Guys, this post is horrifically late and I feel like such a heel, I can’t even tell you. The lovely folks at Swoon Reads asked me to interview the authors for the last Swoon Reads event at the Barnes & Noble in East Brunswick and it was SO MUCH FUN! But then, life. I’ve barely posted for two weeks. WAHHH! The great thing, though, is that meeting Sandy Hall (A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT), Temple West (VELVET), Kimberly Karalius (LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS), and Katie Van Ark (THE BOY NEXT DOOR) was super! We talked about books and writing and pastimes and favorite things and they were lovely.
So I wound up interviewing the panelists before the event started and then moderating as well. I don’t remember too many of the questions from the moderation portion of the evening, but there were awesome young people there who asked great questions and were totally into it and I loved them.
The one thing I DO remember from the event questions was some great news about all of the upcoming projects! Sandy Hall has a book coming out this fall, ALL SIGNS POINT TO YES (YAY FOR THIS), Temple West is working on the sequel to VELVET (YAY FOR THIS TOO), Katie is working on something sekret (very exciting), and Kimberly announced some awesome news that she’s going to be writing a sequel/companion book to LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS! Huzzah!
Now, a rundown of the pre-event interview!
Q: What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
Sandy loves watching TV (think Netflix binging), and is currently obsessing over Criminal Minds. Katie likes figuring skating and learning cool stuff under the guise of story research and recently took archery lessons with her hubs. Kimberly, the lucky duck, lives very close to Disney World and her family has annual passes, so she goes there ALL. THE. TIME. Epcot is her favorite park. Temple paints (check out her Instagram, pls) and loves going to the movies because she craves being creative even when she isn’t able to read (usually while she’s writing) and movies are like books for both sides of her brain.
Q: What’s the most impactful book you’ve ever read, as a reader or writer? (No, I didn’t help them at all with this question.)
Kimberly cited Francesca Lia Block in general, but her book ECHO in particular because it was the first time she encountered magical realism. Katie said that the books that inspired her own writing the most were CATCHING JORDAN by Miranda Kenneally and the Perfect Chemistry series by Simone Elkeles. For her personally, THE SCORPIO RACES (GUH. I die.) Temple read a TON of Nancy Drew (fist pump, Nancy) and The Hardy Boys growing up, so those books had a huge impact on her reading. Sandy said ELEANOR & PARK because that book inspired her to evoke the same feelings she felt while reading in her own readers.
Q: What was the first seed of your story?
Kimberly told this awesome story about how, in college, the ratio of girls to boys was in favor of the boys BIG TIME, and it often resulted in dating people you wouldn’t normally date, so her friends came up with this elaborate future for themselves where they were all really glamorous spinsters. This whole scenario got her wondering why a teenager would be concerned with becoming a spinster on account of their being so young and having so much time ahead of them, and then the love fortunes and town evolved from there.
Q: Where were you/what were you doing when you first found out your book was going to be published?
Sandy was shoveling snow, Temple was babysitting, and Kimberly and Katie were both at work.
Q: How much, if anything, from your first draft remains in your published book?
For Temple, on a basic plot level, everything. On a structural level, nothing. VELVET used to have a ton of stream-of-conciousness, run-on sentences because she loved them, but as her writing style changed, so did her book (VELVET took 6 years to write). LOVE FORTUNES AND OTHER DISASTERS had lots of shuffling around. Sandy said it’s about 50/50, and Katie said about 75/25. Removing things and adding scenes
Q: How long could you remain unplugged before totally losing it?
Temple went 4 and a half months without a phone when she was studying abroad at Oxford. Kimberly doesn’t think she’d last very long because she uses the internet constantly while writing. Sandy went longer on this tour than ever without internet, but probably not more than 24 hours. Katie often takes vacations with her family out in the woods and is without devices for days at a time. I (well, all of us) couldn’t believe Temple lasted so long without a phone.
Q: Favorite fairytale or or folk tale?
Temple immediately responded with Beauty and the Beast. Katie is also partial to Beauty and the Beast, especially the movie version because of the library–of course. Kimberly loves Thumbelina, especially the original Hans Christian Andersen version. Sandy doesn’t do fairytales. (GASP! It’s ok.)
Q: What’s your least favorite thing about being on tour?
Touring is hard! Temple wasn’t getting a ton of sleep, so that was no fun. Kimberly had to figure out how to not get burned out from too much flying. Sandy doesn’t like flying really at all and doesn’t like being away from home. Katie said that she would love to be able to spend more time in the cities where they stopped, and also hated that they could only bring a carry on with them, which prevented her from buying lots of books on the road. (Understandable.)
Q: Best part of being on tour?
Q: Is there a particular scene in your book that you’re really proud of, either because you worked really hard on it or because it wasn’t clicking for a long time and finally fell into place?
Temple said that Holly made her add two scenes, but they are some of her favorites “because of THINGS.” They were wonderful to write and read and it was like a treat working with them because she added them at the end. Katie was particularly fond of her Halloween scene (you’ll have to read THE BOY NEXT DOOR for more details!). Kimberly’s favorite scene was when Fallon and Sebastian had their first talk because it was really fun to write. Sandy is really partial to all of her party scenes. Since she’s from New Jersey and didn’t live too far from Rutgers, she basically pictured college parties there and incorporated them into A LITTLE SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Then she said she could take us all to the exact spots she was thinking of when she wrote her party scenes.
I loved talking to these awesome ladies! And bonus? Their books are adorable and incredibly fun to read, and so thanks to the excellent folks at Swoon Reads, I’m giving away copies of each of their books! YAYY! You must be 13 or older to enter and live in the US. All good? Great! ENTER AWAY! Giveaway ends at midnight on June 12!