Holly Smale is a British internationally bestselling author.
She wanted to write from the age of five, when she realised that books didn’t grow on trees like apples. Her journey took her to over thirty-two countries, and included: modelling, journalism, teaching English in Japan, cocktail waitressing, PR and packing courgettes in Australia.
Holly has a BA in English Literature and an MA in Shakespeare from Bristol University, specialising in feminism and gender studies.
GEEK GIRL was her first novel, and was the number one selling teen fiction in the UK in 2013. So far, the series has sold 700,000 copies in the UK alone, extends to nine books and has been published in thirty languages.
She was an official World Book Day author in 2015, and her debut was named by Booktrust as one of the “Fifty Books That Will Change Your Life”.
When she’s not travelling, Holly lives beside the seaside in Hove, England.
Harriet’s journey is at an end. What does that feel like?
I’m an emotional casserole right now, to be honest. Exhausted, proud, satisfied, scared, disorientated, relieved, sad. I’ve given Geek Girl everything I’ve got – I’ve held nothing at all back – so I feel slightly empty and depleted and crochety, which I think is a good sign. The series has been my life for nearly a decade so it’s a little terrifying to leave it behind, but if Harriet has taught me anything it’s to be brave and keep moving forwards into the unknown, so I’m excited about the next adventure and intend to grab it with both hands.
So what happens now?
Travelling! It’s my personal “reset” button: when I’m tired it always refreshes me to experience other parts of the world and meet new people, and I feel like I should probably renew and rest my brain before I start another writing project. So in a few weeks I’m travelling around Asia for a couple of months to relax, escape the literary world and get my creative juices flowing again. Can’t wait to cuddle some pandas (I probably won’t be allowed to cuddle them but I’m going to try anyway).
Weirdest fact you came across in your writing for Geek Girl?
The Romans used to clean their teeth with urine.
Do you remember the first time you saw Geek Girl in a book shop? What did you do?
I think I had the slightly anti-climactic feeling of going into a book shop on launch day, looking for my book and realising they didn’t have it! Which is a pretty familiar feeling for a lot of new authors, I think! But the first time I saw Geek Girl on a shelf, I got a slightly surreal tingle: incredibly proud, but also a little confused. I still get that, frankly. I frequently go into shops or libraries and forget that it’s my name on the front of books!
Who’s your favourite geekish character, either in books or film/TV and why?
Lisa Simpson. Growing up with The Simpsons, it was incredibly reassuring to have this know-it-all, precocious, gobby, slightly annoying but essentially kind-hearted and kick-ass female character in mainstream media. It made it feel more okay to be an intelligent, strong, flawed, funny girl, and I’m a huge fan of everything that encourages that narrative.
Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
Believe it or not, I’m a bit of an adrenaline junky and a motorbike/scooter fanatic. I have a licence, have owned quite a few over the years and have driven across various parts of Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia and Japan. I also like fast rides, rock-climbing, scuba-diving, paragliding… Things that Harriet would absolutely hate!
Explain the difference between a geek and a nerd, using only 5 words and include the letters Q X Y:
Both oxygenize society equally, right?
I’m giving you a free platform to talk about anything – GO:
I’d like to see every single girl on the planet embracing what feminism is and means, and being given the freedom and opportunity to live an empowered, purposeful and inspirational life, no matter their background. I’d like to see the total breakdown of white patriarchy until all people are equal. And I’d like to see Trump out of office. Like, yesterday. Because it’s very difficult to fight for all human rights when the leader of the free world is leading a fight against them.
Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything?
What’s the perfect cure for a bad day?
Finally, what is the question you wish people would ask and never do?
Would you like a lifetime’s free supply of chocolate?
Luna: So, cholocate?
Holly Smale at Bath Children’s Literature Festival
Geektastic! Holly Smale Book Party (aww nostalgia ♥)
My name is Harriet Manners and I’ll be a geek forever…
Harriet Manners knows almost every fact there is.
Modelling isn’t a sure-fire route to popularity. Neither is making endless lists. The people you love don’t expect you to transform into someone else. Statistically, you are more likely to not meet your Australian ex-boyfriend in Australia than bump into him there.
So on the trip of a lifetime Down Under Harriet’s to-do lists are gone and it’s Nat’s time to shine! Yet with nearly-not-quite-boyfriend Jasper back home, Harriet’s completely unprepared to see supermodel ex Nick. Is the fashion world about to turn ugly for GEEK GIRL?
It’s time for Harriet to face the future. Time to work out where her heart lies. To learn how to let go…