I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the Kind of Sort of Fine Blog Tour hosted by The Book Terminal!
Check out my interview with Spencer Hall below!
About the Book
Senior year changes everything for two teens in this poignant, funny coming-of-age story that looks at what happens when the image everyone has of us no longer matches who we really are.
Senior year of high school is full of changes.
For Hayley Mills, these changes aren’t exactly welcome. All she wants is for everyone to forget about her very public breakdown and remember her as the overachiever she once was—and who she’s determined to be again. But it’s difficult to be seen as a go-getter when she’s forced into TV Production class with all the slackers like Lewis Holbrook.
For Lewis, though, this is going to be his year. After a summer spent binging 80s movies, he’s ready to upgrade from the role of self-described fat, funny sidekick to leading man of his own life—including getting the girl. The only thing standing in his way is, well, himself.
When the two are partnered up in class, neither is particularly thrilled. But then they start making mini documentaries about their classmates’ hidden talents, and suddenly Hayley is getting attention for something other than her breakdown, and Lewis isn’t just a background character anymore. It seems like they’re both finally getting what they want—except what happens when who you’ve become isn’t who you really are?
Find it here:
This past year has been a tough one, how has it affected you as a debut author?
Well, it’s definitely made me jealous of the fact that everyone except me seems to now know how to make sourdough bread! I think it’s also made me realize I could never be one of those reclusive writers who just lives in a cabin in the woods and only emerges a couple times a month for groceries and toilet paper. While I’m definitely an introvert, being separated from friends and family and co-workers for over a year has been tough. Fortunately, I’ve had a chance to connect with a bunch of other supportive 2021 debut YA and middle grade authors, so we’ve been able to encourage each other and trade war stories.
What about YA contemporaries drew you to writing one yourself?
I’ve always been drawn to coming-of-age stories. I think our teenage years are an incredibly interesting time where we’re discovering what we’re passionate about, who we want to be, and what kinds of things we want to stand for. While it’s often volatile and messy, I think it’s also really beautiful. And great source material for stories.
What does your writing process look like? Do you plot everything out or just sit and write?
My writing process is a mess. There’s a lot of pacing around my apartment and talking to myself and snacking (which is essential). Plus I often find myself getting distracted and falling into Wikipedia rabbit holes. Wow, I haven’t heard much about early-2000’s pop artist Michelle Branch lately. I wonder what she’s up to. I better look this up right now.
I am trying to get better at plotting these days. I wish I had plotted everything out for this book because it probably would have saved me a lot of time in the long run. Instead, I mostly just sat and wrote and that’s why I didn’t really figure out what the book was actually about until the third full draft.
For now, I always start with a character or a voice. There’s usually a compelling line that sticks in my head, so that’s where I begin, and then I just start writing, trying to settle into the character. After I get about 1,000 words down, I’m usually left wondering “OK, what is this book actually about?” That’s where the plotting starts, which is a slow process for me. That’s probably why I currently have half a dozen or so different Chapter Ones saved on my computer that I’m optimistic might one day become half a dozen completed novels.
What are some of your favorite YA novels?
Well, how much time do you have? I naturally gravitate towards contemporaries. For comedy, I love “Me and Earl and the Dying Girl” by Jesse Andrews and “Field Guide to the North American Teenager” by Ben Philippe. For light-hearted, feel-good stories, I like “Dumplin’” by Julie Murphy and “Since You’ve Been Gone” by Morgan Matson.
However, I also like some heavier YA books like “Far From the Tree” by Robin Benway, “We Are Okay” by Nina LaCour, and “The Love That Split the World” by Emily Henry.
David Arnold also stuns me in a new way with every book he produces. Currently devouring “The Electric Kingdom.”
If you’re able to tell us, what are you currently working on?
Nothing official in the works yet, but I’m really hoping one of those six previously mentioned Chapter Ones turns into a whole book. I can say I definitely plan to keep writing funny stories about teens.
About the Author
YA writer and aspiring mini golf pro. Author of Kind of Sort of Fine coming 6.22.2021.
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