Greetings or as we say in the deep South, “Hey, y’all.” I’m Toni Lee Wells, the main character in Girl Meets Class by Karin Gillespie. In honor of her publication day, I’ll be interviewing the author.
Toni Lee: Karin describes me as a wild and spoiled Southern belle who spends her nights roaming the streets of Rose Hill, Georgia. Not a flattering description, but I won’t hold it against her. And in order to give readers a visual, Karin Gillespie is a haggard woman in advanced middle-age, who wears a size twelve—
Karin: I’m a size six.
Toni Lee: And she’s also prone to wild exaggerations and even bold-face lies. Especially about me. In fact, Karin, you had the gall to suggest I have a drinking problem.
Karin: The story opens with you being taken to the drunk tank—your second trip—and when you get bailed out, you go home and guzzle Marilyn Merlot.
Karin: The glass was a brandy snifter the size of your head.
Toni Lee: Moving on. What inspired you to write this contrived and outrageous story?
Karin: I taught an inner-city school for ten years, and wanted to capture what it’s like for a privileged and inexperienced young woman to blunder into such challenging situation.
Toni Lee: Maybe you blundered. I, on the other hand, flourished under extremely stressful circumstances.
Karin: You drove your Porsche to school on the first day.
Toni Lee: An innocent mistake.
Karin: You let your students play video games for most of their class periods.
Toni Lee: That’s because whenever I tried to teach them they would chant, “Let’s get krunk!”
Karin: Is it possible you gave up too easily?
Toni Lee: Why don’t we discuss Carl, my work colleague and love interest who’s extremely talented in the boudoir? Yet, in the novel, there are only two skimpily written sex scenes. Why make such a foolhardy choice? Aren’t you aware of the runaway success of Fifty Shades of Grey?
Karin: Carl’s function in the novel is not to titillate, but to contribute to your story arc. He’s an inspiring teacher and you’ve led him to believe that you’re in his league. But the truth is, he’s Sidney Portier in To Sir With Love and you’re Cameron Diaz in Bad Teacher.
Toni Lee: I’ll give you that. But did it ever occur to you that my bad teaching was due, in part, to sexual frustration?
Karin: Maybe. But to be fair, you were also over your head. You didn’t get support from the school administration, and, of course, you also harbor a disturbing secret from your childhood, which drags you down.
Toni Lee: I refuse to talk about that.
Karin: You do realize your secret’s revealed at the end.
Toni Lee: Gasp. Is there nothing sacred?
Karin: I thought you read the novel.
Toni Lee: Mostly I skimmed for the sex scenes. Besides I prefer horror movies to novels. They put life’s problems in their proper perspective. I might have my troubles but at least a chainsaw-wielding maniac isn’t chasing me. In fact, if I was a shrink and one of my patients was having a meltdown, do you know what advice I’d give?
Karin: Watch Evil Dead 2 and call me in the morning.
Toni Lee: You know me too well. And dear readers, I encourage you to check out Girl Meets Class, keeping in mind that Karin is prone to hyperbole, particularly when it comes to my shortcomings. (And if you have any sense of propriety you will kindly skip over the scene where my very personal secret is revealed.) Last question, Karin? How much does this not-so-torrid tome cost?
Karin: It’s $2.99 at any of your favorite e-book retailers. It’s also available in paperback for a bit more.
Toni Lee: Surely you’ve misplaced that decimal. My life story can’t be that cheap.
Karin: It is. And don’t call me Shirley.
Toni Lee: Well, one hopes the level of humor in Girl Meets Class is more sophisticated than the content of this interview. As for the paltry price, I have at least ten times that amount under the cushions of my Queen Anne sofa. I trust that you do too, and you might want to throw some filthy lucre Karin’s way. (Psst. She gets her hair cut at Great Clips and you can totally tell.)