Saturday, August 11, 2018

A Chat With Kit Frick, Author of SEE ALL THE STARS

Today, I'm happy to host a lovely debut author named Kit Frick! Her first novel, See All the Stars, hits shelves in just a couple of days. Keep reading to learn about her love for YA, how she picks her characters' names, and what songs correspond with her upcoming release.


Kit Frick is a novelist, poet, and MacDowell Colony fellow. Originally from Pittsburgh, PA, she studied creative writing at Sarah Lawrence College and received her MFA from Syracuse University.

When she isn’t putting complicated characters in impossible situations, Kit edits poetry and literary fiction for a small press, edits for private clients, and mentors emerging writers through Pitch Wars. Her debut young adult novel is See All the Stars, and her debut full-length poetry collection is A Small Rising Up in the Lungs (New American Press, September 4, 2018).

Visit Kit online at to sign up for her monthly newsletter, These Little Secrets, and follow her on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest and for all things bookish, and occasionally cats.

(text and photo provided by Kit Frick)
  
What inspired you to write a young adult novel instead of an adult novel?

I came to writing YA through reading YA. I fell hard and fast for young adult dystopian novels when they were the craze, which led me down a reading path into a wide range of young adult genres. This all happened when I was already very much an adult. When I was in high school, there were a few books being marketed toward a teen audience, but YA as an age category had not yet boomed. 


I think I still feel like I’m sixteen inside most days. So when I discovered YA as an adult, I connected readily with the teen characters I was reading about, and I felt passionately about wanting to tell stories about teens, for teens. The idea for See All the Stars in particular began with a “what if?” question: What if a girl lost all her friends and her boyfriend in one fell swoop—and what if she was partly responsible for what happened? The story unfolded from there.

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to? 


I don’t! I actually need silence while I write, and hence write almost exclusively at home. (Even coffee shop background chatter is too distracting for me.) But I do love creating playlists for my books, and there’s a fun See All the Stars playlist available on Spotify, which is comprised of songs and artists from the pages of the book!

How do you like to pick your characters’ names?


The names of my main characters have tended to come to me organically, through whatever subconscious naming system my brain likes to cook up. For See All the Stars, Ellory, Matthias, and Ret just kind of arrived pre-named on the page, I wish I could tell you how. Likewise, the main character names for my 2019 book and my two current works in progress arrived via some magical process.

But I do have more specific and easily discussed methods for selecting the names for my secondary and super minor characters. For first names, I scan through lists of popular baby names in the year the character would have been born. I’ll rarely select something in the top ten, but when I read through a list of fifty or one hundred popular names from that year, it gives me a feel for the kinds of names that would populate the world of the novel, and usually something calls out to me. For last names—and this is true for primary, secondary, and minor characters—I love IMDB! Yup, the movie database. I can spend hours scrolling through full cast and crew lists for all sorts of movies and TV shows looking at last names. It’s a boundless and diverse resource that has helped me keep my surname selections interesting!


What's more challenging for you as a writer: wrapping up the end of a novel or starting the first chapter? 


The wrap-up is, without a doubt, the far greater challenge. Since I write books with mystery in their DNA, finding the most effective and engaging way to execute the reveal and then tie up all the threads I’ve been weaving along the way is far more complicated and challenging than laying the groundwork at the story’s opening. But they’re both a lot of fun.


What was your favorite part of writing
See All the Stars


I’ve enjoyed the whole process, from brainstorming through outlining and drafting, and then working through multiple rounds of revision. One of the most difficult—but also most satisfying—parts of the process was working on my first round of developmental edits with my editor at McElderry, Ruta Rimas. The novel unfolds in two interwoven timelines—Then and Now—and that particular revision involved removing several chapters from the Now timeline and replacing them with an entirely new thread of the plot. This was no easy feat after having lived with the story in its prior iteration for so long, but it was also exactly what the manuscript needed in order to level the story up to the place it wanted to be. When I finished that revision, I knew I’d finally hit on the story I’d been trying to tell.


What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone? 


A 2018 debut that I haven’t seen get nearly enough buzz is Maxine Kaplan’s
The Accidental Bad Girl—and I will gladly shout about it here! This YA thriller is a fast-paced mystery, equal parts darkness and humor, with a whole lot of attitude. After seventeen-year-old Kendall’s Facebook profile is hacked, framing her for a crime she didn’t commit, she is swiftly drawn into a world of trouble with local NYC dealer Mason. Kendall finds herself blackmailed into making Mason’s deliveries until she can uncover the person who really stole his stash, and along the way, she dives deep into an examination of who she is: a good girl or a bad girl, a girl with a bright future ahead, or a girl who will risk that future to take down the true darkness at the root of Mason’s business. The Accidental Bad Girl is perfect for readers drawn to NYC stories, twisty plots, narratives that engage with the #MeToo movement, and complex female characters.
 




Release Date: August 14, 2018

It’s hard to find the truth beneath the lies you tell yourself.

THEN They were four—Bex, Jenni, Ellory, Ret. Electric, headstrong young women; Ellory’s whole solar system.

NOW Ellory is alone, her once inseparable group of friends torn apart by secrets, deception, and a shocking incident that changed their lives forever.

THEN Lazy summer days. A party. A beautiful boy. Ellory met Matthias and fell into the beginning of a spectacular, bright love.

NOW Ellory returns to Pine Brook to navigate senior year after a two-month suspension and summer away—no boyfriend, no friends. No going back. Tormented by some and sought out by others, troubled by a mysterious note-writer who won’t let Ellory forget, and consumed by guilt over her not entirely innocent role in everything and everyone she’s lost, Ellory finds that even in the present, the past is everywhere.

The path forward isn’t a straight line. And moving on will mean sorting the truth from the lies—the lies Ellory has been telling herself. (taken from goodreads.com)

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: In Another Time by Caroline Leech

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.



Title: In Another Time
AuthorCaroline Leech
Release Date: August 28, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35068588-in-another-time

Love is worth the fight

It’s 1942, and Maisie McCall is in the Scottish Highlands doing her bit for the war effort as a Women’s Timber Corps lumberjill. Maisie relishes her newfound independence and her growing friendships—especially with the enigmatic John Lindsay.

As Maisie and John work side-by-side felling trees, Maisie can’t help but feel like their friendship has the spark of something more to it. And yet every time she gets close to him, John pulls away. It’s not until Maisie rescues John from a terrible logging accident that he begins to open up to her about the truth of his past, and the pain he’s been hiding.

Suddenly everything is more complicated than Maisie expected. And as she helps John untangle his shattered history, she must decide if she’s willing to risk her heart to help heal his. But in a world devastated by war, love might be the only thing left that can begin to heal what’s broken. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

A love story set in 1942? Heck yeah, I'm there. I can't wait to see if Maisie and John's romance meets my high expectations. Luckily this one hits shelves in a few weeks, so we don't have to be too patient!


Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: The Other Side of Lost by Jessi Kirby

Waiting On Wednesday was created by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a weekly post for you to share what upcoming books you can't wait for! Here's mine for the week.



Title: The Other Side of Lost
AuthorJessi Kirby
Release Date: August 7, 2018

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35820001-the-other-side-of-lost

Girl Online meets Wild in this emotionally charged story of girl who takes to the wilderness to rediscover herself and escape the superficial persona she created on social media.

Mari Turner’s life is perfect. That is, at least to her thousands of followers who have helped her become an internet starlet. But when she breaks down and posts a video confessing she’s been living a lie—that she isn’t the happy, in-love, inspirational online personality she’s been trying so hard to portray—it goes viral and she receives major backlash. To get away from it all, she makes an impulsive decision: to hike the entire John Muir trail. Mari and her late cousin, Bri, were supposed to do it together, to celebrate their shared eighteenth birthday. But that was before Mari got so wrapped up in her online world that she shut anyone out who questioned its worth—like Bri.

With Bri’s boots and trail diary, a heart full of regret, and a group of strangers that she meets along the way, Mari tries to navigate the difficult terrain of the hike. But the true challenge lies within, as she searches for the way back to the girl she fears may be too lost to find: herself. (taken from goodreads.com)

Why I Need It: 

I'll admit that the cover was what first drew me to the August release, but after reading the summary, I realized that this book sounds right up my alley. I love stories of surviving in the wilderness and hiking, as well as tales of self-discovery. Count me in for this upcoming novel.

Monday, July 30, 2018

A Chat With Bree Barton, Author of HEART OF THORNS

I'm proud to present Bree Barton here on my blog! She's releasing her exciting novel, Heart of Thorns, tomorrow! Today, we'll talk a little about her inspiration behind the novel and how she built it. To learn more about her novel or background, click here or visit Bree's website. 


Bree Barton is a writer in Los Angeles. When she's not lost in whimsy, she works as a ghostwriter and dance teacher to teen girls. She is on Instagram and YouTube as Speak Breely, where she posts funny videos of her melancholy dog.

Bree is not a fan of corsets. 
(taken from 
Bree's GoodReads profile)
 
  
What inspired you to write a young adult novel instead of an adult novel?

As a writer, I find there’s something really juicy about cusps—cusp of adulthood, cusp of revolution, cusp of loss. All three of those cusps are vibrantly alive in young adult fiction. When you’re a teen you are going through epic changes, whether you’re in an epic fantasy novel are not. That makes for really compelling fiction.

My sister starts college next month (she’s the reason I’m doing book events in Wichita, St. Louis, and Columbia—I’m driving her to Ohio!). I think it’s really interesting how we say to high school grads, “Congratulations!” As much as you’re inheriting a brand new world as an adult, you’re also losing your childhood. I think there’s an inevitable grieving process our culture doesn’t often acknowledge.

Maybe I will start a business selling condolence cards for graduates. “Sorry for your loss.”

Do you listen to music while you write? If so, what do you listen to?

I usually can’t do anything with lyrics, because then I just want to sing along. But I am all for movie soundtracks and instrumental pieces (my mom is a piano teacher, so my love for piano began in utero). My go-to Pandora stations are Ramin Djawadi, Ludovico Einaudi, Max Richter, Erik Satie, The Piano Guys, and—for a dose of that sorely needed second X chromosome—Liz Story and The Tiny. I am also known to get up from my chair periodically and throw one-woman dance parties, for which Gaga, Janelle, and Kesha are queens supreme. This works better when I’m at home than, say, when I’m writing at a cafĂ©.

Are you more of a coffee or a tea person when writing?

I cannot have coffee. Coffee—or anything with potent caffeine, really—kills me dead. I’m what you might call “naturally caffeinated,” meaning most people assume I start the day with three shots of espresso. In reality, if I have even two sips of coffee, my heart feels like it’s beating out of my chest; my hands shake and I can’t get any writing done. I used to be able to have black tea in the morning, but now even that makes me crawl out of my skin, and just this month I’m beginning to lose my tolerance for green tea. This makes me very sad, as genmaicha and gunpowder are my absolute favorites. And matcha, of course. Oh, how I miss matcha. Just this week my sister made me an amazing matcha tea latte…and after two sips I had to give it back to her, my pulse rocketing. I am weak.

Who is your favorite character you've ever created?

Ever? What a great question. This is out of left field, but I’m going to pluck a character from a lit fiction short story I published a few years back. This character works at a maid service called Spearmint Maids. Their motto: “So Fresh and So Clean.” She goes into people’s empty houses to clean them—and slowly starts to inhabit their lives. She sits on their sofas. Then reads their poetry books. Then rifles through their medicine cabinets. Then pries the lids off their crockpots, licking silver spoons to swirl her saliva into their simmering pot roasts. Let’s just say, by the end of the story, the maid became “intimately acquainted” with some of their bedroom toys.

I still think about that woman. I never even named her, but she’s been inside my head for years.

Did you have a writing schedule while you worked on Heart of Thorns? What did your average day of writing look like?

Here’s a day in the life of Bree Barton (at least Bree Barton on deadline). I turn off my phone the night before—it’s the only way I can get any focused work done. My alarm goes off at 6am. I convince myself I can steal another 30 minutes of sleep. Then another. By 7am I wake up consumed by guilt. I unlock my car and hide my phone in the glove compartment so I won’t be tempted to turn it on. I bring my laptop out to my little garage office and move the dusty papers, dead spiders, and plush octopus to the side. I turn on my electric kettle. I make tea. I realize I forgot my lucky mug, so I go inside to retrieve it. I come back out, then realize I forgot my laptop charger, so go back in. I finally stop procrastinating and write solidly for 2-3 hours, then stop to eat potatoes and eggs. I go back to writing. At 12 noon I might go to a cycling class, but more likely I turn on my phone and check social media because I’m having symptoms of withdrawal. At 12:30 I realize I am still wearing my robe. At 12:31 I regret not going to the cycling class. I pet my dog. I wash the dishes. At 1pm I work on ghostwriting projects to pay the bills. I can’t focus. I watch Donald Glover on YouTube. I watch Bo Burnham on YouTube. I really can’t focus. I realize I’ve forgotten to eat lunch. I’m starving so I eat forty-two plantain chips and slightly stiff prosciutto. I answer emails. I answer emails. I answer emails. I look at my clock and realize with horror it is almost 5pm. At 5:01pm I try to spark a second burst of writing. I stare out the window. I reread what I’ve written and change most of it. I eat Thai food. I read a friend’s ARC. I turn my phone off. I have a burst of ideas right as I’m going to sleep, so have to jump out of bed and turn my phone on, just to jot them down in Notes. My mind is racing so I take a melatonin to help me sleep. The next day, I wake up and do it all again.

What is one underrated book you would like to recommend to everyone?

Infandous by Elana K. Arnold. That book is utterly spellbinding—and one of the darkest YAs I’ve read. Elana had several publishers say, “This is the best book we’ve read this year . . . and we absolutely cannot publish it.” But it’s such a beautiful and haunting meditation on femininity, girlhood, misogyny, loss. I’m excited about her most recent YA book, What Girls Are Made Of, which I haven’t had a chance to read yet (it was a National Book Award finalist!), and also Damsel, which comes out in October. I’m so glad Elana is finally being recognized as the brilliant literary empress she is.



Release Date: July 31, 2018

In the ancient river kingdom, touch is a battlefield, bodies the instruments of war. Seventeen-year-old Mia Rose has pledged her life to hunting Gwyrach: women who can manipulate flesh, bones, breath, and blood.

Not women. Demons. The same demons who killed her mother without a single scratch.

But when Mia's father suddenly announces her marriage to the prince, she is forced to trade in her knives and trousers for a sumptuous silk gown. Only after the wedding goes disastrously wrong does she discover she has dark, forbidden magic—the very magic she has sworn to destroy. (taken from goodreads.com)