A Chat with Morgan Matson

2015-09-26 17.03.04“One thing I really wanted to do with Since You’ve Been Gone was have a lot of different types of friendships. And that’s why Frank Porter has a girlfriend—I really wanted him [and Emily] to be straight up friends for most of the book. And Frank and Collin’s boy friendship. And friendship her brother. And her new friendship with Dawn—I sort of wanted to look at friendship from various angles.”

In Since You’ve Been Gone, one of the main character developments for Emily, the main character, is her coming out of her shell, which Matson said although it wasn’t something she didn’t directly deal with in high school, it’s something she dealt with in college, and also something we all deal with throughout our lives.

“I don’t know anyone who is confident in every situation…I feel like life is a series of falling back a few steps and having to find you confidence and move forward. But that you have to do it. That’s hopefully the takeaway from that book [Since You’ve Been Gone]—you can’t keep hiding behind trees at a party. It’s not going to work.”

Matson mentioned that it surprised her how much people expected Sloane to be a mean girl and want Emily to be in her shadow, but it was never her intention. Sloane and Emily’s friendship is the focus of the novel, and in the book Sloane is trying to get Emily to get out of her comfort zone and experience new things. “She doesn’t want a sidekick,” Matson said.

Morgan Matson is notorious for her incredible romantic interests, and Since You’ve Been Gone’s Frank Porter is no different. In the book, Frank Porter and Emily’s friendship is integral to the story, and to both of their developments as characters.

“It was important for her to become really good friends with Frank, because I think in her mind if there had been a girl she had suddenly been really good friends with then she would’ve been disloyal to Sloane. And so I think the Frank friendship takes both of them by surprise, and because neither of them were expecting they both get a lot out of it.”

Matson writes all her books in order, because it makes the most sense. “One of my teachers in college called it ‘the clothesline’ that you can hang the garments on, but you have a structure threaded through the book…That’s where the list idea came from. I wanted some structure. I made up the items on the list—and they were different in the first draft, I changed them as I wrote different drafts—but I wrote them all without any idea of how she was going to do them.”

In all of Matson’s books there’s a specific moment where it all comes together. In Since You’ve Been Gone, that moment is where you understand Sloane and her motivations as a character. Matson said that in her books, “no ever says what they feel for the entire book and then suddenly everything changes.”

Her next book is The Unexpected Everything which will come out May 16th of 2016, and the cover was just revealed this week on Lauren Conrad’s blog. Morgan pitched it as this:

“The book is about a girl named Andie who is a planner. She’s got her whole life figured out—she knows how it is with guys and school and friends. She’s got this prestigious internship at Johns Hopkins, and everything is going the way she wants it to. And her dad is a prominent Congressman, and right as the summer starts he becomes involves in this scandal and all her plans come crashing down. She loses her spot in the internship, she has to stay home all summer with her dad, who she hasn’t really lived in the same house with for a long time, and the only job she can find is walking way too many dogs. But she’s at home with her three best friends, and she meets a cute boy named Clark whose own plans have also gone a little awry and are in disarray. So over the course of the summer, she learns to embrace the summer that was the last thing she expected with the last person she expected, and get swept up in this letting go of her plans and this new way of thinking, but the question remains—what’s going to happen when the summer comes to an end?”

In The Unexpected Everything, readers will get to enjoy Matson’s first book about a full-fledged relationship occurring in the book. Matson discussed how it was a little out of her comfort zone, but it’s because in her books people have to get to know one another. “I really liked seeing them in a relationship together. It was an interesting challenge but it was one that I really liked.”

Look for Morgan Matson’s next book out in May—it sounds like it’ll be just as good as her past ones have been.

This interview was a part of the Texas Teen Book Festival’s press, but was conducted by me. You can read more of the coverage of the festival here.

An Interview with Jessica Brody, author of UNREMEMBERED!

I have the absolutely honor of sharing my interview with JESSICA BRODY, author extraordinaire, hilarious person, and very nice friend. Her new book UNREMEMBERED has come out recently (March) and I reviewed it last week (https://willasramblings.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/unremembered-book-review/) and I LOVED IT. So go find it in your local bookstore, but first, my interview with Jessica!

BOLD = WR Questions, NORMAL = Jessica

What inspired you to write UNREMEMBERED? How was it a different book to write from your past novels?

A few years ago, I read a newspaper article about a teen girl who was the sole survivor of a plane crash. I was instantly fascinated by the story. Namely because they had no idea why she survived when no else did. I started brainstorming reasons as to why she was so lucky. One particular reason (a rather intricate, science-fiction-inspired one) stuck in my mind and refused to leave. It continued to grow and blossom until I had an idea for an entire trilogy. A trilogy that starts with a mysterious plane crash and a single survivor.

This book was so different than my usual contemporary comedies which made it a really fun challenge. I basically had to create a new world with new rules and new technology. What’s nice about contemporary is the rules are already set up for you. I know how THIS world works, so you can just tell a story about a character’s emotional journey. But having to also incorporate world building elements was a challenge. As was the fact that I was setting up an entire series. Fortunately I knew where I wanted books 2 and 3 to go so I could plant things in book 1 that would pay off in further books, but having to juggle ALL of that in my mind sometimes made me feel like I was going crazy! But hopefully people enjoy it and that makes it worth it in the end!

What was your experience writing UNREMEMBERED?

The most challenging aspect of writing this book was managing all the reveals and clues. As you know, the book has a TON of spoilers! It seems like every chapter has a new reveal or clue about the mystery of who Seraphina is. I’m sure as a blogger you run into the same challenge of telling people about the book (how much do I tell and how much do I let them figure out for themselves!) This was very difficult for me to. Managing all the reveals. When to reveal what and when. I probably moved stuff around a zillion times. And every time you move one reveal, the rest fall like dominos.

Do you listen to music while writing? If so, what was the UNREMEMBERED playlist?

I usually have the most boring answers for these types of questions since I NEVER listen to music while I write! I simply can’t do it! I usually listen to white noise tracks which are basically just waterfall sounds. And although they work really well in keeping me focused they make for VERY boring book playlists!

Why did you choose “Seraphina” to be the name of your main character?

I’ve ALWAYS loved that name. Ever since Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner named their first baby Seraphina, I became OBSESSED with it! So I reverse engineered the name so it fit into the book. Because the character’s real name is SERA (which is actually an acronym, not a name) and then her nickname became Seraphina because of her fiery personality. 🙂

How did you get “into the shoes” of Seraphina when she didn’t know what things like computers were? Was that difficult?

SO difficult! Especially after writing so many contemporary novels where pop culture references are such integral parts of the storytelling. To get into the headspace of an amnesiac, I watched a lot of documentaries and movies about amnesia. But to achieve that extra authenticity of a truly “blank slate,” as strange as it sounds, as I was writing, I tried to look at the world around me as though I were an alien visiting the planet for the first time. Which is a game I often play with myself. I call it the “alien test.” If aliens came to Earth, which things about our life would seem really weird to them? What would they think was cool and “inventive” and what would they swore made no sense at all? This is very much how Violet sees the world.

 Are you excited about writing the series of UNREMEMBERED? I know I’m excited to read it! It’s going to be epic!

THANKS! I hope it’s epic! Haha! I just finished writing book 2, UNFORGOTTEN and I’m really excited about it! It’s actually a very different book than the first. And because Seraphina now knows mostly all there is to know about her past and where she came from, I was able to play more with the consequences of this knowledge and how it affects her ability to have a normal life. My editor says she actually likes the second book better than the first! I’m of course, too close to the story to make such claims. But it was really fun to write!

How would you describe your book in two words (and “unremembered” can’t be one of them!)

The UK Edition!

Memory Manipulation!

What has the release of UNREMEMBERED been like? Has it been different from your past books?

Oh gosh, it’s been a blast! I’ve had SUCH fantastic support from my publisher and bloggers and readers and booksellers! I can’t believe how awesome everyone has been! Amazon and Apple named the book a “best book of March” and the book went into its third printing only 3 weeks after release! The response has been tremendous and I couldn’t be happier! SO THANK YOU!!!!

UNREMEMBERED really surprised me – it was such a departure from your past books! What made you want to try a different genre? 

I think I just got bored with playing by the rules of the real world. I was eager to stretch my creative muscles and try something new and different and challenging. Plus, I’ve always been a huge sci-fi fan so this seemed like the obvious direction for me to go.  I’m happy to hear that it surprised you! That was my goal! =)

And finally, what do you like to ramble about?

Well, if you ask my husband he’ll tell you that I love to ramble about what’s happening on my favorite TV shows. I get a little obsessive about television and when you get me started, watch out! I can’t stop!

Thank you so much Jessica for agreeing to be interviewed! It was so fun 🙂 

Go pick up a copy of UNREMEMBERED today, and all of Jessica Brody’s other books – they’re all fabtastic!

Big Announcements on the Blog!

ATBF OVERLOAD

Austin Teen Book Festival.

One word: HOLYCOWMANITWASSOAMAZING

That wasn’t technically one word, but you got the point. It was awesome. Totally and thoroughly awesome. I met so many cool authors (and interviewed a total of NINE! But all with Meredith, so some of those she conducted… But I had to hold the camera steady for the entire time!) and got free books for working the event. It was just all and all so darn awesome. Some highlights:

MET RACHEL FREAKING COHN AND INTERVIEWED HER: http://youtu.be/1QwiVNgF2fM

Met John Corey Whaley – and he’s super funny in person! : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZCH6_WiRKHA&feature=share&list=ULZCH6_WiRKHA (with Meredith)

Finally met Leigh Bardugo, who is even sweeter in person: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yarypzl-zME&feature=share&list=ULYarypzl-zME

why yes, that is a Charlie McDonnell gif.

Got a picture with Ally Carter! OMG! : (interview with Meredith) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T8SroTMjSKc&feature=share&list=ULT8SroTMjSKc

And Marissa Meyer, author of Cinder:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6GcAbkf_Rk&feature=share&list=ULo6GcAbkf_Rk

Looking for more backstage videos, or just coverage of the fest? Check out the PRESS section of the website here, or the Youtube page here. And then there are some awesome photos on the ATBF Facebook page here. I may be posting some more of me and authors later – there are some on my Twitter page as well!

So all in all, I loved ATBF. For all of you who couldn’t make it, I hoep you make it next year! It’s a great event with a great line-up.

TGIF {49}: Choose Your Next Read

Choose Your Next Read: How do you go about choosing 
what you read next? Do you have a schedule you follow, or do you read whatever makes you happy at the moment?

This is my current to-read pile, to the left. (Over there <— ) The books are organized by publication date, and I usually take my pick on what to read next. But, a kink to this system is for review books, which is a different pile not shown here. Those I read in order of priority (to both my reading them and to the publisher).

I have this system so I get through the books I must read first, and then when I move onto the books I should read, I know where to start. Because that pile up there is somewhat daunting. I’ll explain the stacks for you, while I’m at it. The first is from TLA back in April. (I know. I only tooks those books out of the bag when I came back from BEA.) The second is ARCs from BEA, and the third is hardcovers (mostly signed) from BEA. There’s a tiny stack that can’t be seen in this picture with books for giveaways that I got at BEA as well!

So that’s how I organize my to-reads.

NOTE: Ginger is canceling the TGIF Meme until further notice (I know, you’re sad! ME TOO!) so I’m still figuring something to go on Fridays. I like this meme because I think it’s a nice celebration of Fridays! If you have any ideas, leave them in the comments!

This feature is hosted by the fab Ginger of GReads! Go check her out here.

TGIF {48}: Pimp Your Review

Pimp Your Review: Feature a favorite book review you’ve 
written in the past that you feel deserves more love! 

     

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe | Goodreads | Review: Audition

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green | Goodreads | Review: TFiOS

The Sweetest Spell by Suzanne Selfors | Goodreads | Review: Sweetest Spell

Check them out! They’re some of my favorite books – two a bit less well known, one that’s a bestseller! All fantastic.

This feature is hosted by the fab Ginger of GReads! Go check her out here.

TGIF {47}: Unexpected Books

Unexpected Books: Which books did you have reservations about reading, but ended up loving once you did?

Partials by Dan Wells | Goodreads

I love, love, loved this one. I wasn’t expecting it to be nearly so addicting, or to make my knowledge of science grow as much as it did. Highly, highly recommend. 

 

 

The Immortal Rules byJulie Kagawa | Goodreads

I had never read any Julie Kagawa before this one, and I didn’t really know what to expect. I had heard really good things about it, but it by passed every expectation I had. Favorite vamp novel ever.

My Review: The Immortal Rules

 

Audition by Stasia Ward Kehoe | Goodreads

I loved this book so much. It gave me a new respect for books in verse, and even inspired me to write a short story that might become a novel! Somewhere along the way, this book hit a chord in me and I adored it. 

My review: Audition

 

This feature is hosted by the fab Ginger of GReads! Go check her out here.

TGIF {46}: Christmas in July

Christmas in July: If Santa were to come down your chimney in the middle of summer, which books would you want him to leave for you under the tree?

The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner | Goodreads

Dear Santa, I would love this book because I’ve been wanting to read it for a while! The synopsis looks fab, and the cover is brilliant. Please Santa?

 

 

In Honor by Jessi Kirby | Goodreads

Dear Santa, I’ve been wanting to read this book and I’ve heard so many fantastic things about it – especially from Ginger and Katie! Please Santa?

Once by Anna Carey | Goodreads

Dear Santa, I would love this one because I loved Eve and I’ve been waiting to get this one! Eve is a character I’m really interested in reading more about, and I hope this next installment will shine more light into her life. Please Santa?

Endlessly by Kiersten White | Goodreads

Dear Santa, I love this series. Like flat out love, so please, please, please, gift this book to me for Christmas! I’d love you forever. Wait. I already do! So, please Santa?

This feature is hosted by the fab Ginger of GReads! Go check her out here.

 

TGIF {45}: Throwback TGIF

Recommend It: Which book from the last 10 you’ve read 
would you recommend to a friend?

love love love Jessica Brody, and I loved her new book! It’s hilarious, fresh, and throws in life lessons every once and a while.

It’s fantastic.

And definitely worth picking up! Check out my review here, and look out for an interview with Jessica! We’re setting it up now.

Happy Friday!

What’s your favorite book right now?

This feature is hosted by the fab Ginger of GReads! Go check her out here.

 

TGIF {43}: Comfort Books

Comfort Reads: Which books do you go to for comfort & familiarity?  Is there a type of book you seek out when you’re needing that extra bit of comfort in your life?

If you are frequent visitor to my blog, and have read a few of my TGIFs that involve “favorites” than I think you know what my answer to this question is.

Two words: Jellicoe Road.

This book makes me feel all warm and fuzzy and totally disconnected from the outside world. That’s the kind of book I love – one that pulls you into the deep depths of the story and tugs on your heart and makes you yell, “JUST KISS ALREADY!” and makes you flip pages really fast. That book for me is Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta, the Queen of YA. (At least,

in my opinion.)

I do have another one, though! The only other book that I’ve read more than once and love it every time, and is by the King of YA. (Again, in my opinion. There should be an abbreviation for that… IMO? that soundsweird. Shoot off in comments. I’m curious.) Back to the topic at hand.

Paper Towns.

This book makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time. I adore Ben and his crazy weirdness, Margot and her spur of the momentness, Q and his deep thoughts that sometimes aren’t as cool as he hopes (doesn’t that happen to us all?), and Radar with Black Santa house. This book is YA and real life mixed into one book with some cool plot points. I wish this book was my life. I want to be an amateur spy (I don’t know if that’s what he is in the book exactly, but let’s go with it) and go on a road trip with my friends and have to time it down to the second. Let’s do it, buddies. You with me?

What are your Comfort Books? Mine seem to come in handy during stressful times, specifically standardized testing… *shudders* Happy thoughts for the summer, and….

Happy Friday!

TGIF {42}: Best I’ve Read So Far

Best I’ve Read So Far: We’re half way through the year (crazy how time flies!), which top 3 books are the best you’ve read so far this year?

I’ve read so many books this year, it’s insane. I’ve read 76 books, according to my Goodreads challenge! And so, choosing three books that are my favorite is practically impossible. But I succeeded.

The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour

 I actually didn’t review this one, but I should’ve. It’s so amazing. Love love love loved it!

 Partials by Dan Wells

 This book really surprised me. It was action packed and fast-paced, but it was also had a very medical direction that I loved!

 The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

By far one of the best books I’ve ever read. Emotional, heart-breaking, real, and poignant. I have to quote Augustus Waters on this one:

“My thoughts are stars I cannot fathom into constellations.”

What are your top three of the year so far? Tell me! I want to read them and then get book nerdy with you!

Happy Friday!