Author Feature: Monique Polak

Bullies Rule by Monique Polak
Daniel Abel is surprised when, instead of being punished for “pantsing” another eighth-grader, he is invited to become an ambassador of Mountview High at the school’s upcoming open house. What he doesn’t realize is that he is part of a social experiment on bullying being conducted by the local university. He is a little nervous to learn he will be working with Jeff Kover, a tenth-grader with a reputation for being the biggest bully in the school. Daniel has never thought of himself as a bully. He just likes kidding around. But hanging out with Jeff will change Daniel’s perspective on bullying and force him to examine his own behavior.

 

What image/scene/character did you start this book with?

I read a story in The Montréal Gazette about a research project in Arizona. Instead of being punished, the school’s bullies were given “high status positions.” That’s when the idea for Bullies Rule was born!!

What kind of research did you do for your book?

Bullies Rule by Monique Polak

I got in touch with the researchers (some of them were Canadian) behind the project. Also, because I do many school visits, I talked to students here in Montréal about bullying, and about how they would feel if bullies were given high status positions at their schools.

What’s the hardest part of writing?

Sometimes I feel like I’m juggling a lot of balls plot-wise, and I need to catch them all so that my story makes sense. Sometimes I worry that I’ll get hit in the head by one of those balls. But, I’ve been through the process quite a lot of times now — and my friends remind me, “You always feel that way when you are writing a book! And you always manage to keep juggling!!”

What’s your favorite form of procrastination?

Ha ha to that question. I’m not a procrastinator. I teach full-time, so I really work hard in order to carve out my writing time. When I have it, I use it!!

What book do you wish you wrote?

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland because it’s my favorite book EVER!

What is your favorite aspect of your new book?

I love that the bullies in my story get responsible positions. That was really fun to work with!

What is your writing ritual?

Cup of Earl Grey tea, then right to my desk.

Bullies Rule is available now.

Polak, Monique 2012Monique Polak has written many novels for young adults, including her historical novel, What World Is Left, which won the 2009 Québec Writers’ Federation Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature. When not writing award-winning books, Monique teaches English and Humanities in Montréal, Québec, where she also works as a freelance journalist. For more information, visit www.moniquepolak.com.

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