Today, I’m very excited to have the lovely Nicole Winters dropping by to answer my nosey questions and talk about her new release, The Jock and the Fat Chick. It’s a humourous and heart-warming YA novel, looking at the joys of high school (we all remember those right?)
I live in Toronto, Canada. I like YA and horror books, horror movies, and watching motorcycle road racing.
Hmm, you’re talking to the world’s biggest horror wuss here, so I’ll take your word for it 😉 Was there a specific moment where you first knew that you wanted to be a writer?
I really enjoyed movies growing up, so when I was a student at the University of Toronto, I joined Hart House’s New Filmmaker’s Club. There were roughly thirty of us at our first meeting, sitting at this huge Harry Potter dining hall style table. The other students were vying for the director’s position in the club, so while they chatted, I used the time to write my first ten-minute short film. When I finished, something just hit me. It was like a horrible cliché; it felt as if the clouds parted and a ray of sun shone down upon me. I just knew storytelling was what I wanted to do.
I remember well that wonderful eye-opening moment when it just clicks for you! Do you have a particular writing routine, or any special rituals?
Other than brewing a cup of tea with a splash of milk, I have no special rituals.
A low maintenance gal then lol? Tell us about the genre you write in, and what drew you to it.
When I was twelve, I was assigned THE OUTSIDERS and from page one I was drawn into the dark world of teens without parents who struggled to survive in a harsh reality with unbending rules. I’d read it in one day, a pretty big feat for a reluctant reader. I owe a lot to S.E. Hinton for turning me into a life-long lover of stories. I think I write in the contemporary genre because I have a wish to connect with readers the same way she did with me.
It’s a lovely wish, and I’m sure you’ll achieve it. Are there any particular authors or books that have really inspired you?
I can’t thank S.E. Hinton enough — she was 16 when she wrote it — amazing! I am super into short story collections right now (I can’t write a short story to save my life) and I’m really digging southern regional writers like Ron Rash, Luke Whisnant and Amy Willoughby-Brule. Wow, can they ever twist a phrase.
Yup, I’m with you on the not being able to write short to save my life, once my characters start there’s no reigning them in *sighs* That’s half the fun though, surely? (Just me, okay, moving on!) What five things could you never do without?
Family, friends, humor, imagination and adventure.
Good list! Tell us a bit about your new release.
THE JOCK AND THE FAT CHICK is about Kevin, a high school senior, who has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in with his friends. He keeps two secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.
As far as Kevin sees, Claire does have it all: she’s funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she’s off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn’t a cheerleader, and there’s no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that.
But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is harder than he thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….
Ooh, sounds fun! Where did your inspiration for it come from?
A friend of mine said that growing up, whenever his mom cooked, dinners consisted of two steps, a can opener and a microwave. That hit me pretty viscerally. Days later, I thought, what if I had a character who was an athlete and his mom cooked meals like that? What if he thought that he could do better, but in reality he did much worse? I know, I’ll have him eat nothing but energy bars, shakes and gels. So now I had a character who means well, but is misdirected. At the same time, I’d been reading books with plus size teen girls in them and they all seemed to be similar: depressed, bullied or the bully, or abused. It left me feeling sad and got me thinking, how can I put my food challenged hero (Kevin), and a non-depressed/bullied/abused/ plus sized character (Claire), together? The story just unfolded from there.
It does sound like a good combination, and you’re quite right there often seem a shortage of plus-size heroines who are also happy and confident in themselves. What did you find most enjoyable about writing it?
All the scenes with Kevin and Claire. They liked to laugh and I’m the same way. I also loved writing how they got in sync—mentally and physically—whenever they were cooking. I could just hear the sizzle of the food, the chopping of vegetables, the knives tapping wooden cutting boards. I loved their energy and their passion for food.
Aww, couples cooking sounds like a great step to romance. What was the hardest part about writing it?
Kevin makes terrible choices and at times his honesty and self-reflection is pretty raw, but at his core, he’s a good guy.
Who’s your favourite character in it? (I know, I know, favouritism!)
Both Kevin and Claire. Kevin because he really grows throughout his ordeal. Being fatherless, his friends serve as subconscious surrogates, but they’re not exactly ideal. I also love Claire because she’s positive, energetic and driven to succeed. Plus, I’d totally eat at whatever restaurant she owned.
Well, I’m kinda hooked already, but sum up for us… why should we run out and buy it right now?
Diversity in YA that includes #bodypositivity. Plus, it’s a sweet story.
No one ever said high school was easy. In this hilarious and heartwarming debut, one high school senior has to ask himself how much he’s willing to give up in order to fit in.
Kevin seems to have it all: he’s popular, good looking, and on his way to scoring a college hockey scholarship. However, he’s keeping two big secrets. The first is that he failed an assignment and is now forced to take the most embarrassing course ever–domestic tech. The second is that he is falling for his domestic tech classmate, Claire.
As far as Kevin is concerned, Claire does have it all: she’s funny, smart, beautiful, and confident. But she’s off-limits. Because Kevin knows what happens when someone in his group dares to date a girl who isn’t a cheerleader, and there’s no way he is going to put himself—or Claire—through that.
But steering clear of the girl of his dreams is a lot harder than Kevin thought…especially when a cooking project they are paired together for provides the perfect opportunity for things to heat up between them outside the classroom….
Sounds like a fun read, and if you’re wanting to get your mitts on it, you can buy at the following links:
You can also connect with Nicole on social media: