Saturday, February 24, 2018

0 Geoff Herbach, author of HOOPER, on ideas coming together to create a character

We're thrilled to have Geoff Herbach join us to talk about his latest novel, HOOPER.

Geoff, what was your inspiration for writing HOOPER?

I live in a relatively small town in Minnesota. I went to the grocery store during the holidays and saw a tremendously tall kid singing Christmas Carols with his family. They were collecting donations for the Salvation Army. The poor kid was so embarrassed and dorky. I thought it would be funny if he were a great basketball player and had to change teams to a big city school to up his competition. In the next few months it became clear who the Republican nominee was going to be and I started thinking a lot about members of my family who were refugees. The two ideas came together in the character of Adam.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it? 

There's a character named Barry in the book. He's a wonderful, beautiful kid, but has came from a seriously troubled background. To protect Adam, he ends up beating up another kid. Another one of Adam's great friends, Khalil, is black. He's also a wonderful, beautiful kid. He essentially stutters when a police officer is questioning him and gets in life-altering trouble. Barry suffers from guilt. He committed a real crime. But, I realized nothing much of life-altering consequence happens to the small town white kid while the black kid gets absolutely hammered for nothing and that felt very true, and troubling. It became the key thing that moves Adam from worrying about himself to worrying about and fighting for his friends.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc? 

I am at a coffee shop right now. I haven't always worked at a coffee shop, but we have a new pup and this pup wants to hang out. She puts her big lab paw on my leg while I'm trying to type and she's really cute and I end up rolling around on the floor wrestling lab pup all day instead of getting work done. So, the new ritual: get me to the coffee shop.


by Geoff Herbach
Katherine Tegen Books
Released 2/20/2018

For Adam Reed, basketball is a passport. Adam’s basketball skills have taken him from an orphanage in Poland to a loving adoptive mother in Minnesota. When he’s tapped to play on a select AAU team along with some of the best players in the state, it just confirms that basketball is his ticket to the good life: to new friendships, to the girl of his dreams, to a better future.

But life is more complicated off the court. When an incident with the police threatens to break apart the bonds Adam’s finally formed after a lifetime of struggle, he must make an impossible choice between his new family and the sport that’s given him everything.

Purchase Hooper at Amazon
Purchase Hooper at IndieBound
View Hooper on Goodreads


Geoff Herbach is the author of the award winning Stupid Fast YA series as well as Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders. His books have been given the 2011 Cybils Award for best YA novel, the Minnesota Book Award, selected for the Junior Library Guild, listed among the year’s best by the American Library Association, the American Booksellers Association and many state library associations. In the past, he wrote the literary novel, The Miracle Letters of T. Rimberg, produced radio comedy shows and toured rock clubs telling weird stories. Geoff teaches creative writing at Minnesota State, Mankato. He lives in a log cabin with a tall wife.


Have you had a chance to read HOOPER yet? How do you decide on the key thing that changes your character? Do you write in coffee shops to avoid distractions like adorable puppies?

Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Charlotte, Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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