Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Interview With Bethany Griffin - Author of HANDCUFFS

So if you read this blog at all, you've probably heard me talk about HANDCUFFS, which I read this summer. I wrote a mini-review of the book and referenced it in a few of my year's best activities here. It was definitely one of my favorites this year.

And guess what? It's out in paperback next month! Just in time for Valentine's Day!

And, just in time for the paperback, I am posting an interview I did with Bethany Griffin, the author of HANDCUFFS. Bethany is a high school teacher and an awesome writer. So, for you people living under your rocks, here is the summary for HANDCUFFS, followed by my interview!


PARKER PRESCOTT IS an ice princess. Cold, aloof, a snob. At least, that’s what everyone says on Marion Hennessey’s blog. And everyone reads Marion Hennessey’s blog.

Parker Prescott is a middle child. She’s the good one, the dependable one, the one her parents trust. Well . . . she used to be.

Parker Prescott’s parents want her to break up with her boyfriend. But she already did, two weeks ago. And then she realized it was a mistake. He came over. He had the handcuffs in his pocket. Everything went downhill from there. Sort of.

Parker Prescott’s world is changing and she no longer knows who she is. Does anyone?


1. Hi, Bethany! Thanks for doing this. So what made you decide to write a YA novel?

I kept trying to write MG novels and couldn't finish them. No sexual tension!

2. Ha! I hear you there. Then how did the story for HANDCUFFS come to you?

The original idea was a cyber age, eavesdroppers never hear anything good about themselves concept. Then I introduced the boyfriend. Then I needed to get Parker grounded (otherwise it would've been pretty boring to have her sitting around on her computer. I thought...what would be an interestingway to get her grounded? And there we were.

3. HANDCUFFS deals a lot with bullying. As a teacher, have you seen a lot of bullying amongst teens? What kind of things have you seen?

I actually saw more bullying when I taught middle school. High schoolers are smarter/sneakier. When I taught middle school, there would often be one kid who would be picked on by everyone. Just treated awful. It was mostly humiliation type stuff. I mostly tried to imagine reality when adults aren't around, I guess.

4. HANDCUFFS also deals with sex and sexual behavior among teens. Has this led to any negative backlash? If so, how do you handle this kind of response?

I haven't had to deal with any real negative stuff, in person. There was one online blog entry where someone who had not read the book attacked my character, and that was weird and a little bit...infuriating. Otherwise, while there have been a few raised eyebrows, and a few people have told me that they didn't like the high school world I portrayed, they wanted it to be kinder and/or gentler. As for responding, it was difficult, but I ignored the online stuff.

5. Have any of your students read HANDCUFFS or talked to you about it?

Yeah, our school library has several copies, and I've signed 4 or 5 copies this school year. It's a little odd looking out and seeing someone reading it. It's odd when they write a book report (I don't really do book reports, but some sort of book related assignment) about it. In fact we were doing Freytag's pyramid illustrations of our independent reading books and a student started asking me about Handcuffs, and I had to laugh, because I am SO bad with plot.

6. I bet that is surreal! What are some of your favorite YA novels?

Speak, Looking For Alaska, Skin Deep, Hunger Games, Whale Talk, Fat Kid Rules the World, Wicked Lovely, There are so many...and so many different types of books.

7. What kind of projects are you working on now?

I am working on something completely different than anything I've written before. I haven't even told my agent about it. It's a project that will be near and dear to weirdos and English teachers everywhere (I hope). And I am finishing the Handcuffs screenplay, and thinking about turning my very first YA into a screenplay.

8.) Last question, and standard on this blog. If HANDCUFFS is made into a
movie, who would YOU cast as Parker? What about "the ex"? (And don't try to
wiggle your way out of it! Everyone has to answer this one.)


I have NO idea. And I was advised not to really think about it while I write the screenplay. :)

Fair enough! We'll let you get away with it . . . but don't tell any of my other interviewees.


Thanks again to Bethany for doing this interview! In a side note, I actually got to meet Bethany and some of her students this week. She is totally as cool as she seems, and her students were awesome!

Also, they are super lucky and get a Creative Writing class AND a YA Lit class. I AM JEALOUS.

So pick up HANDCUFFS now or get the paperback next month! It's a fun contemporary read, and I think you'll love it!

24 comments:

Emilia Joyce Plater said...

That school sounds awesome! A YA Lit class, wow. Great interview, you two :)

Lunar Amyscope said...

This was a great interview, Kody and Bethany. I need to order that shiz and read it ASAP!!!!!!! I've heard so many amazing things about it.

Joanna said...

Great interview and wishing I could go back to school :(
At least to classes like that!

Bee said...

Edgy YA.
I. NEED. IT. NOW.

Awesome interview! Bethany sounds really cool :))

Amna said...

Yay! Great interview <3

Shelli said...

great interview - thanks Kody and bethany :)

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