Thursday, January 19, 2012

Memories of High School You - Lisa Ann Chickos

As a young adult writer, the foundation for most of my writing starts with my own teenage experience.  Times, fashion and music have changed but that overall quest-for-self is still the same.  So in that spirt, I share these bi-monthly interviews:  Memories of High School You.  Fellow MG and YA authors will share their own spin on the hallowed halls.  If you're interested in participating just drop me a line in the comments.

This week I'm pleased to introduce Lisa Ann Chickos. I think I first met Lisa Ann during a summer blogfest. I immediately knew I'd found a kindred spirt when I visited her blog Kicked, Cornered, Bitten and Chased. Not only is Lisa a writer, but she's an animal trainer and does a great weekly blog post called "Wildlife Wednesday." She is represented by Jamie Brenner of Moveable Type Management and I look forward to one day reading her books.

Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location? I attended Bay High School of Panama City, FL. It was a medium-sized public school, and it was one of three high schools in my hometown at that time. Each school carried a stereotype: one was filled with rednecks, one was filled with gangsters, and mine was filled with surfer burn-outs.  (J.Ro here - so I knew we were connected. I'm a Gulf Coast girl, too. Grew up in Mobile, Alabama on the bay - spent many a formative weekend at Panama City Beach.)

Were there cliques at your high school?  What were they?  Who did you hang with? There were definitely cliques at my high school, but I was so busy with extracurriculars that I had the fortunate distinction of floating between most of them. The majority of my friends came from my smarty kid classes, but I was also a member of the soccer team, swim team and track team. I was president of the Art Honor Society, and I participated in a handful of plays my senior year, so I think most people just scratched their heads at me and gave me a pass.
Did you have a memorable teacher?  Good or bad?  How did they influence you? Erik Cobb was my English teacher my sophomore and senior year, and he is one of the single most influential people I’ve ever encountered in my life. He was a total punk rocker, and he wore tweed jackets and had a Rage Against the Machine poster on his classroom wall. He preached “thinking outside the box,” and we read the greatest anti-authority books, like Catch-22, 1984, Fahrenheit 451, The Metamorphosis, On the Road, Catcher in the Rye… We listened to Beat poetry and played the drums, and I learned more in his classes than I did during the rest of high school. (So that is - Hmmm, wonder if I ever ran into him at the Hangout in Pensacola when I went to go hear punk bands)
Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer? Writing a novel was always on my Bucket List, but I took a detour in high school and thought I wanted to be a Disney animator or nature photographer for awhile. I didn’t return to my writing roots until after I graduated college.
What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student?  How? Catch-22. It was and still is one of my favorite books of all time, because it was so brilliant and nonsensical and hilarious and heartbreaking. I also loved the threads of stories winding together, and I loved the risks Joseph Heller took while writing it. (I mean, an almost completely non-chronological book? How fantastic is that??)
What band could you not get enough of in high school?  Were you an album or a CD kid?  Cover art you remember? Oh my gosh, I was absolutely obsessed with Dave Matthews Band CDs, like most kids my age. But like most kids my age, I also thought I was the only one who “got” the music. So typical, so typical…. ;) (Love Dave Matthews - Crash into You - the ultimate love song)
What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world? I graduated high school in 2000, and things weren’t too bizarre back then. But I did love peasant shirts and those baby doll t-shirts with the ridiculous cartoon characters, and I wore my shorts as short as I possibly could. (Ah, to have those legs again!)
What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today? Like I said, I was on a number of sports teams, and I definitely draw inspiration from those times—both good and bad. I cherish the camaraderie, loathe the “mean girls,” and have a deeper understanding of both through my experiences. I also loved my time in drama, and I am inspired by the backstage workings of plays as well.
Good kid or wild child or a little of both?  Details? (Mwaahaa) Definitely a good kid. I loosened up quite a bit once I got to college, but I was fairly straight-laced through high school. I had a lot of friends, and I went to a lot of parties, but I was generally the one taking care of everybody else.
Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word? For sure. It’s back there somewhere in the recesses of my brain, but I have no idea what it was.
Who was your bestie?  Your frenemy?  Your sworn enemy?  Did you ever have one that switched to another?  Why? Lots of besties, and very few frenemies or sworn enemies. I was fairly harmless, and I was definitely a peace maker. I still am, for the most part, but it took me a LONG time to develop a backbone, and I certainly didn’t have one in high school. (There are a handful of mean girls from my soccer team that I’d love to confront now, but I was far too fragile back then.)
If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say? “Thanks for the good times, but I’ll pass on going through a second time.” I had a wonderful high school experience, but everyone’s teenage years are just so stressful. I’m thankful to be able to relive my high school days in my novels, but I’m also thankful to be finished with that period of my life. Things are a lot more laid-back these days. (Yep, when I moved from teaching elementary to teaching high school, I thought to myself, "What the .... am I doing?")
How do we find you now? Come visit me in Colorado! Or—if that doesn’t work--find me on my blog, “Kicked, Cornered, Bitten and Chased:” I’m also on Twitter (@LisaAnnChickos), and I’m represented by Jamie Brenner and Brianne Mulligan of Movable Type Management.


  1. Oooooh, growing up there sounds so nice and warm! And I figured you'd have been a sweetie with no frenemies--sounds just like you today! :-)

  2. Yay! Thanks so much for interviewing me, Jaye Robin! This was so much fun!

    @Kiperoo: Awe, you are so sweet! Thanks so much!

  3. Why didn't I have teachers like Mr. Cobb? Mine were all weirdos.

  4. Thanks for the great interview! And I love to hear about dynamic teachers who impacted us in powerful ways...Mr. Cobb sounds like the bomb.

  5. And now I've got a crush on Erik Cobb. ;)

    Fantastic interview. You are still so YOU, Lisa, if that's not too silly a thing to say. <333

    Always love reading these, Jaye!

  6. These are awesome! I love how you always send me back to highschool on this blog!

  7. @Alex: Hahah, I had plenty of those, too!

    @JennyPhresh: Total bomb. And now he's one of my writing buddies. Awesome how things work out, isn't it?

    @Lora: Hahaha... Love it! And thanks so much for saying that, Lora. It's a wonderful, wonderful thing to say, and I totally appreciate it. :)

    @Jaye Robin: Thanks again for hosting this!

    @Terry: Isn't funny how easily we can get transported back??


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