Today we have Jennifer Salvato Doktorski here for an author interview! This interview is part of the blog tour for her newest release, The Summer After Me and You.
1. I love books set in the summer, like How My Summer Went Up in Flames and The Summer After You and Me. What makes you want to set your stories in the summer?
2. If you had to pair up your main character Lucy with any other character from any other YA book (either romantically or as a friend), who would it be and why?I didn’t plan it that way, but this is my third novel set in the summer! When you write a book, you spend a lot of time “living” your story. The characters feel like real people, and the setting feels like a real place. This particular story was written between September and March and I have to say, as the months turned colder, it was nice to be living at the warm Jersey Shore—inside my head at least. There were many times that I forgot there was snow on the ground until I looked up from my laptop and remembered it was winter.
Well, Lucy and Sam from Famous Last Words would definitely be friends. They’re both serious, smart girls who are more focused on college and careers than boys. Spencer from How My Summer Went Up in Flames is one of my favorite characters. I love him for his big heart and unabashed nerdiness and I’m still rooting for him to find his soul mate. Too bad Lucy and Spencer never met. I can picture a scenario where the pair really hits it off at smart camp.
3. How do you go about naming your characters?
4. For any aspiring writers out there - what's the best writing advice you've ever received?My daughter picked Lucy’s name for this novel, so I have to give her the credit! Most times though, I pick names that I like or seem to fit the personality of the character. When I was choosing a name for my daughter, I made a short list of faves. The names I didn’t pick have ended up as characters, which is fitting because in a lot of ways, those characters come to feel like my children. Rosie in How My Summer Went Up in Flames is named for the Springsteen song “Rosalita” and Andrew Clark, from The Summer After You and Me, is named after my first friend in kindergarten. We both took the wrong bus home from school on the first day and I’ve never forgotten him.
5. Without spoiling anything, could you tell us what was your favorite scene to write in The Summer After Me and You?One of my favorite books about craft is Stephen King’s On Writing. I re-read all or parts of it all the time. Here is my favorite quote from that book:
“Don’t wait for the muse…Your job is to make sure the muse knows where you’re going to be every day from nine ‘til noon or seven ‘til three.”
Even before I was lucky enough to get paid to write fiction, I treated writing like a full-time job. The other piece of advice that I always come back to is from Meg Cabot. I read an interview with her in Writer’s Digest in which she said that she writes about things that she wished happened to her. It’s something I keep in mind with all my characters.
My favorite scene to write was the one that formed the basis of this novel. It’s the scene that shows what happened between Lucy and her longtime summer neighbor and crush, Connor Malloy, on the day before Superstorm Sandy hits the Jersey Shore. It was written before most of the book and rewritten more than any other scene.
Make sure to check out all the other stops of the blog tour, and keep your eye out for The Summer After Me and You, which was released May 1st. Here's what it's all about:
Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.
Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances?