Interview With 2019 Debut Carrie S. Allen!

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
Last year, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Carrie S. Allen and her novel MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Carrie on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

About Carrie! 
Carrie  S. Allen
Carrie Allen is a Colorado girl who wears flip-flops year-round and never skips dessert. She is retired from sports medicine, and extra-tired from chasing around two kids and two dogs. She writes contemporary YA about girls who kick butt in sports.
Keep up with Carrie: Website / Twitter / Goodreads 


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Carrie: Thank you! And it is surreal. One minute, you're marveling at your name on this gorgeous cover; the next minute, your five-year-old reminds you it's lunchtime and she's hungry. It's this unbelievable thing that is somehow happening in the middle of your normal life.
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what is the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Carrie: I LOVE DRAFTING. I can bang out 70K in a month and a half -- and have a blast doing it. I'm a total pantser, so I start with a premise and a direction to go and a few main points, and then I get to live this journey with my characters. It's amazing. BUT. Then there are revisions. Those are definitely less amazing.
The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS?
Carrie: My first hockey manuscript (unpublished, but it got me my agent) was actually the opposite premise: a girl who had played with the guys her whole life and struggled to transition into playing with girls. It was a fun concept to explore -- one that's not uncommon in hockey -- and I had so much fun writing it that as soon as I was finished, I knew I would write a second hockey book. But I'd only told half the story with that manuscript. The easy half. Every girl who has played the sport will tell you that there are some amazing boys/men in it...and some not-so-amazing males. I wanted to support the girls who step into Michigan's skates every day. Because they exist; I've known them, I've been them. I've been flashed, spied on in the locker room, had slurs hurled at me on the ice. You take it, because you want to play. 

The Book Bratz: This book deals a lot with hazing and assault. What made you want to explore this tough topic?
CarrieIt wasn't until after I finished the book that I realized I'd written a book about hazing and assault. I just started with the basics that every hockey girl understands; the isolation of changing in the broom closet, the slurs on and off the ice, the "boys will be boys" behavior we're unfortunately so used to. And -- pantser, remember! -- I let it grow organically from there. Because this is what happens. This is how hazing and assault happens. Every time you put up with an action, the next action must grow to achieve a new level of response. So, no, I didn't start out with the intention of exploring this topic, but like in real life, it's all too easy to end up there.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?  
Carrie: Favorite is easy. I adore Trenton and Michigan's relationship. It was surprisingly fun to write an eighth grade boy and how he irritates his big sister but looks up to her. Hardest was probably Michigan's coach. Because he is SUCH an asshole (can I say that here?? It's OK to "bleep" me!) that sometimes I'd think, "no one is going to believe this". And then I'd hop on Twitter and see what's happening in the sports world and say, "Actually, Coach Henson's looking pretty tame. Wonder if I should rough him up a bit?"

The Book Bratz: What do you hope readers will take away from reading MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS?
Carrie:If you're an athlete -- if you're Michigan -- keep yourself safe. Call out the d-bags, guide the allies, and don't be afraid to go next-level for backup when you need it. On the days it's hard, when you feel alone in the broom closet, remember that you have a sisterhood, even if you've never met us. We're pulling for you. If you don't consider yourself a sports fan, then I hope Michigan has given you a new perspective. When I say sports, most people picture an entitled millionaire boy running around on a court or a field. A bunch of dudes on TV discussing how much more they know than you. Or maybe they picture that old high school stereotype, the Homecoming King golden boy hero who gave wedgies in the hallway and leered at the girls. Ugh, no thanks. Don't like sports? Picture this: two sisters wearing Olympic hockey uniforms for two different countries. Serena's badass catsuit. A World Cup ski podium and all three medalists are sisters. Former hockey rivals from the US and Canada, walking down the aisle in white gowns at their wedding. Picture women who, during the day, wear police badges, lab coats, blazers and heels. At night, they trade those uniforms for skates and professional jerseys. These are women who stay late to sign sticks for every girl in line, even though they have to be up early for their "real job". These are the athletes I want to read about, cheer for, and support. And, bonus! They're also fantastic to watch! 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS in the future, or do you have other projects in mind? Can you tell us about any of them?
Carrie: I always knew this book was a standalone-- I actually cried during the last MICHIGAN edits, because I was so sad to leave my girl. But I'm always writing badass women in sports. Hopefully I'll get to introduce you all to more hockey players, some skiers, snowboarders, softball players, wrestlers... the list goes on and on. I have no dearth of inspiration because we are in an amazing time where women are breaking barriers left and right. 



Title: Michigan vs. the Boys
Author: Carrie S. Allen
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2019 

Summary: When a determined girl is confronted with the culture of toxic masculinity, it's time to even the score. Michigan Manning lives for hockey, and this is her year to shine. That is, until she gets some crushing news: budget cuts will keep the girls' hockey team off the ice this year. If she wants colleges to notice her, Michigan has to find a way to play. Luckily, there's still one team left in town...The boys' team isn't exactly welcoming, but Michigan's prepared to prove herself. She plays some of the best hockey of her life, in fact, all while putting up with changing in the broom closet, constant trash talk and "harmless" pranks that always seem to target her. But once hazing crosses the line into assault, Michigan must weigh the consequences of speaking up - even if it means putting her future on the line.

Thank you so much to Carrie for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about MICHIGAN VS. THE BOYS and can't wait for it to be out in the world on October 1st

happy chris pratt GIF

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