Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Linda Gerber LIVE!!!

Linda Gerber was here at Blendon for our career fair! She is very fun to hear and passionate about her writing. The students were thrilled (although sad that I don't have her new book Death by Bikini yet), and Linda graciously answered questions about her writing and experiences for this

First Ever Author Interview!!!:

Ms. Yingling: In The Finnish Line, you write passionately about women being allowed to ski jump. When you were in middle school, in what sports did you compete, or want to, and how did Title IX affect your opportunities?

Linda Gerber: Alas, competitive sports and I were not a good mix in middle school. I still remember the day we were doing archery and I shot my arrow right into the tennis courts where the boys were doing their tennis unit. (Yes, where I went to school, boys and girls took P.E. separately. The girls had to wear these totally embarrassing one-piece gym uniforms but boys got to wear t-shirts and blue shorts. How fair is that?)

I watched Title IX in action as more and more girls challenged stereotypes and discrimination and fought their way into sports such as football and wrestling. It gave me the courage to challenge my own boundaries.

When I started writing _The Finnish Line_, I /didn't know/ women ski jumpers weren't allowed to compete in the Olympics. I couldn't believe
it! Mo's story took on a whole new meaning then.

Ms. Yingling: You have two Students Across the Seven Seas titles. What is the most important thing you have learned from studying other cultures? What do you think is the most important thing for students in the United States to learn about different cultures?Linda

Linda Gerber: I've lived abroad twice and my kids attended an international school in Japan with students from 17 different countries and do you know what I noticed? We're all the same! We might look different and have different customs, religion and/or beliefs, but we all want to be happy, safe and loved. Those different things about us make us interesting and unique, not bad or wrong. So many of the world's problems could be solved if everyone learned that one, simple fact.

The same thing goes within the boundaries of a middle school, no matter which neighborhood you live in or where you buy your clothes or what sport you play or the kind of music you like to listen to.

Ms. Yingling: Do you feel that you write your characters, or do they write themselves and assume a life of their own, sometimes surprising you? Who is your favorite book character, either one you have written or one you have readLinda

Linda Gerber: That's a tough one. Some characters come to me fully-formed and ready for action. Others are coy and make me work for every detail and nuance of their personality. They all do take on a life of their own. If they didn't, I'd be worried. My daughter still laughs at the day I was writing the ending to one of my upcoming books and I started to cry because I didn't know one of the characters was going to do what he did and it completely took my by surprise.

Choosing a single favorite book character is too much like choosing a favorite child. It's impossible! From my own work, I really liked Baba and Jiji from Now and Zen because they were patterned after our adopted Grandma and Grandpa in Japan.

Favorite characters from a book I recently read... Cammie Morgan from Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series because she's fun to follow. And I adore Artemis Fowl and about anyone else Iain Colfer creates. And Vlad from Eight Grade Bites. Oh, and Gilda Joyce! See? I can't choose just one.

Death by Bikini is being followed soon by Death by Latte and then Death by Denim, which Linda was rushing home to work on when she left here! Keep an eye on this fabulous new young adult author!


  1. Linda's a sweetie and so are you for visiting my blog!

  2. Hi, Ms. Yingling!!! Thanks for the kind words and again for inviting me to visit Blendon!