Monday, April 23, 2018

Geoff Herbach Author Interview

Photo Credit: Katherine Warde

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.


ISBN: 9780062453136
ISBN 10: 0062453130
Imprint: Katherine Tegen Books
On Sale: 02/20/2018
Pages: 336
List Price: 8.99 USD

Praise for HOOPER

“Lessons on small-town politics and what it means to be a good friend abound in this well-plotted work.” 

“Herbach’s ability to expand the narrative from solid game play to confronting racial injustice is remarkable. No one here is perfect, and their failures make readers cringe yet root for success. Hoops and so much more.” Kirkus Reviews

“There’s much to love in this sports tale. Fast-paced play-by-plays vividly depict the speed and beauty of the game. Adam’s backstory is heartrending and with immigrant mistrust and nonviolent protests in the national spotlight, this is a timely and realistic teen drama and swish—nothin’ but net.” School Library Journal

“This sports/school/domestic drama checks all the boxes. What could be another boilerplate basketball novel benefits from a tight cast of well developed secondary characters who surpass their expected stereotypes.” Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“Fresh, funny, thoughtful, subversive, and totally absorbing. Book of the year!” Robert Lipsyte, Margaret A. Edwards award-winning author of The Contender

“Funny, gut-wrenching, and spilling over with heart, Hooper is an uplifting breath of joy, and gives us all cause to be hopeful. I loved it!” Andrew Smith, Michael L. Printz Honor and New York Times Bestselling author of Winger and Grasshopper Jungle

“Hooper is a slam dunk! A sports novel with incredible action and tons of heart. I challenge you not to fall in love with these terrific, flawed characters, and just try to put this one down once you start. Impossible.” Bill Konigsberg, Award-Winning Author of Honestly Ben

“Raw, funny, and deeply honest, Geoff Herbach gifts us a story about the messiness of life and the importance of talking about it—ultimately showing us how to not only trudge through it, but to soar.” Gae Polisner, author of In Sight of Stars and The Memory of Things

“Author Geoff Herbach has a remarkable ability to create characters who make us laugh and think, sometimes within the same sentence. Read Hooper and let your self be changed.” John Coy, author of Gap Life

What advice would you give to someone who wanted to have a life in writing? 
I think, first, scan your feelings. Do you love to make stuff or do you love the idea of being a writer? (I have students occasionally who love what they imagine a life as a writer looks like, but actually aren’t that interested in the work!) If you love to make stuff, then really focus on your work and not on publishing. Make something great and the rest will take care of itself.

What were your inspirations for the character development? 
I taught English in Poland and had a female student who was a member of the Junior Polish National Basketball team. She sort of morphed into two characters in Hooper (both Adam and Carli). I really love basketball, but didn’t want to write a book that was only about basketball. I come from refugee families on both my mother’s and father’s sides. Adam became a representative of their stories, too.

Was there a particular event or time that you recognized that writing was not just a hobby. 
Even before I published a book, I c0-wrote a comedy show. We started packing theaters and then Al Franken showed up to be part of the show and I thought, “HOLY CATS! THIS IS HAPPENING!”

What was your unforgettable moment while writing HOOPER
There’s a big game near the end of the book. I was going to have the healing in relationships take place through that game being played beautifully. While writing the scene, it suddenly occurred to me that the best thing that could happen was for Adam to support the leadership of another player by walking off the court in protest. That would should understanding, team, loyalty, and real love. It sort of killed me. It still does. It felt like Adam made that decision for me.

Are there authors that you’re excited to engage/work with? 
I’m a big fan of Andrew Smith, Gae Polisner, Jason Reynolds, Bill Konigsberg, Janet Gurtler, etc. etc. etc. They write books that make me want to cheer.

What part of Adam did you enjoy writing the most? 
I love his family that grows during the book. I love his goofy friend Barry and the two little girls who become his sisters (they are fantasy readers and they love to fight him like he’s a dragon).

What book would you recommend for others to read? 
The book Winger sort of changed my life. It is so inventive on the line-level. The voice is so huge and the book is really emotionally moving.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
I’m writing a football concussion book that is hard (because I love football, played it…the sport shaped who I am and I still am best friends with the guys I played with). I’ve got another thing in the works with a co-writer that I can’t talk about yet!

Which character have you enjoyed getting to know while writing HOOPER
Carli is a great basketball player and she’s a really smart, wonderful person. She’s also not perfect. It was interesting to see her crumble once and not be the person she wanted to be and then to see her come back and regain her strength.

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I think Adam would like to know Quinn and Rashad from All-American Boys.

What was your favorite sitcom growing up? 
Cosby Show. So, of course, everything we’ve learned about Bill Cosby recently is really heartbreaking. He really betrayed his message and his viewers.

What is your favorite restaurant in town and why? 
Dino’s Pizza. DELISH!

What's the worst summer job you've ever had? 
I was a bus boy at Country Kitchen. You would not believe how many people do things like spit their mashed potatoes into their napkins. I gagged every day!

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? YOU ARE AN OLD MAN! Probably get some botox.

Who was your first girlfriend? 
Maureen. Fifth grade and then again in high school. She was great. Super funny and smart.

Tell me about your first kiss. 
Spin the bottle in Todd Louthain’s basement. I think it was Kim Huck? Can’t remember. My first kiss lacked any romance, but I still liked it very much.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
I protected younger kids when I was in high school. I was a football player and had some undeserved credibility just based on that fact. I really did my best to make everyone in school feel comfortable and safe.

What's your most missed memory? 
My dad died in 2010. He knew five languages, traveled all over the world, made great jokes, talked to everyone he met, man…I have thousand wonderful memories of him. I miss him dearly.

1. Shoes squeak. The pep band drummer drums. Cheerleaders cheer. The air smells like popcorn and nachos and the heat of all these people, a packed gym full of Northrup Polar Bear fans.

2. (Barry) has much style. He often wears his karate-style headband on his head and he has thick glasses that make his eyes look big and surprised and he has puffy blonde hair and a fluffy blonde mustache.

3. When he learned I was from Poland, he and a few others started to call me “The Refugee,” too. Poland is not at war, but I was still a refugee to him (and refugees are worse than regular immigrants, because maybe they are so weak they have to run away from wars where children get killed?). “Don’t breathe,” Kase Kinshaw said at his lunch table as I walked by in November. “You could catch AIDS.”

4. My nightmares are in Warsaw in a tall apartment building with a big window and black darkness outside. It is day, but the air has filled with ink from an octopus. The blackness starts to leak in through cracks in the cinderblock.

5. The heat in my heart grows stronger. I feel it burn down my arms and legs. I am different everywhere. I stick out like a sore thumb. I am the sore thumb. In Northrup, at least I as the best. But, here, I am not even the best. I am just different. Weird. Awkward. Fumbling.

6. Carli reaches her long arm out and puts her hand on the side of my face. It is warm and soft. It makes warm blood fire all over my body. “I want you to stay on the team. You and me are really good for Northrup basketball,” she says. “I don’t want to lose you.”

7. I am not the super king at post, but I am better than all the Fury other than Devin. He is a real Hakeem “The Dream” Olajuwan, patient and baiting the defense like an animal trainer who makes seals stand on their tails.

8. Carli sings Firework at the top of her voice, way off key, pointing at me, singing boom boom brighter than the moon moon, swerving all over the road. My eyes tear up and I laugh and my whole head gets hot because Carli is so beautiful and funny and smart and I can’t even handle how she makes the fireworks in my chest go boom boom (sorry, but it’s true).

9. Devin’s mouth hangs open. His eyes are so wide. Tears start to come up and run down his cheeks. “Thank you,” he whispers. “Thank you, dudes. Bring it in.” We move into a huddle. We put our hands together and hold on. “We gotta support each other like this our whole lives,” Devin says. “This time is for Khalil Williams. We will see him back on the court with us soon. Khalil on three…”

10. Barry breathes and concentrates for maybe thirty seconds before he punches, kicks, kicks, then leaps off the bent knee of a classmate high into the air and kicks through a board that is maybe seven feet off the ground (the kid is standing on a chair, holding the board at chest level). When Barry lands, everyone jumps out of their chairs and cheers and shouts. Barry is one amazing Taekwondo guy.

11. What do I know? Let what you love be your passport. Carli lobs to Tasha. But, that is not the end. Tasha lays the ball against the glass. The ball rolls around and around the rim then drops through the hoop. Now. That’s it. The end.

From Geoff Herbach, the critically acclaimed author of the Stupid Fast series, comes a compelling new YA novel about basketball, prejudice, privilege, and family, perfect for fans of Jordan Sonnenblick, Andrew Smith, and Matt de la Peña.

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.

You can purchase HOOPER at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you GEOFF HERBACH for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Signed Copy of HOOPER by Geoff Herbach.
SDAY A Dream Within A Dream TENS LIST
SDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
APRIL 27th F
APRIL 27th 
FRIDAY Diane's Book Blog EXCERPT

APRIL 30th MONDAY Wishful Endings GUEST POST
MAY 1st TUESDAY Crossroad Reviews REVIEW 
MAY 2nd WEDNESDAY Sabrina's Paranormal Palace TENS LIST 
MAY 3rd THURSDAY Casia's Corner REVIEW 
MAY 4th FRIDAY Sweet Southern Home REVIEW 
MAY 4th FRIDAY RhythmicBooktrovert REVIEW & EXCERPT


  1. Yes. Basketball was my favorite sport to play. I also played soccer and softball.

  2. No, I did not play sports when I was growing up. I lived out in the country and all the sport venues were in town. I really did not care for sports so not being able to play on a team never bothered me.

  3. Yes, I played volleyball, badminton, swimming, diving, archery, crosscountry running, ice skating, roller skating, basketball, pickup softball, dodgeball, high jump, hula hoop, modern dance, yoga, pilates, Tai Chi, cycling, downhill skiing on trails and mogul jumps, crosscountry skiing, hiking, backpacking, Zumba, Ballroom Dancing, weight lifting.