

A: Full of chocolate.

 

Q: Adding on to the last question, can you briefly describe yourself to readers?

A: I’m an avid reader who gets lost often, eats way too much chocolate, crushes on fictional characters, and wishes there were more hours in the day to write.

 

Q: If you feel comfortable, what is your day job? 

A: I work for Canon USA in their printer division, writing training materials.

 

Q: How do you respond to reviews, if you ever read them?

A: I do NOT read or respond to them. It’s too soul-crushing. Every reader is entitled to his or her opinion about a book. But authors like me pour YEARS into our novels. I may have written the first draft of Some Boys in under two months but the book was revised and edited countless times before it was released. When someone doesn’t like my stories, I find it depressing. I’m afraid it will only embolden the doubts that I already have seen inside me. If I respond to reviews, it makes me seem defensive. For example, there are many teachers and parents who object to the profanity I used in my stories. Those words are there because many teens use them and teens are my audience. I’m not here to teach; I’m here to present a particular view of a story situation and hopefully, show that view in a way that makes readers rethink their own conclusions. I can’t do that job if I’m always responding to everyone’s petty complaints about each plot. 

 

Q: Is there anything else that you would like to add?

A: Being an author is a dream come true for me but it does not pay very well! I hope I’ll someday have movies and school plays made from my work but the only way that happens is when readers talk about my books. Do this not just for me, but for all authors you like. Tell people, all the people about your favorite books. Word of mouth is still the best way to sell novels.

 

As requested, Patty Blount herself recommends reading the follow up book to Some Boys, Someone I Used to Know

 

Awards and Acknowledgements for Some Boys (excerpted from Blount’s website):

2015- Won the CLMP Firecracker Award for best YA novel

2015- Finalist in RWA’s RITA awards competition for best YA novel

2015- Finalist in the Greater Detroit Bookseller’s Best Award competition for best YA novel

2015- Makes the list of YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers

2016- Selected as a Gateway Readers Award Finalist by the Missouri Association of School Librarians

2016- Selected as a nominee in the South Carolina Book Awards

2016- Makes the list of 49 MOST UNDERRATED BOOKS YOU REALLY NEED TO READ by Buzzfeed

2016 – Enters a 9th print run

2017 – Earns Second Place in Missouri Association of School Librarians Gateway Readers Award competition. At South Carolina’s Association of School Librarians conference, a student-made book trailer entry based on the book took first place for that competition and can be viewed on the “Books” page of Patty’s website

 

Awards and acknowledgements for Someone I Used to Know (excerpted from Blount’s website):

2018- A Junior Library Guild Fall Selection

2019- An Amelia Bloomer Project recommended title for novels with strong feminist content.

2019- Named a 2019 Best Children’s Book of the Year by Bank Street

2019- A DOUBLE winner in the Athena Award, organized by the YARWA chapter of RWA. Best YA Contemporary and Best of the Best

2019- A nominee for the Missouri Association of School Libraries Gateway Readers Award, 9-12.

 

Haven’t had enough of Patty Blount? Go follow her:

Twitter- @pattyblount

Instagram- @pattyblount3

Facebook- “Patination” and “Patty Blount Novels”

Website- https://www.pattyblount.com/