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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Interview: Kim Harrington, author of Revenge of the Red Club

I'm thrilled to have author Kim Harrington stopping by today to discuss her new middle-grade book, Revenge Of The Red Club...

Revenge of the Red Club 
By Kim Harrington 

A tween reporter discovers an important and beloved club at school is being shut down—and uses the power of the pen to try and activate some much-needed social change in this period-positive and empowering middle grade novel about the importance of standing up for what you believe in. 

Riley Dunne loves being a member of the Red Club. It’s more than a group of girls supporting each other through Aunt Flo’s ups and downs; it’s a Hawking Middle School tradition. The club’s secret locker has an emergency stash of supplies, and the girls are always willing to lend an ear, a shoulder, or an old pair of sweatpants. 

But when the school administration shuts the Red Club down because of complaints, the girls are stunned. Who would do that to them? The girls’ shock quickly turns into anger, and then they decide to get even. 

But wallpapering the gym with maxi pads and making tampon crafts in art class won’t bring their club back. Only Riley can do that. Using the skills she has cultivated as her school paper’s top investigative reporter (okay, only investigative reporter), she digs for the truth about who shut the club down and why. All the while dealing with friendship drama, a new and ridiculous dress code, and a support group that is now more focused on fighting with each other than fighting back. 

Can she save the Red Club before this rebellion turns into a full-scale war? 

Q1. What three words best describe your book, Revenge of the Red Club? 

Periods. Heart. Mayhem. 

Q2. Grab a copy of Revenge of the Red Club and answer the following: 

Favorite chapter? Chapter 17. It was one of the first scenes I pictured in my head when I came up with the idea for the book. 

Favorite page? 222. I still tear up reading it. 

Favorite setting? The school dance. 

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentence teaser:  
I smiled as I looked at the numbers I’d written down. It was time to introduce the new girl to the Red Club. 

Q3. Tell us a bit about your character Riley? What do you love about her? 

Oh, I love Riley. She’s a loyal friend with a great sense of humor. She’s an investigative reporter for the school newspaper. And while she sometimes gets in trouble, it’s always for the right reasons. And I love how she deals with the difficult dynamics in her relationship with her mother (which was interesting to explore!) and how they eventually led to change. 

Q4. Why did you choose to write about periods? Did you come across any difficulties of pushback when exploring this topic for a middle-grade lit audience? 

I basically wrote the book that I wish had existed for me when I was that age. There’s not a lot of period talk in middle grade literature (though it’s getting better!), and I feel that it’s important to lift the stigma. And I was so happy that Aladdin went all out with the cover—not hiding what it’s about. In fact, they put tampons on the cover! 

Q5. What advice would you give or resources would you recommend to young girls and boys who are experiencing the world of menstruation for the first time? 

Don’t buy into the stigma to feel ashamed over something your body is doing that’s normal. Talk about your feelings with an adult or your friends. And find humor in it! As anyone who reads my books knows, I use humor to deal with everything.  

Q6. The Red Club feels like a great sisterhood of girls supporting each you have any favorite pop culture sisterhoods, girl squads, or female friendships? 

Is it weird if I say The Golden Girls? These friends couldn’t be more different, and they love to burn each other with sarcastic jokes. But when anything goes down, they have each other’s back. They are the OG girl squad, in my opinion. 

Q7. Fill in the blanks: 

I’m really awesome at cracking jokes. 

I’m really embarrassed to admihow often I leave the house. (I’m a homebody, okay! Lol) 

The last great book I read was The Winters by Lisa Gabriele. I loved Rebecca as a teenager, and this is a great, modern retelling. 

Q8. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Revenge of the Red Club, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it? 

It would be red velvet, of course! I’d call it…Revenge Tastes Sweet. 😊  

Kim Harrington is the author of Clarity (a 2012 ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers), Perception, The Dead and Buried, and Forget Me for teens and the Sleuth or Dare and Gamer Squad series for younger readers. She lives in Massachusetts with her husband and son. When not writing, she’s most likely reading, watching one of her favorite TV shows, or fantasizing about her next vacation. Her next release, REVENGE OF THE RED CLUB, is coming from Aladdin/Simon & Schuster on October 22, 2019. 

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