INTERVIEW WITH: Huntley Fitzpatrick :-D

As part of this whole interviewing a series of AWESOME authors thing, we are continuing with the one and only HUNTLEY FITZPATRICK. (author of My Life Next Door)  I mean, are we lucky or what? Let’s get this thing goin!…

So, Huntley, let me ask, what was your inspiration for My Life Next Door? 
I’ve always been a people-watcher, and I guess always a story-teller too. My father and I used to play a game when we were waiting in the car for my mom outside various department stores (she loved to shop—a gene that missed me completely), imagining the life-stories or relationships of people we saw walking by or leaving the store.  Some images stick in your head, and one that stayed in mine was a couple I saw walking on Boston Common. She was blond and pretty, he kept ducking his head down to listen more closely to what she was saying. They looked happy to be together, like friends as well as boyfriend and girlfriend. When I started to write a book about a girl who watched and wondered about other lives than her own, I wanted to be sure she found a boy who “got” that, who watched and wondered back.  And I’ve always rewritten, if only in my head, stories that end sadly.  So there’s a little Romeo and Juliet in there, too.
Did the story turn out how you originally had it plotted inside your head?
I can’t think of any story I’ve ever written that’s turned out the way I originally thought it would.  It’s one of the most fun things about writing, taking an unexpected turn and thinking, ‘Wait, how’d I wind up here?’ and then realizing that was where you were always meant to be.
Jase.  He’s pure amazingness.  Who do you see him as in a movie version? What about Samantha? 

This is a tough one for me. I have this clear picture of both of them in my head,and they don’t look like anyone else. When I had to cast it a while back, I had Jared Padelecki and Amanda Seyfried (in her Mamma Mia phase). But now, I guess the closest I can get is Brenton Thwaites and Imogen Poots.

What kind of family did you grow up with?  More like the Reed’s or the Garret’s? 
Neither, and both. I had a very warm, talkative and close family growing up but it was more on the Samantha end of the scale ‘socially’, I guess.
How has it felt to get such glowing reviews of your debut novel?
You know how when you see the Oscars, actors always say “it’s an honor just to be nominated” and you wonder if they are telling the truth or if they will be really cranky and kick their dog if they don’t actually win an award? Now I know they’re telling the truth, because being published is like that for me. Unbelievable. Being published and knowing people are actually reading it?  Surreal. And far enough beyond my wildest dreams to be completely satisfying.
What are some things people don’t know about you? 
The essay that got me into the college of my choice described my outstanding talents as making an awesome tuna melt and giving a great massage. Am still wondering why that worked.  I once kissed a stranger on a train.  Other than that, like Jase in MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, I’m pretty much a ‘what you see is what you get’ person, rather than a creature of vast and alluring mystery. (MY thought: Oh my God, too funny! And I love that what you see is what you get persona!)
Do you have any plans for your next book? (Oh please, please say yes!)
 I do. My next signed book, now called WHAT I THOUGHT WAS TRUE,  is set in the same general area as MLND, but takes place in an Island summer community, where the heroine thinks she will be able to spend the summer forgetting about the boy who was her Biggest Mistake, only to find he’s working right on the Island as the local Yard Boy. And that he has no intention of being forgotten. (MY thought: Uh, sounds amazing!)
So, Massachusetts.  How does your hometown compare with the setting of My Life Next Door?
Well, I live in Massachusetts in a small, coastal town now, which is similar to the setting of the book. But I grew up on the Connecticut shore. Stony Bay, where My Life Next Door takes place, borrows a little from both, but is more like my old hometown, especially in the slightly touristy-preppie atmosphere.
Ever see yourself writing something crazily, insanely different, like .. zombies eat boy and girl in love while a mermaid watches and an angel hangs overhead deciding their fates? (Yes, this is how my brain works!) 
Whoa. What a great idea. I would love to bust out of my comfort zone like that…I’ve experimented around with writing a mystery, and a historical romance set in the time of Richard III and a New Adult romance…but YA, at least for now, fits me like Cinderella’s slipper. (MY thought:  I sure do agree!)
Connect with Huntley: Twitter | Web | Goodreads
View My Life Next Door on Goodreads HERE.
Purchase My Life Next Door: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Author Interview: TRISH DOLLER :)

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce to you today, Trish Doller!  Trish is the author of Something Like Normal and she has generously agreed to answering all of my insane questions today!  Let’s give her a warm welcome, shall we!?
Trish: Thanks for having me. I’m honored!
Trish, may I ask where it is you got the idea for Something Like Normal?
Trish: Back in 2003, I was working as a reporter for my hometown newspaper and was assigned to interview a Marine home on leave after being deployed to Iraq. When I met him, it struck me how young he was and that he’d experienced a lot for a nineteen-year-old…sleeping in the desert with a rock for a pillow, wearing a special uniform to protect against chemical weapons (which also meant not showering for a month), and having to kill someone. I found that out because I plowed right ahead and asked. Only later did I learn that it’s not always something Marines want to talk about. In any case, he stuck with me for a long time and I remembered him when I started writing Travis.  

Did you need to do much research for this book? (because there were some CRAZY details in there!)
Trish: I did quite a bit of research. I read books on war, Afghanistan, the Marine Corps, and post-traumatic stress disorder. I also watched a lot of YouTube videos–most of which were shot by the Marines themselves–of Marines in combat and goofing around, downloaded a ton of pictures that I used as reference, and printed up dozens of articles about the 3rd Battalion/6th Marines, who were in Afghanistan while I was writing. Also, I joined an online forum for Marines, where I was able to ask questions about the Marine Corps and Afghanistan. 
Pretend real quick we’re filming the MOVIE for Something Like Normal (swoooon!) who would play your ideal Travis and Harper?
Trish: There is a stuntman named Riley Harper who looks almost exactly like the Travis in my head. I don’t know if he acts, but he’d be my first choice. If not, I think Bobby Campo would be a great Travis. As for Harper, Brie Larson is the only actress I’ve ever pictured. 

So when you are not writing, what can we expect to find you doing?
Trish: Well, I have a day job, so you’d find me working in a Very Large Bookstore in the teen/kids department. I also spend a bit of time in the Florida Keys, and I’ll be taking diving lessons in August, so look for me underwater! 
What is your every day must have? (Mine is coffee, I’m an addict!)
Trish: I need a Coke (or Pepsi) in the morning to get me jumpstarted. And I have to spend some time on tumblr every day or I go through withdrawal.  

What do you enjoy reading, and who are some of your favorite authors?
Trish: I like reading YA best, and my favorites include Melina Marchetta, Kirsty Eagar, and Cath Crowley. I recently did a book swap with Kirsty and I totally fangirled out when I received a signed copy of her book, Raw Blue, which is probably my favorite YA novel. I also love Neil Gaiman, Megan McCafferty’s Jessica Darling series, and Diana Peterfreund’s Secret Society Girl series.  

What do you have in store for us next? We are WAITING on more! (And I for one, can’t wait!)
Trish: My next book is called ALL THAT WAS LOST and hopefully I will have something official to say about it soon. What I can tell you is that it’s about a seventeen-year-old girl named Callie, who returns to her home in Tarpon Springs, Florida, after being away for a long time. That’s very vague, but it includes Greek culture, sponge diving, and a very hot guy.  

You brought a very realistic feel to the life of a Marine, and what it is they experience; do you have personal experience with the Marines?
Trish: Aside from the Marine I interviewed back in 2003, I didn’t really know any Marines. But I’ve gotten to know quite a few via the forum I mentioned, including the Marine to whom the book is dedicated. He was a huge help in answering questions about Afghanistan–because he is a member of the 3/6 Marines–and his real life experience as a bomb dog handler directly inspired a part of Something Like Normal. 

Your writing is amazing, and having a male lead in YA is very rare! Was there ever a point when you were not going to write Something Like Normal from Travis’ perspective? (or even switch narrators)
Trish: Thank you! The book I originally started writing was going to be about a girl who was an outcast after having been branded a “slut” when she was younger. Travis was meant to be the boy who trashed her reputation, now grown up and kind of an outcast himself after being wounded in Afghanistan. Her story stalled out, so I attempted to write from both perspectives. When Travis took up residence in my head, he made it very clear it was his story, not hers, so I switched to his perspective and never looked back. And while some of her story carried over into Harper’s life, the original main character never made it into the final book.

You’re on an island, right.  You can only bring three things, what do you bring?
Trish: I suppose it would be cheating to bring a boat, right? So I’ll bring a fishing pole, a book (probably Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman), and my husband. (And I’ll hope he thinks to bring a boat.)

TRISH, thank you SO SO much for being here today! As a thank you to our readers, I am going to be giving away a copy of Something Like Normal!  I hope you will come back soon Trish, it was a pleasure having you!
Trish: The pleasure was mine. I’d love to visit again, and good luck to everyone who enters!

Connect With Trish: Facebook | Twitter | Web
Buy Something Like Normal! : Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Seriously, Something Like Normal made me cry, made me happy, and then it made me want to dive right in and help Travis! If you haven’t pick it up! Or enter to win a copy below!

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