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Laura Preble | Why Can’t I Have My Own Robot?

September 2, 2008

I’ve been a geek since birth. I was raised on Star Trek (the original, styrofoam-rock, red-shirt-guy-killing Star Trek) and my parents took us to see both Barbarella and Planet of the Apes at the drive-in. So, when I was asked by an editor at Penguin to take a stab at writing in the genre of Chick Lit, I sort of balked. I mean, what do I have in common with those elegant Chick Lit writers? I associated them with cheerleaders, slutty high school girls (not the same thing, mind you), makeup, high heels, and the felonious application of Newton’s Laws of Motion.

But then I had what I thought was a great idea: Chick Lit for geek girls like me. That led to the creation of The Queen Geek Social Club, and subsequently, Queen Geeks in Love and Prom Queen Geeks, which debuts this month. I had great fun writing the books; the main character, Shelby, was the person I would have been in high school if I’d had any confidence and a better sense of fashion.

But one thing in the books has had an interesting impact on readers: the inclusion of Euphoria, Shelby’s humor-impaired robot, nanny, and tracking device. I’m not exactly sure where Euphoria came from, honestly; I started writing the first book at 3 a.m. and she just sort of appeared and started talking. I imagine her as a cross between the Jetson’s robot, Rosie, and an intelligent Roomba. Created by Shelby’s father, Euphoria is a pseudo-mom to Shelby, whose own mother has died even before the series begins. (And this is possibly because just before I came up with the idea for the books, my own mother died.) She attempts humor, has the ability to sense emotions from people, can make cookies, and can also aid and abet in semi-criminal activities, as she does in Prom Queen Geeks.

Anyway, readers are always writing to tell me that they absolutely love Euphoria, or, on rare occasions, that they love the books except for that one weird quirky thing that seems totally unreal and out of place. I guess that when I honestly examine why I inserted this quirky metallic meddler into my fiction, it’s because I want a robot of my own. I want someone who never gets tired, who never wears down, who can read me like a book, who knows my favorite recipes, who cares about me when I don’t care about myself. I guess, now that I think about it, I really wanted my own mom. So, when people ask me now why I put Euphoria in the story, I can answer: since my mom never got to see the books I finally wrote after all her years of encouragement, I simply wrote her into them so she’d always be there.

Laura Preble

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