I’m delighted to invite you all to read my stop on the REV Girl blog tour! Leigh Hutton, the author and real life Rev Girl has kindly taken the time to answer my questions about writing, reading and motorcycle racing. I’ve also shared my review at the end of this post.
Rev Girl is based on a true story. How much of Clover’s story is autobiographical and how much is fiction?
Once you’ve read REV GIRL, and read my bio at the back of the book, you should have a pretty good idea 😉 I can say that there are scenes in the book that have happened to me in real life. The whole story is based on my experiences and the people I’ve met along the way. Although the story and the characters are fictional, I’ve had the feedback that it feels very real to read, and I suppose this is partly because the story is inspired by truth. It’s very important to me that my writing is real and feels real – I think this helps the reader connect.
I read that you have studied as a journalist and worked in media and public relations promoting Enduro and motocross. Was it hard for you switching from non-fiction to writing a novel?
It was actually – fantastic question, Kate! It was incredibly difficult for me to develop REV GIRL into a work of fiction and not have it read the same as my story. Taking a course through the Queensland Writer’s Centre helped tremendously. They had us do a few simple exercises to help us unlock our imaginations, which I needed after focusing on facts and strict truth for several years as a journalist. It came so much easier to me while writing my second manuscript, JUMP GIRL, which is based on the sport of horse show-jumping (my sister and I jumped horses before I got into motorbikes as a teenager).
Has writing a novel always something you wanted to do?
I always loved to write and read a lot throughout my childhood, but as a teenager I was led away from my love of writing and reading. Partying and boys were a bit of a distraction for me, I’m afraid – I wish I’d read more, and found a book to really snare my attention. It’s one of my main reasons for writing REV GIRL – to give young girls a fresh story and strong lead character that they’ll hopefully love to read! I re-discovered my passion for reading and writing in my late teens and it was my father who gave me the confidence to start writing a book.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Read. Watch movies and TV. Play with my kiddies, hit the mall and of course go for a ride 🙂
Do you read much? Who are your favourite authors?
Yes, I love to read and I think it’s crucial for any aspiring author to also have a passion for reading other people’s work. I gained so much inspiration from my favourite books and series, from The Hunger Games, to The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo, The Luxe novels, everything by Maureen McCarthy, Jane Eyre, Serena by Ron Rash and of course The Rutshire Chronicles, by Jilly Cooper. Jilly’s books really are my first love when it comes to reading and they played a huge part in the creation of REV GIRL and The Go Girls Chronicles. Cooper’s novels are all stand lone, blockbuster stories featuring strong and intriguing characters and set in a sporting arena or other interesting and conflct-driven setting. Riders, her first novel, is set in the glamorous world of international show jumping, for example. Each book features a fresh protagonist but the favourite characters always reappear. The Go Girls Chronicles are similar in the sense that each story is stand alone, but they are all connected by the theme of action sport and the favourite characters do tend to reappear
The next book in the Go Girls Chronicles, Jump Girl, is set to be released early 2015. In a few words, would you be able to tell us a little of what to expect?
I’d have to say that the darker side of my imagination took over a little bit while writing this book, which I find exciting. It’s Cinderella meets Black Beauty meets contemporary romance and set in the thrilling, real-life scene of international show jumping.There’s a great synopsis and teaser at the back of REV GIRL…
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Write. Read. Repeat. This is a great one. Also, you can’t edit a blank page, so sit down and get writing. Expect that your first draft will be crap, and then edit and re-write the crap out of it.
Do you have anything specific you would like to say to your readers?
Thank you! I appreciate each and every person who reads REV GIRL and takes an interest in my books. I really hope you enjoy it. Please post on the Facebook page and Goodreads to let us know what you think 🙂
How can readers discover more about you and you work? (Blog, twitter, Facebook, and also links to where they can buy your book)
Books are shipped globally with great rates for every continent and can be purchased from www.leighhuttonbooks.com Please ‘Like’ the revgirlbook Facebook page and subscribe to www.leighhuttonbooks.com to keep up-to-date with all our news. We like to think of the website and Facebook as a hub or a home for all girls who love action sports and reading in general. Somewhere we can connect and share our stories and passions. We’re also on Twitter, Instagram and Goodreads.
One last question, I’d love to know what you like most about being a real life REV Girl!
Thanks so much to Kate for the great interview and for having me 🙂
Thanks Leigh for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my questions. I had a great time checking out your incredible launch event and wish you and REV Girl the very best!
Rev Girl by Leigh Hutton
Series: The Go Girls Chronicles #1
Also in this series: Jump Girl
on 24th May 2014
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •
Inspired by a true story
It's hard to be the new girl, but it’s even harder being the new girl who races dirt bikes . . .
Ever since her parents forced her to move from Canada to Silvertown, Colorado, Clover Kassedy hasn’t fit in. So how do you deal when everyone hates you?
Focusing all her energy on racing her motorcycle did it for a while, but now that Clover’s managed to find a bestie and a boyfriend, the pressure on the sixteen-year-old is worse than ever.
She’s determined to get to the World Championships, where she could finally meet her idol – an Australian, the World Champion – and have a shot at becoming a professional dirt bike racer. But with her super- competitive dad, workaholic mother and relentless bullies at races and at high school, Clover is struggling to make her dreams a reality.
Will it be her scheming ex-best-friend who shatters her world? Or will she let her ‘perfect’ boyfriend – the guy who has finally made her feel like she belongs in their school and their town – stop her from becoming an international racing star?
Clover Kassedy has never truly felt like she belonged. As a Canadian transplant in Colorado, she doesn’t quite fit in. Add to that she has never been to a party, would rather spend her spare time racing her motorcycle all over the countryside and is more comfortable in sweats than skirts – Clover is different from most sixteen year olds.
When Clover’s racing season ends, she decides to try to have a go at achieving the social scene most girls her age take for granted. Exchanging the boots for heels and taking fashion advice from her best friend Sera, Clover tries to forget about racing and focuses on other things life has to offer when you are young – parties, fashion and boys.
With new friends, gorgeous new boyfriend Dallas and popularity within her reach, Clover finally feels as if she fits in. But when she gets another opportunity to further her racing career, Clover is at a crossroads. She has to choose between the sport which has always been there for her or the feeling of belonging she’s always wanted.
I don’t know a lot about competitive motorcycling but no knowledge of anything sporty is required to enjoy REV Girl. Clover is a little confused over her life. Her mother is less than supportive of her love of racing and being an outsider at school is never easy. She doesn’t always make the right choices but her mistakes are believable and understandable. When she gets the chance to compete for a place in the Olympics of Enduro racing, it seems like a dream come true. But Dallas is her new dream and one which brings social acceptance. Life vs. Love is never an easy choice but I admired how Clover approached it. She did seem to properly weigh up both sides of the equation and decide with an open mind.
My favourite thing about this novel – apart from learning just how physically and mentally gruelling racing can be – were the messages delivered. Self-acceptance, finding your passion and the idea of trying something because if you don’t there is no chance you will succeed. Clover grows so much throughout this book. She gains valuable insight into herself but also those around her.
This is very much Clover’s story with all of the action revolving around her – which makes sense. But I would have preferred if we got to see a little more about some of the supporting characters. Clover’s sister Jasmine is not very present and I think one of the climaxes of the novel would have been a little stronger had we seen a little more of Sera’s problems. All that said, there is a lot of story squeezed into these 288 pages and I think Leigh did a great job.
I enjoyed Rev Girl and loved being able to have a sneak peek into the life of female motorcycle racing. I was never really aware of this world before and enjoyed getting to see one version of what it is like. Clover is a great character to drive the story and introduce me to the sport.