Writer-to-Writer Interview + Book Giveaway: Amy Garvey and COLD KISS

Hey there. Do you love to slip into a piece of good writing? Take a peek at this:

…I loved him. I loved him so much that I couldn’t see anything else for a while. Danny filled the cracks inside me, blotted out the cold, empty places in the world. It didn’t take long before Danny was the only thing that mattered.

Love like that is what they make movies about. It’s the thing you’re supposed to want, the answer to every question, the song that you’re supposed to sing.

But love like that can be too big, too. It can be something you shouldn’t be trusted to hold when you’re the kind of person who drops the eggs and breaks the remote control.

Love doesn’t break easily, I found. But people do.

—Amy Garvey, COLD KISS

When I first opened the ARC of Cold Kiss that was sent to me by an editor at HarperTeen (thank you, Harper!), and I came upon those words in the prologue, something happened to me. I stopped what I was doing and took notice. I knew this was a book I would want to read slowly and savor… which just so happens to be my favorite kind of book of all.

So I’m excited to have the author of Cold Kiss, Amy Garvey, here today to answer all my deep and twisty writerly questions about the creepy, emotional, and stunning book she wrote as her YA debut. But first, let me tell you a bit more about the novel. Cold Kiss came out this fall from HarperTeen, and it has an icy perfect cover (those lips!).

Here’s the book’s official summary:

It was a beautiful, warm summer day, the day Danny died.

Suddenly Wren was alone and shattered. In a heartbroken fury, armed with dark incantations and a secret power, Wren decides that what she wants—what she must do—is to bring Danny back.

But the Danny who returns is just a shell of the boy Wren fell in love with. His touch is icy; his skin, smooth and stiff as marble; his chest, cruelly silent when Wren rests her head against it.

Wren must keep Danny a secret, hiding him away, visiting him at night, while her life slowly unravels around her. Then Gabriel DeMarnes transfers to her school, and Wren realizes that somehow, inexplicably, he can sense the powers that lie within her—and that he knows what she has done. And now Gabriel wants to help make things right.

But Wren alone has to undo what she has wrought—even if it means breaking her heart all over again.

I hope this intrigues you as it did me! And now here’s my interview—and if you keep on reading to the end, you’ll find a chance to win a *signed* hardcover of the book and some “cold kiss” tattoos!

NRS: The starting point of a story is so important; to me, everything depends on that initial moment. I must say, I love the moment where you start your debut YA novel COLD KISS, from the first line “I wasn’t thinking about falling in love the day I met Danny Greer” to, especially, the choice you made in having the story begin after Danny has died and been brought back by the narrator, Wren. There is a short prologue from the past tense, steeped in Wren’s regret, and then we’re visiting undead Danny in the neighbor’s garage where Wren now keeps him. It is such a perfect moment to insinuate us into this story that it makes me wonder a very writerly thing: Did you always know where to start? Was this the first piece of the story that came to you—or did you ever envision any other starting point as your opening? Is there a reason you didn’t want to start when Danny is still alive?

AG: That line was the very first thing that came to me when I was thinking about the story. I sat down and wrote most of what you see in the prologue now, and I knew I had to write the book.

I never imagined starting with Danny still alive, and I’m not sure why. It just didn’t feel right? I don’t analyze a lot of what I do, especially when the writing is coming really easily, the way this book did. But I think it was the right choice—to start while Danny is still alive would have really changed the oomph of the book, I think. I like that the reader gets just a taste of what Wren once had before they realize what she has now instead.

Wren loses her first love to a car crash and in a desperate moment finds a way to keep him with her. This expression of her grief is so heartbreaking to me, so true. I completely believe that Wren would think she cannot live without him. I remember how that felt myself, so vividly. As YA writers, we must find a way to transport ourselves back to that time of “firsts”—when everything was new and confusing and so much more significant than it seems now. How do you transport yourself there? What advice do you have for YA authors to keep themselves in that moment and keep it ringing true?

People ask me this a lot, and I’m never sure what to say. Inside, I’m forever sixteen? It doesn’t seem hard at all to remember that age, and if I close my eyes and go back to a certain day or time, I really can feel it all over again. Maybe it’s easier for me because I really didn’t loathe being a teenager—sure, I was bored with school now and then, and I wanted to be able to do so much more than I was allowed or able to, but for the most part, high school was not hell for me. So remembering isn’t really painful overall, although there were those specific moments when the world seemed to be shattering right in front of me, or that I was shattering, cut into ribbons by my own angst. Good times, right? But those are the moments that usually matter, too, the ones that shape who we become.

Sometimes I think it’s helpful to look at kids around you, too. Just walking down the street in a pack, for instance. You can see which boy is trying to impress which girl, and which girl is too focused on the drum solo she’s hearing through her headphones to pay attention to the others. If you look around, they’re all right there, feeling the same things you did once.

Before publishing COLD KISS, you wrote romance novels for adults. Is there a difference in how you would approach your adult fiction than your YA fiction? Do you find yourself writing your YA fiction in a different way? While listening to different music perhaps… or focusing on different pieces of the story… or, maybe, while wearing a whole different set of clothes? Or is there very little difference to you at all?

I don’t have a lot of rituals to writing, either! (I’m beginning to feel like The Weird Writer.) While I’m writing, I’m just me, generally in something comfortable, with tea, hot or iced. I sometimes change up playlists (and sometimes I didn’t even have specific playlists for the romances) but I sometimes write with the TV on in the background. And I write wherever is convenient that day; that’s usually my bed, now that I have a laptop.

In terms of story, though, romances are a fairly specific beast, for me, anyway. I was always very focused on both sides of the story—the hero and the heroine, and figuring out where the twain, as they say, would meet. With Cold Kiss, the focus was very much Wren. I also wrote them in very different styles—romance works best (unless you’re Diana Gabaldon) in third person, but I love to write in first person, and I knew it was right for Cold Kiss to do that. It felt like a treat, too—I know some people don’t enjoy writing in first person, but it’s always been my holy grail in terms of POV, and I’d really missed it.

I read that the first novel you ever wrote—a novel that lives under your bed—was a young adult novel. I always feel a surge of kinship with writers who have novels living under their beds, since I have two of my own (do they enter our dreams while we’re unconscious, I wonder? what does it mean that we sleep on top of them?). I really think there is something to be said for having the strength to let go of a novel that isn’t working and move on to something else. It hurts, yes, but you learn from it. I know I became a better writer from it. Tell us about the novel that lives under your bed and why you chose to let it dwell there. Do you wish you’d published it? Do you want to go back to it? Do you think you needed to write it to get to where you are as a writer today?

Here’s a dumb secret—when I say “box under the bed,” it’s completely metaphorical. One of the reasons that book remains untouched, and even unread, is because I don’t really have it anymore! I don’t have a printed copy, and the disk where it was saved was a floppy, from many computers ago. That was fifteen years ago, too, and we’ve moved several times since then, so wherever that hard copy went, I hope someone read it and enjoyed it. Or used it for something sensible, like papier mache.

It sounds unsentimental, I know, but more than the story or anything else, that book was important to me because it was the first book I ever wrote to completion. It proved to me that I could, and I think what helped is that I wrote it on a deadline, for a publisher’s first novel contest. I found out about it a little late (well into September, I think), and the deadline was Dec. 1, but I decided to give it a shot anyway. I was living in Wyoming at the time, and pregnant with our second child, and my oldest was in kindergarten half the day. So when he was at school, I wrote, and I finished the book in time to send it off. It didn’t win, not that it deserved to, but it was one of the most important books I ever wrote, simply because I set my mind to it and did it.

One day I would love to read it again, although I don’t know if I would ever bother revising it. It was highly (and I mean SKY high) autobiographical, just me dressed up in different clothes with my heart pinned to my sleeve on every page, and a lot of the emotional issues I worked through in that book have been long since put to rest. A lot of them worked their way into Cold Kiss, in fact.

I know you also have a background in book publishing, though I think more on the editorial side than I do (I worked mostly as a production editor/copy editor). So, as an editor yourself, how does it feel to be edited? Do you think it helps you be an author? Are you ever able to turn off your editor-self while writing, or is she always there, lurking and scribbling difficult editorial questions in your margins? 

My self-editor is always hovering, although I’m not sure it has anything to do with the fact that I was an editor in another life. I think a lot of writers face that self-editor sometimes, especially if they’re at all perfectionists, or, like me, incredibly impatient. I want to write it right the FIRST time. (I can hear you all laughing, you know.)

Working as an editor has given me a lot of insight into the process as a whole, and a huge appreciation for what editors do. I love my editor, and I trust her to steer me right, as well as to trust ME when it comes to some of the emotional aspects of the story. I’m not going to argue about a word here or there (although sometimes it does depend on which word, in which sentence), but I do want to hear my editor’s opinion on how to make the story I’ve written into the best book it can be. My editor at HarperTeen, the lovely and charming Erica Sussman, is an incredible partner, and I feel really lucky to have her.

I saw in your author’s note at the end of the novel that the town in COLD KISS is based on the town where you went to high school. This got me so excited, because the town in IMAGINARY GIRLS is based on the town where I lived when I was in high school… and I know I changed and reimagined as I needed for the story, and I also know it made the writing feel so alive to me, and also surreal, like I was stepping back in time. What was it like for you, re-creating a place from your memories? Do any of the specific places you used to go as a teen find their way into this book? How close to truth did you stick?

It was so incredibly helpful—I always need a place to focus on, and a real place, if possible. Wren’s house is my old house, her room is my room, all of it. We had that butler’s pantry, and at one point in high school my parents actually let me take it over and move in a typing table and a chair, and use it as my “study.” It didn’t work for long, but I guess even then I was looking for a room of my own.

I think it also made the memories of those feelings a lot more intense—Bliss, for example, was actually the Elm Deli, where my friends and I spent countless afternoons. It was nowhere near as cozy and charming as Bliss is supposed to be, but it had about six tables, and Tim, the owner, loved us and knew us all, and since after school was long past the lunch rush, we were welcome to hang out with chips and sodas and the occasional sandwich for as long as we wanted. A lot of intense conversations took place there, as well as breakups, first “dates,” and frantic paper finishing. Thinking of that place—and a lot of others in town—really made those years come alive for me again.

The funniest thing is that my father-in-law (eighty-six this coming year!) just finished reading the book, and he particularly commented on how memories of that town came to life for him as he was reading. It’s really cool to think that any of my old friends from those days might recognize some of the places I mention.

Danny is brought back to life by his confused, grieving girlfriend, Wren, who has a strange, unexplained power coursing through her. It is never named in the story what he is—a zombie created and controlled by Wren—though we read between the lines. What drew you to write about zombies? Are there any zombie novels or movies that fed the creation of Danny? And, more, what drew you to write a love story about zombies? That unexpected combination is, to me, the magic of COLD KISS.

Someone in a conversation about where to go after vampires and werewolves mentioned zombies. He seemed to be joking, although I think by that time Generation Dead and maybe some other zombie novels were already out. It made me think, though—the zombies I love are usually the murderous, brain-eating kind (the remake of Dawn of the Dead is one of my favorite movies) but writing them didn’t really interest me. Then I thought about what kind of zombie would be something to write, and somehow I arrived at raising a loved one from the dead.

That’s not really what the voodoo zombies are about, although Danny is that type of zombie—the victims raised are more often enemies, or someone who owes a debt, created to serve the sorcerer as a sort of slave. I’m also a huge Buffy fan. The idea of “not coming back right” and the episode where Dawn wants to resurrect Joyce in her grief both had a big impact on me. And from there, Wren was born.

Grief, especially experienced for the first time, can be so huge, so utterly unassailable, I’ve always thought it’s natural to simply want to undo it—make the death go away. Denial is supposed to be the first stage of grief in the Kubler-Ross model, and I think it’s the one almost everyone goes through. So for Wren to want to bring Danny back, especially knowing that she, out of anyone, just might be able to pull it off, was irresistible. But who’s going to think about the consequences? No one, I bet. Not until it’s too late.

Now a more general question about the novels lurking inside you… I know I have a few. Is there a dream book on a dream topic that you’d one day want to write, one you’re holding yourself back from? Saving, perhaps, for the perfect moment? If so, would you spare a little hint?

This is a hard one! There are a few! One is an adult novel that I haven’t been able to pin down for pretty much ever—I have the setting and a whole cast of characters, even their histories, but I’m still not sure exactly whose story I would be telling, or why. There’s a YA novel that’s also been brewing for a good…wow, nine years? It’s actually fighting to be told NOW, instead of the proposal I thought I was going to write, which is a little confusing at the moment, because they’re completely different in tone, from each other and from Cold Kiss and its follow-up.

I have a lot of dream topics, too, or at least themes or inspirations—twins, carnivals, madness of all kinds, the tarot, Gilded Age New York, and anything remotely to do with the Tudors or that era of British history. (Not all in the same book, of course!) And actually, three of the items on that list show up in the YA book ideas above—one in the book shouting to be written NOW, and two in the one I thought I would write.


Thank you so much, Amy, for answering all my questions and revealing so much about the book and your writing process! Utterly fascinating.

As I said, COLD KISS was published by HarperTeen this fall! If you don’t have this book already, I really suggest you go out and get it! For more about Amy and her book, read her blog or follow her on Twitter

And now… YOU. Want to win a signed hardcover of Amy Garvey’s new novel COLD KISS and some “cold kiss” temporary tattoos (they’re blue lip prints!)? To enter, just leave a comment on this post and you’re in it to win! (US/Canada only.)

(I’m closing this giveaway on Tuesday, January 10 at 5:00 p.m. EST and I’ll reveal the winner soon after!)

Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Amy Reed and “CLEAN”

Book Giveaway!

There is a novel that has long been on my “Books I Love” list—a stunning debut novel by Amy Reed. I fell in love with Beautiful, it absolutely spoke to me, and when I heard that Amy had a new book coming out this summer I gathered up my courage and emailed her to ask for an interview. Not only did she say yes, she was able to get me an egalley of Clean to read beforehand, and I was blown away by this book. Now, to celebrate the launch of her new book I have a writer-to-writer interview with Amy Reed to share today—and we’re giving away a signed hardcover of Clean! At the end of the interview, I’ll tell you how you can enter this giveaway.

Clean is out in stores as of just yesterday, and believe me you will want to read this book. Some of you may need to read it.

Here’s more about Clean, from the book’s summary:

You’re probably wondering how I ended up here. I’m still wondering the same thing.

Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Jason, and Eva have one thing in common: They’re addicts. Addicts who have hit rock bottom and been stuck together in rehab to face their problems, face sobriety, and face themselves. None of them wants to be there. None of them wants to confront the truths about their pasts. And they certainly don’t want to share their darkest secrets and most desperate fears with a room of strangers. But they’ll all have to deal with themselves and one another if they want to learn how to live. Because when you get that high, there’s nowhere to go but down, down, down.

And now here’s my interview with the immensely talented Amy Reed, where I ask her about her first book, her new book, and all writing things in between—and keep on reading for a chance to win a signed copy!

When I first read your debut novel BEAUTIFUL, I felt like I’d found the novel I should have read when I was a teenager. I wish that book had existed when I was fifteen* because goddamn I think my whole life would be different if I’d read it then. Where did this story come from? Do you think you, too, would have been changed if you’d had a book like BEAUTIFUL when you were fifteen? (*Fifteen was a turning-point year for me, full of regrets, but for someone else it could be another number.)

Amy: I think most of us have those turning point years, and most of the time they probably center around the loss of innocence. In many cultures, there are coming-of-age rituals to honor this transition; in ours, it seems, we’re often just thrown into a pool of sharks and told to sink or swim. My turning point year was thirteen, and BEAUTIFUL was partly based on events from that time in my life. I very much identify with Cassie—her loneliness, confusion, fear, her desperate and self-destructive need to fit in. One of the best things I hear YA authors say is that we aim to write the books we wish existed when we were teens. That is definitely the case with BEAUTIFUL and CLEAN. I always loved reading, but I remember not finding much I identified with at that age. I think Go Ask Alice, Girl, Interrupted, and the poetry of Anne Sexton got the closest. But none of those stories ended very well. Maybe if I had found more I could relate to, it would have given me a better perspective on the choices I was faced with. Sometimes it’s hard to see all sides of something when we’re stuck inside it. It often takes stepping back and seeing it from another angle. I hope my books can help readers do that.

I remember—somewhere I saw this—that BEAUTIFUL originally stemmed from a short story, and this intrigued and excited me because that’s how IMAGINARY GIRLS first surfaced for me. Mine was a short story that changed, very drastically, by the time it turned into the novel. So what was the spark from the short story that expanded itself into the novel for you? What about the story made you know there was more that needed to be told?

Under the Wall, the short story BEAUTIFUL was based on (which you can read here) is very different than the final novel. It is told in short non-linear chunks and is much more stylized and experimental. The narrator (who is twelve, not thirteen) is extremely cold and dissociated from her emotions. I did not have a teen audience in mind when I wrote it. I didn’t have a teen audience in mind when I started writing BEAUTIFUL either, but I was definitely thinking of a larger world than the small literary journal community I was writing short stories for. I think the story was always supposed to be a novel for me, but it made sense at the time to approach it as a short story first. I think trying to write a novel first would have overwhelmed me.

I’m writing these questions after just minutes ago finishing your new novel CLEAN, which captivated me, spoke to me, and made me cry on multiple occasions in public cafés even though I tried to hold myself together. It’s the story of a group of teens battling addiction in a rehab center. They’re each so distinct, and addicted to different things. I was so impressed by your use of voice in this book, how voices sometimes flashed from one to the next, paragraph after paragraph, and also how you focused, alternately, on two contrasting main characters, Kelly and Christopher. Why did you choose to tell this story in multiple voices? I imagine that was a daring and intimidating choice to face as a writer—and, wow, was it successful. Did one character come to you before the others did? Do you feel a deeper connection to any one voice?

The characters’ voices were really the most important thing to me. I knew from the beginning that the book would only work if the voices were absolutely distinct. I remember something a writing teacher told me about writing good dialogue—that the reader should always be able to tell who’s speaking without being told who it is. I approached the narration with that always in mind. After I wrote a draft, I went through each character’s narrations separately, often speaking them out loud to make sure their voices stayed consistent. I think writing in first person is very similar to method acting—the writer must BE the character to truly understand and communicate them.

I always knew I was going to tell this story in multiple voices. From the beginning, I really saw addiction as the main character in this book, and I wanted to explore all of its various incarnations. Each character has a distinct arc, but there is also a collective group arc. The nature of addiction is that it isolates people, while recovery requires community—my goal was to tell the story of the building of that community.

Originally, I planned on all five main characters—Olivia, Kelly, Christopher, Eva, and Jason—to be narrators, not just Kelly and Christopher. My agent (the lovely and brilliant Amy Tipton) convinced me to try focusing on two, so I picked Kelly and Christopher. I’m not exactly sure why I chose those two. I’d say it was a decision based on instinct rather than logic. But I think part of it was that they’re so different and represent a pretty wide range of people; they show that anyone’s capable of becoming an addict, not just the stereotypes we’re used to. In some ways, I think the three girls—Kelly, Olivia, and Eva—represent different parts of me at that age, different identities I tried on or were sometimes forced upon me. Christopher was kind of a mash-up of a few people from my past who I had loved very much. By far, the most difficult character for me to write was Jason, and I think he was also the most rewarding. I wanted to challenge myself to write the kind of boy I always blindly hated as a teenager, but I wanted to get beyond the stereotype to ultimately find compassion and love for him.

Amy Reed

CLEAN feels so raw and honest. And also hopeful. I’ve seen it compared to GO ASK ALICE, which you should know was a favorite of mine when I was thirteen and fourteen and I probably read it dozens of times, but CLEAN is so much more than that to me. It shines a light on addiction and what comes after and could truly be the book a teen struggling with addition most needs to read. What made you want to tell this story?

I wanted to explore the complexities of addiction and shed light on a subject many people think they understand, but don’t. People often talk about addiction in terms of good and bad, as if it is only a moral issue—like the D.A.R.E. police officers I remember visiting my elementary school classrooms. I remember them saying “Just Say No,” but I don’t remember them ever really telling us why. Even at that young age, I remember not trusting a word they said. In CLEAN, I wanted to show what can really happen when alcohol and drug use get out of hand, how easy it is for kids to become addicts, how quickly lives can fall apart, but also how it’s never too early (or too late) to make the decision to change. I don’t ever want to tell anyone not to do something because it’s “bad.” Maybe that’s enough for some people, but it never worked for me. I want to tell the stories of what can happen, let my readers figure out the cause and effect, and then trust them to make the choices on their own.

When did you first decide you wanted to write YA novels? Have you ever considered writing for adults or did you before this? (I ask, personally curious, because I didn’t start off wanting to write YA; I’d intended to write literary fiction for adults, but reading YA novels changed all that.)  So I wonder, what drew you to YA?

I definitely started out writing for an adult literary audience, first with short stories. I’ve said this in other interviews, but I didn’t even know the YA genre existed until after I wrote a pretty final draft of BEAUTIFUL and was actively looking for an agent. I always wanted to write about teens, but I never even considered that I could choose to write specifically for them as well. I was thinking about BEAUTIFUL as belonging in the world of my favorite novels about teens that were written for adults: The Lovely Bones, White Oleander, Push, Bastard Out of Carolina, etc. It wasn’t until an agent I queried actually told me my book was YA that I even knew about this world. Then it was like a lightbulb went on. I started obsessively researching the genre and reading all the best contemporary YA I could find. These were my people. This was my home. Ever since, the stories and voices that I’ve been most passionate about have all been YA. These are the stories that want me to tell them.

One of my favorite quotes of all time is one I’m sure you know, by Madeline L’Engle: “You have to write the book that want to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.” I don’t remember the exact quote, but I remember reading an interview with Sherman Alexie a couple years ago where he said something like “Writing for teens is just like writing for adults, except without all the bullshit.” I feel like I get to be honest in writing for teens in a way I couldn’t be writing for adults. I know I will want to write adult fiction again someday, but I’m pretty damn happy with what I’m doing right now.

Your novels never stray from reality, and in the best way possible. This reality is a searing view into things I remember facing as a teenager and seeing my friends face. So many YA authors are slipping out of reality and writing paranormal, or dystopian, etc. (I know I’ve slipped myself.) What keeps you grounded in the real? What do you love most about writing contemporary realistic novels?

Quite simply, I guess it’s because this is the world I know, the world I live in; these are my stories and the stories of people I love. I don’t know that I picked contemporary YA as my genre; I think it picked me. I just don’t think in paranormal terms; that world doesn’t exist in my head. Realistic dystopian, however, I could see myself writing (and maybe I am already…) My favorite dystopian novels (The Road, The Parable of the Sower, The Hunger Games trilogy, anything by Margaret Atwood) still rely on character more than anything, and when they rely on plot, it is with concepts firmly rooted in a deep understanding of the human condition, not just gimmicks and lazy science.

Having read both CLEAN and BEAUTIFUL, I’m a gigantic fan of yours and hope to read many more Amy Reed novels to come. What can we expect from you in the future? Can you talk a bit about upcoming novels?

My third YA novel, CRAZY, is finished and scheduled to release next summer, and I’ve seen a draft of the cover already. I love this book so much, I can’t even tell you. It’s a love story (yes, I actually wrote a love story) between two teens, told in emails they write to each other over the course of a few months. One of the characters suffers from bi-polar disorder, and the story is about them trying to make sense of her increasingly erratic and self-destructive behavior, in addition to everything else going on in their lives. What I’m working on now is kind of a secret at the moment, but it may have something to do with your last question…

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CLEAN was published by Simon Pulse just yesterday! Go to a store, go get it! For more about Amy and her book, visit her website or follow her on Twitter

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Thank you, Amy, for answering all my long and rambling questions—and for writing such beautiful, important books. As a fan of yours, it’s an honor to have you here on my blog.

And now for you… want to win a signed hardcover of Amy Reed’s new novel CLEAN? To enter, just leave a comment on this post answering this question:

What is an obstacle that you’re proud to have overcome?

Leave your answer to this question below, and you’re entered to win! (US only, sorry.)

 (I’m closing this giveaway on Monday, July 25 at 9:00 p.m. EST and I’ll reveal the winner soon after!)

All My Secrets Revealed in One Place

My tour has ended. I’m home at last.

Oh, wait… I never left. But my Imaginary Girls blog tour came to an end, and I revealed all the secrets I’m willing to set free in public. There are more, but I’m keeping them close for now. (Maybe for forever.)

If you missed any of my secrets, here they are in one place:

Secret #1: Imaginary Girls wasn’t supposed to be the title. I changed it at the last second when querying agents… and decided to keep it. [link]

Secret #2: I attempted—and failed—to write Imaginary Girls as a NaNoWriMo novel. [link]

Secret #3: I don’t always know my characters’ full names. And sometimes I steal names from questionable places. [link]

Secret #4: The town Ruby and Chloe live in is a real town… except when it’s completely made-up. [link]

Secret #5: I did swim in the reservoir that inspired the one in the novel, but not since I was a teenager. [link]

Secret #6: It wasn’t Ruby who lost the ring a boy gave her in the reservoir. It was me. [link] 

Secret #7: The path to Olive is one I’ve walked before. And the rowboat is one I’ve been in. [link]

Secret #8: Music shaped Imaginary Girls more than you know. [link]

Secret #9: I didn’t read YA novels as a teen, even though I write them now. [link]

Secret #10: I’ve written parts of this novel before. In fact, you could say I’ve been writing pieces of this novel for over ten years. [link]

And… as I’m putting together this post, I see that some of the giveaways are *still open*—which means if you’ve only happened upon this blog today, you still have a chance to win a signed hardcover of Imaginary Girls.

Giveaways still open to win signed books:

I hope you’ll enter the giveaways that are still going on!

And thank you again to the bloggers who hosted me and to Anna at Penguin for arranging this tour for Imaginary Girls.

One last thing. If you’re in New York City, I’ll be reading from Imaginary Girls at the Jefferson Market Library in Manhattan on Wednesday, July 6, for July NYC Teen Author Reading Night, along with other great authors. Say hi if you come! Make signals from the audience if I need to speak up or stop making a silly face. It’s free and starts at 6pm.