I’m proud to be a part of the Kick Ass Girls of YA Blog Hop today. Even though I’m a male young adult author, I see the incredible value of these novels for not only girls but for boys as well. I can speak from experience.
When I started reading and studying YA novels, I found myself understanding the opposite sex a little bit more and being able to understand how women and young girls see the world. It’s been an amazing education. But I’m not here to say that I now understand everything about women because that would be a total lie. However, I wish I had the knowledge I have now when I was a younger man because it would have helped me understand that girls were not this strange creatures with alien-type brains…but they were more like me than I could ever imagine.
My post for this wonderful event is a fictitious media article written about one of my kick-ass girls of YA Samantha Sutton, a girl race car driver with big dreams and the talent to make them happen. I hope you enjoy it.
Excerpt from the magazine article A Girl and Her Race Car by Emma Hobbs, Berlin
fashion editor, Smashing Magazine.
The Berlin traffic snakes along the Strattenstrasse, past a small café named the Tiny Goose. The early afternoon sun casts a shadow across my wood table, courtesy of the large awning in front of the café itself. A gentle breeze plays with the leafs of the flowers that add color to my table as a place setting.
I’m here to meet Samantha Sutton, a young woman of only eighteen years who races cars in that macho-infused sport known as Formula One, a glamorous world of men and their expensive toys traveling the world to race cars in between the party-like atmosphere of the international jet-set. The sport draws royalty, the ultra-rich, and Hollywood celebrities like moths to bright light. But inside this testosterone-laced world Samantha Sutton is quite unique. No, it’s not the obvious fact that she’s the only girl racing in Formula One. It’s the surprising fact that she’s beating all the boys in Formula One. With six race wins on her record, all within her rookie year, Samantha Sutton proved that not only can woman compete equally in the sport. They can win.
Samantha arrives late to our appointment wearing a short white skirt and matching shirt which lists her racing team’s sponsors. Her short dark hair appears slightly damp, as if still drying from a quick trip to the shower.
“Jeez. I’m so sorry. My other thing ran late and I was rushing to get ready for this. Huge apologies, Emma, seriously.” Samantha glances over to her assistant, a girl who appears just as young as her. “Do you want anything?”
Samantha orders two coffees and a piece of cake in German, flavoring it with a slight Bavarian accent. We talk as we wait for their coffee. Samantha remarks about how busy her life has become since her first season in Formula One.
“Last season everyone ignored me until half-way through when I began winning races. Now it’s like, non-stop. It’s completely crazy with all the parties, fan events, sponsor events, racing the car, my love life —” The girl stops herself abruptly. What about her love life? It causes me to wonder if a teen girl who is forced to grow up so fast can find time for boys. Maybe not.
When Samantha gets her coffee, we begin the official interview.
“Why auto racing?” I ask. “What excites you about the sport, Samantha?
“It’s the rush of adrenaline I get from being on the circuit. Making the car dance around the turns and do what I want. It’s like standing on a mountain cliff and holding your foot over the drop, knowing that you could die if you took that last step. But for some reason, you know that you can hold it there on that edge and somehow not fall.”
“Is it safe to say you love taking risks?”
“Not on purpose,” she says. “Not if it means someone else might get hurt. But I can be impulsive sometimes and that’s where I get into trouble.”
“The pressure to win and be successful must be enormous,” I say. “How do you cope?”
“I eat tons of chocolate ice cream,” she grins. “Just kidding. Um—I try to push all the negative thoughts away and focus on what I can do in the race car. Everything else I don’t have control over and I have to keep telling myself that. But I’d be lying if I said there were days the pressure didn’t get to me.” Samantha hesitates and takes a sip of her coffee. Her thoughts lingering on the last portion of her answer.
“Does your family travel with you during the season?” I ask.
“Well, my sister Paige is here this season.” Samantha references her assistant. “But the rest of my family are still in Oklahoma. They have their own lives.”
I swirl what’s left of my cup of tea and drink, the strong, tangy flavor reminds of the girl sitting across the table. Even in this relaxed atmosphere there’s a burning determination in her eyes. A fire or this relentless energy percolating behind them.
“Samantha, when did you first know that this is what you wanted to do with your life?”
“My dad got me started racing karts when I was ten. He already loved racing and I think he was disappointed that he had three daughters. Not to say that my dad didn’t absolutely love us, because he always did. But growing up, none of us were particularity interested in racing.” Samantha’s face brightened, as if reliving that moment in her life again. “Then one day my dad was watching one of his favorite racing movies called, Grand Prix. That day I was so bored I jumped on the couch and watched it with him. Something about that movie attracted me to racing and from then on, I would spend more and more time with dad in his make-shift garage he had in the barn.”
Samantha hesitated again, her eyes danced a bit in her head, as if the memories of her father were flashing vividly through the girl’s head. “Dad built me a racing kart and encouraged me to try it. I was extremely shy back then and I didn’t have any confidence in myself at all. But when I drove that kart, I felt alive and free. And I picked up on racing fast. Dad taught me how to drive and eventually he entered me in races. And I started to win a lot of them. Seriously, the boys would hate it when I showed up at the track. They didn’t want to race against me. I loved it. I knew that I wanted to do this forever because I loved how racing made me feel. I didn’t feel like that shy girl no one would pay attention to. Behind the wheel of a race car, I was someone special. People couldn’t ignore me. Plus I could feel good about myself.” She glances up. “Am I rambling too much? I have a tendency to do that when I’m nervous.”
I asked Samantha a few more questions about her father. Samantha fidgeted in her chair and acted uncomfortable around the subject which I found odd since she talked about her father so fondly before. There was something about him she was hiding and I didn’t quite know what it was.
A young man walked off the street and into the Tiny Goose café. Samantha’s sister Paige greeted the boy warmly and sat with him at the table adjacent to us. He wore his blond hair long and had a handsomely meek way about him. The young man smiled at Samantha. The girl I was interviewing brightened like a fire doused with petrol. Her body language changed immediately. She gave the boy a wave and couldn’t take her eyes off of him. When I asked Samantha a question about dealing with her fans, she gave me a less than satisfactory answer. So I decided to confront the disturbance to our interview.
I held out my hand to the young man. “Emma Hobbs. Smashing Magazine. What is your name?”
The boy shakes my hand. “Manfred. Pleasure to meet you.”
A hunch entered my mind and I decided to follow it. “Please excuse my forwardness, but are you Samantha’s boyfriend by chance?”
Manny blushed like a rose and became unable to answer me with words. Samantha emulated her bashful friend. The girl flashed a smile reserved for close friends sharing an inside joke or thought. “Well? Are you my boyfriend?”
Manfred smiled. “I don’t know. Are you my girlfriend?”
The girl and the boy stared at each other. Obviously having a conversation in their own silent language that no one else was invited to join.
Paige, the third wheel in this relationship, rolled her eyes. “Oh my God. Stop being such dorks. This reporter isn’t stupid. Yes, of course they’re together. Can’t you see my sister panting like a dog when he’s around?”
Samantha leaned over and whacked her sister across the arm. No doubt a leftover response from when they were children. “I don’t pant like a dog.” Samantha sat up in her chair and went back into professional mode. “I’m sorry, Emma. Let’s get back to the interview. Manfred—let’s say that he’s an important part of my racing life.” She flicks her eyes toward the young man. “I wouldn’t still be here if it wasn’t for him.” I tried digging deeper into that statement. But Samantha refused to reveal anything more.
As I concluded our interview with a few questions about how she saw her future, Samantha relaxed as she sensed the end of our interview was soon at hand. She’s a pleasant young lady, but giving interviews to reporters wasn’t on her list of favorite activities to do on a warm Saturday afternoon in Berlin. I couldn’t blame her. I was eighteen once. Even though the race car driver facing me treated our interview like a professional, the girl underneath the helmet and racing suit still wanted to be with her boy. Still wanted a taste of being young and in love on the warm streets of Berlin. She still longed to be a normal teenager.
But the one question I didn’t get answered was…after all she’s been through, could the racing star Samantha Sutton ever be a normal girl again?
YA Author Libby Heily is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway of three kick ass YA ebook titles of your choosing! But hurry, the giveaway expires on Thursday.