July's books are on the bookstore shelves, and there are some very exciting new titles for you to explore. It's time for lazy-day, beat-the-summer-sizzle kind of reading on the beach, the back porch, wherever. We are glad you've taken time away from summer activities to check out our site.
local library is a great place to find new books and summer reading
activities. Watch for your local friends of the library summer book
sale. Most libraries save up the book donations that they can't use
and have a gargantuan sale every summer. There are always wonderful
bargains, and sometimes you can find those older books that you have
been wanting at super prices, usually twenty-five cents to a dollar
Roxanne Camron is the author of eight nonfiction books for teen girls, and is recognized as an expert on teens. I raised 6 children, and have a whole passel of teenaged grandchildren, but The one thing I know for sure about teenagers is that I know virtually nothing! I wondered just how one got to be an expert on the subject. Here's what Roxanne had to say:
Bev: Please tell us about yourself; what were your childhood years like?
Roxanne: I had a pretty normal childhood. I grew up in Southern California, where I have lived for my entire life. I went to elementary school through college here. Like most kids, I was influenced by my friends and I continue to be in touch with some girls whom I met in kindergarten.
Bev: As a teenager, did you feel a need for the kind of books that you write for teens today?
Roxanne: I read a lot of teen magazines as a teenager. I also read a lot of fiction, but I don't recall there being a lot of nonfiction books at the time. I was a teenager during the 60s. There was not a lot of awareness of the kinds of problems that are universal to teens, nor was there much openness about them.
Bev: Who were your favorite authors as a child?
Roxanne: As a really young girl, I loved the Nancy Drew series. It's amazing to me how timeless it has been. As I got older, I really enjoyed reading all of the classics teachers assigned. I loved the Grapes of Wrath, All Quiet on the Western Front, Fountainhead, and Catcher in the Rye.
Bev: What do you prefer for your recreational reading now?
Roxanne: Because I write and edit for a living, I'm not as much of a reader as I used to be. I'm still a voracious magazine reader, but it seems like the only time I have to do any serious reading is on our annual vacations. I really enjoy books by Pat Conroy and Wally Lamb. They are my two favorite contemporary authors.
Bev: I raised six children, and my current count on grandchildren is 14, so I can fully appreciate the large hat you are wearing as a "teen expert." I just have to ask this one...do you have teenagers? How does one become an expert in such a complicated and far reaching subject as a teenager?
Roxanne: I have two daughters. My oldest is 25 and my youngest is 19 - so I still have one teenager. I have always been close to my daughters and their friends, and raising them has given me tremendous insight into teen girls and their interests and problems. I also read a huge volume of "reader mail" each week as the editor in chief of Teen magazine. Reading hundreds of letters a week provided me with a real understanding of what issues teens deal with and what they need help solving. So many people THINK they know what teenagers are about, but you can't possibly know unless you hear directly from teens themselves. The magazine also did a tremendous amount of research, and I've written four nonfiction books over the last two years where I interviewed teens on a variety of topics.
Bev: You did extensive research for your latest book, 60 CLUES ABOUT GUYS! A GUIDE TO FEELINGS, FLIRTING, AND FALLING IN LIKE. How did you manage to get interviews with the boys, and especially the famous ones?
Roxanne: I contacted everyone I know who has boys and asked them to introduce me to other boys who would be willing to talk about boy/girl topics. The response was huge. I was so surprised how willing boys were to be interviewed and how eager they were to share their experiences. Because many boys are not comfortable with casual conversations, I had to pry and prod some, but I think I got them to really open up and give me honest and comprehensive answers. I didn't interview the celebrity boys personally. I did do extensive research online and through books and magazines and found a lot of quotes on topics that related to the book's content.
Bev: Your extensive interviews with boys have given you a good idea of the questions that boys have about girls...do you have any companion books planned for boys?
Roxanne: Not at the moment. One thing I confirmed in my boy research is that boys tend to do better in active settings, so I'm not sure a book about girls would be well received by boys. They don't tend to be huge readers.
Bev: What's the most satisfying and the least satisfying part of your career as a writer?
Roxanne: The most satisfying part is being able to put things into just the right words without too much of a struggle and to feel that I am helping teens. The least satisfying part is dealing with some editors who have difficulty giving a writer a sense of the assignment.
Bev: How do you see your future in this industry?
Roxanne: I hope to continue to write books for the Young Adult market, and I am particularly interested in branching out into fiction for children and young adults.
Bev: How do you see the future of the book industry itself, especially as it relates to children's literature?
Roxanne: I hope that young people will continue to enjoy reading. I know for certain that publishers are very interested in capturing this market.
Bev: Roxanne, I really appreciate your taking the time to respond to these questions. Thank you so much! I wish you the best in your writing future.
Other Books by Roxanne Camron
Do the Right Thing,
Next Month: An interview with Trish Kline and the new concept of interactive book and internet...