Friday, May 11, 2012

Memories of High School You - Mindy Hardwick

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.  

This week, I'm visited again by Mindy Hardwick. I interviewed Mindy in December of 2011 when her middle grade book, Stained Glass Summer debuted. Post here. Now she's celebrating the release of her Young Adult novel, Weaving Magic. 

In the spirt of entering the Young Adult world, Mindy has dropped by to dish on her high school days. Thanks Mindy!
High School Mindy

Tell us about your high school, public or private, size, demographic, location?
I attended  Kirkwood High School. KHS is public high school in a St Louis suburb. If you are from the St Louis area, then you know the most important answer to any question is: What high school did you go to? I was once on a plane and the stewardess found out I grew up in St Louis. She immediately asked me: What High School did you attend? I’m always proud to say Kirkwood High School. 

Were there cliques at your high school?  What were they?  Who did you hang with?
I am a 1988 graduate, and cliques were huge. The Breakfast Club wasn’t that far off! There were the socs, the jocs, the nerds, the geeks, the theater group, the band geeks, and the burnouts.  I didn’t really hang with any of the groups. I fell somewhere in the middle with friends in a lot of groups.
As if the huge Footloose-era Kevin Bacon poster didn't give the decade away!

Did you have a memorable teacher?  Good or bad?  How did they influence you?
My most memorable teacher was my swim coach. I swam all four years, and in my senior year, I was having a hard time at school and at home. She advocated for me when I got into a little bit of trouble, and let me serve my detention time sitting at the pool during swim practice. I am always grateful for her seeing I was having a hard time and not letting that hard time define me. Don't you love when adults have this foresight?

Did you have an inkling as a teenager that you would become a writer?
I loved to write, and my parents are both journalists, but I had no idea the books I loved to read had a writer behind them! This is one reason why I love to do workshops with teens.

What book had the biggest impact on you as a high school student?  How?
Danielle Steele. I devoured all her books. I couldn’t get enough of them. When I wrote YA romance, WEAVING MAGIC, Shantel’s love for romance books came naturally for me! 
Mindy lost in a romance novel!

What band could you not get enough of in high school?  Were you an album or a CD kid?  Cover art you remember?
I was a mixed tape, cassette player girl! I loved mixed tapes. My favorite bands were Air Supply, Tiffany, U2, Journey, and the Go-Go Girls.  

What was the fashion rage - the one article of clothing you either got, or didn’t get that rocked your world?
Jordache skinny jeans and Calvin Klein Jeans. I stole my Mom’s Famous Barr credit card and lied about the charges to get those jeans! We were in high school at the same time :0) - I begged and begged for those Calvin Klein Jeans, but I never did manage to pull off the Brooke Shields look.

What hobbies, activities, sports were you involved in that influence your writing today?
I worked in the Games Department at Six Flags over Mid-America. I’m currently working on a collection of short stories for middle grade readers, as well as brainstorming a YA romance about an amusement park. I have the inside scoop to the games at amusement parks! This sounds like a great book in the works.

Good kid or wild child or a little of both?  Details? (Mwaahaa)
Good kid—except for senior year, and then I got a bad case of senioritis which included not getting to school for first period, forging a note with my Mom’s signature, and getting caught because I misspelled “excuse.”  Dang. Where's that copy editor when you need her?

Did you have a favorite phrase or slang word?

Who was your bestie?  Your frenemy?  Your sworn enemy?  Did you ever have one that switched to another?  Why?
My two best friends were Debbie Geison and Suzanne Schauman. We’d known each other since middle school. But, they were also my worst enemies at times. Both of them were in the AP English Classes, and I did not pass the tests to be accepted to those classes. Later, Suzanne made the pom pons squad and became an “in” girl, and at times, a three-way friendship was challenging. 

If you could say one thing to your high school you, what would you say?
Don’t compare yourself to everyone else. Eventually, you’re going to find a great place where it’s okay to be your creative self! 

How do we find you now? 
Twitter: @mindyhardwick
Thanks, Jaye!  Thanks so much for stopping back by, Mindy!


  1. Mix tapes! And The Breakfast Club. We're kindred spirits -- except I was more of a wild child. Nice getting to know the high school you, Mindy. For one second I thought your best friend was named Debbie Gibson...which kind of fits the 80s theme.

    1. Debbie Gibson! I think I had a few of her songs on mixed tapes! I wanted to be a wild child, but I was too shy! My wild self came out later when I worked at the Amusement Park!

  2. OMG so funny, I read your BFF as Debbie Gibson, too. Sounds like you had a fun experience!

    1. Reading romance was always fun! I wanted to be one of those Danielle Steele characters--jet setting around the world with fabulous men and very wealthy!

  3. Yay for your books, Mindy!

    I graduated in 1988 too, so your responses sound so, so familiar. Even the Danielle Steele.

    1. Those late '80's! They do have very defined parts to them!

  4. Thanks for interviewing me about the high school days, Jaye! Debbie Gibson--I remember her!

    1. I loved it! Thanks for playing along and sharing photos of high school you.

  5. Too fun! My first memory of the '80s was being born. *dodges spitballs*

    There were only two things I liked about high school (back in the aughts): Drama club and World Religions. World Religions. I know. Weird, but not so. It was the teacher, Deborah Brown, who made the class awesome. The work was hard, but she would give high praise and encouragement when she saw work she thought was good. She was one of the first people to tell me that my writing should be published *beams*

    Great interview, guys!


    1. No, no flinging spitballs allowed. And a great teacher can make all the difference, especially one who recognizes your talents.

  6. Wow, Mindy. We have a lot more in common than I ever would have realized. ^_^ Thanks for sharing this slice of high school you.

  7. Mindy, I think that strapless dress is so pretty! I'd totally wear it now. I'm looking forward to your amusement park story -- so many directions, funny or scary or sweet and romantic.

  8. Love, love, love the Kevin Bacon poster! Great interview!

  9. Hurray for 1988! Thanks for the fun interview.

  10. These interviews are so much fun! Thanks for sharing, Mindy!


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