Julie has long been a friend of the Playground! Which is why we're so excited to have her back today to celebrate the release of her newest book, Girl from Mars. Please give Julie a warm Playground welcome.
Chic or Geek?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret.
You may think that I’m a glamorous romance writer who lives her life making up stories about rock stars, male models and celebrity chefs. Effortlessly hip, always looking good, forever able to toss out a quick and witty line in any situation, without even breaking stride in my Jimmy Choos.
Nope. I’m a total geek.
I’m here to tell you that I spent large chunks of my teenagerdom, perfectly good days when the sun was shining outside, playing Dungeons and Dragons in a shed. I have been known to put on a sheet and run around with homemade magic wand. In high school, I wore oversized men’s clothing that I found in charity shops. I had pink hair and I could quote any page you liked from The Complete Sherlock Holmes or The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. When I met my husband-to-be, I was wearing purple Doc Martin boots with day-glo laces and a denim jacket I’d hand-painted with gremlins and which was so desperately ugly and uncool that, as soon as we were a couple, he urged me to burn it.
And I’m proud!
A lot of chick-lit type books are written about women who are fashion buyers, or executive PAs, or have high-flying and aspirational lifestyles, who hoard shoes and read magazines and are generally, well—chicks. I wanted to write a book about geeks. People who grew up like me, who wouldn’t know “hip” if Mick Jagger gave them the bump, who always had the wrong hairstyle and felt like everyone else knew a secret they didn’t.
That’s why I loved writing Girl from Mars. The heroine, Philomena Desdemona Brown (Fil for short) is a total geek. She’s an artist for long-running (and poorly-selling) comic Girl from Mars, and she spends all her time drawing or hanging out with her three geeky male friends, arguing about Star Trek and The X Files. She’s got two pairs of shoes and both of them are sneakers. She hasn’t worn a dress since she was about six and she thinks the word “date” is a synonym for “slowly having your fingernails ripped out.” I absolutely love her.
But she still has the same dilemmas every chick-lit heroine—every woman—has. About her job, about her friendships, about her family, about her self-image, about falling in love. These things are universal, no matter what shoes a heroine wears.
And it’s my deep-seated belief that geeks turn out to be the coolest people anyway. Being an outsider in some ways can make you understand what it’s like to be an outsider in other ways. It can give you compassion and focus you on what’s important in life. It ain’t shoes. It ain’t Star Trek either. It’s people.
Go on, tell me: are you chic, or are you geek? Reveal your deepest geeky (or chic-y) secret to me in the comments, and I’ll choose the best one to win a signed copy of Girl from Mars, and some extremely non-fashionable space age day-glo bracelets.
Girl from Mars is published TODAY (11 June) by Little Black Dress books. Julie’s website: http://www.julie-cohen.com/
Link to buy Girl from Mars from The Book Depository (free worldwide shipping!): http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9780755341399/Girl-from-Mars
Link to buy GfM from Amazon.co.uk: