Thursday, January 07, 2010

Our New Bee Wendy's High School Memories!

Happy Thursday!

A little housekeeping before we get into our daily celebration of Wendy Tolliver, our new bee – the winner of last week’s Favorite Things giveaway – is HEATHER M. Please email me at heather(at) with your mailing address so I can send you delicious chocolate-orange fondue, gummy bears, and a signed copy of my book, Never Cry Werewolf.

And now – without further ado, I’m so very lucky to get to interview our brand-spanking-new Bee, Wendy Toliver! Since most of us YA authors relive the high school years on a daily basis in our writing, I thought it would be fun to dig into Wendy’s memory of her formative years.

Q: Hey, Wendy! Welcome to the Buzz Girls. To start, please tell us what kind of kid were you in HS?

A: Hmm, good question. I played basketball and soccer, sang in concert choir and school musicals, played piano, took Honors and AP classes (though art class was my favorite), and was active in my church's youth group. I had a best friend who I did everything with and was completely boy crazy. I drove a humongous and totally unglamorous Ford LTD we called the Banana Boat, and my wardrobe was pretty Gap-ish. My favorite lunch was Cheetos, a poppy seed muffin, and a raspberry New York Seltzer. I loved The Simpsons, Depeche Mode, and going to dance clubs and Nuggets basketball games.

Q: Whew—my stomach is hurting for Teenage Wendy! Tell us, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: A news anchor or a psychiatrist.

Q: As a YA author, have you used any incidents or memories from HS in your novels?

A: Not directly, but definitely as far as feelings and the daily in-and-outs of high school.

Q: Inquiring minds want to know -- did you have a secret HS crush?

A: Oh yes, many many, many crushes. And they changed almost daily, ha ha! I tended to like guys who were athletic, funny, handsome, and taller than me (I'm 5'9"). I went to a school with about 2,000 students and worked at a grocery store with a lot of other teenagers, so guys were plentiful in my life. Unfortunately, I didn't really have much reciprocation, so whenever I wanted to do something couple-ish, I resorted to having people fix me up with guys who went to different schools. I think the biggest secret crush I had was a guy named Shane who worked at the grocery store with me. He had a girlfriend, though, so I never told him.

Q: Did you have a nickname in HS?

A: Yes I did! Fergie (My last name was Ferguson before I got married) and Prancer amonst basketball team-mates (I don't know if this came from my tiny feet that looked like hooves in my basketball high-tops, or if it's because of the way I ran. Either way, kind of funny.)

Q: Who were your best friends in HS?

A: Amy Uppinghouse (in picture with Wendy at right) and Tonya Monson. I met them both in junior high and we're still close even though we went to different colleges and live in different states. Another of my best friends was Emily Bateman, who went to a different high school but we became friends way back in second grade!

Q: Do you have any regrets about your HS experience?

A: Of course I do! I don't think I was terrible to anyone, but I do remember being less than nice to a few people and I feel bad about that. Let's see, one of the major dances was a total bummer because I asked a guy-friend and he ended up being a total jerk, not even dancing with me, so I had to hang out with my friend and her boyfriend the whole night. I regret volunteering to play the piano for the school's big choir concert because the instructor yelled at me which only made my hands shake and I messed up even more. I was literally praying the entire song, just wanting to get through it. But overall, I LOVED my high school years and am so thankful to have gone to such a great one.

Q: Have you gone back to visit your HS now that you are a YA author?

A: I went there for my 10 year reunion but that was before I became an author. However, I did go back and do an author visit at my old junior high which was cool. Only a few of the teachers I had were still there and they look the same!

Q: What advice would you give kids in HS now?

A: I hate it when a teenager gets so wrapped up in her boy- or girlfriend that he/she ends up losing a part of him/herself. Think of the relationship as fun and exciting, but make sure you still make time for your friends and family.

Q: Any funny story you want to tell about HS that we haven’t already covered?

A: Once my friend Amy and I went to watch "Fiddler on the Roof" at another high school because some people we knew were in it. We brought a bag of Cheetos to munch on. Of course, food wasn't allowed in the theater but we thought we might get hungry. Then one of us dropped the bag, and it slid all the way down the sloped floor, bright orange chips scattering loudly en route to the base of the stage. I'd say we were mortified, but all I can remember is laughing and not being able to stop, yet another live-production no-no.

Thanks, Wendy! Be sure to check out Wendy’s awesome books -- The Secret Life of a Teenage Siren and Miss Match – on shelves now. And her super-cool sounding next book, Lifted will be a summer 2010 release from Simon Pulse – so keep your eyes peeled for that, too. You can read more about Wendy at

So Buzz Blog readers -- do you have any more questions about high school for Wendy? Post your question or comment on your own HS experience and you’ll be entered to win a $10 Borders gift certificate all week long!


The Clearing – April 2010 - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Never Cry Werewolf –2009 - HarperTeen


jpetroroy said...

What was your favorite song/music group in high school?

TinaFerraro said...

I have a question, too! Did you have a favorite abook or an author that you read over and over in high school?

Llehn said...

What was your best / worst subject in HS?

Marley Gibson said...

LOVE the pictures! Awesome! You look so serious in that basketball game. Hee hee. My question is how 80s is that hair? (ducking)

Wendy Toliver said...

jpetroroy, my favorite groups in high school were Depeche Mode, The Dead Milkmen, Fishbone, Bob Marley, and Madonna, to name a few.

Tina, I'm not much of a "read over and over" type of person, but I do remember loving almost everything written by Oscar Wilde and Charles Dickens and The Outsiders.

Llehn, my favorite subject was art and my worst subject was Geography. to this day, I can barely tell you where all the states fit on the US map!

Marley, yes, I was all into big hair and ponytails. I had bangs that I had to curl and spray every day. I always say I should've been a teen in the 70s b/c I was tall and thin and had (have) very straight long hair. :)

Anna R said...

This was the best interview ever. Wendy is my BFF and I guess I am a pain in the A** asking her so many questions and keeping her from her writing. But we never talked about a lot of her HS days. Her books are such magic because she thinks and talks like we do- we being from 15 to me now almost 18. Even some older friends of my grandpa love her books. I can see how Wendy would be a great psychiatrist. She is so kind and supportive. She knows more about me than anyone except maybe my shrinkette- no Wendy knows more.
She has gone with me through a number of near misses so far as boys are concerned- so I know a bunch I think about her dating life or boy crazy time. And she taught me patience. Whatever, the boyz at her HS must have been so lame not to see Wendy as she is- gorgeous and brilliant and funny and perfect.
Mostly Wendy and I talk about her boys and Husband “M” and pets and weather and boat and snow boarding and living in a deep freeze zone and cooking and all that stuff. Wendy makes the best Chocolate Chip Cookies in the known and un-known Universe. Wendy encourages my writing. Before Wendy I only wrote my poetry. She has me working on a book and some other writing.. She has the most complete collection of my poetry- I guess more than I have saved for my own collection.
Wendy takes my mind off a lot of things I don’t want to think about. She lifts me up- every day.
I am a better gurl because of my friendship with Wendy. U guys are lucky to have her in ur group of BEE’s. I have gotten to know Marley a little and Tina a lot. If U all are like them if U ever have a gathering set aside Bail money, hehe.

stephhale said...

I love Anna's comment! What a wonderful friend. ;)
Wendy, I had forgotten all about NY seltzer. I used to love that stuff. Great interview!

Heather Davis said...

Thanks for answering all these questions, Wendy!

Wendy Toliver said...

oh my goodness, Anna! How incredibly sweet! I'm lucky to have you in my life too, hon.

And Steph, I wish they still made NY Seltzers. Yum!

Heather, it's my pleasure! Thanks for putting together such a fun interview.

Amanda Villagómez said...

It is always fun to hear about high school days! Were there any funny weekend passtimes that you remember?

Wendy Toliver said...

Hey Mrs V! Let's see ... we used to go to this big warehouse where old folks went to play Bingo. I never got Bingo, though. We also thought it was fun to go to tennis matches and actually cheer -- loudly -- for ppl we didn't even know. And, of course, cow tipping, ice blocking, and camping trips where we brought sleds to go on the dirt hills. ;)

Llehn said...

OMG Wendy! Tell me about Geography! I have the same problem fitting the US states in the map as well!

Jessy said...

Wendy, what position did you play in basketball? Do you still play?

Unknown said...

Did you have any idea in high school that you would end up writing books?

Wendy Toliver said...

Llehn, oh no! I think maybe high schools need to offer special geography classes for ppl like us. LOL

Jessy, I played center and forward. I played in elem, middle, and high schools, and then club bball in college. I rarely play anymore, but I do like to shoot hoops with my boys in the driveway and I got to be an assistant coach for little boys last season. Still waiting to hear if I'm coaching again this year. Do you play?

And Megan, I've always liked writing (and reading) but no, I was an old lady before writing a novel ever crossed my mind. :)

The Golfing Librarian said...

You mention College -- which one did you attend and what was you major?

Wendy Toliver said...

Hey Golfing Librarian! Thanks for stopping by. I went to Colorado State University and my major was Speech Communication/Broadcast.