During this week and next, contemporary YA authors Stephanie Perkins, Gayle Forman and Nina LaCour will be touring through California and beyond to spend time with readers on the YA or Bust! Tour. Today, the authors stop by to chat about the tour, some of the burning questions that they frequently answer from fans and give us a hint about what’s coming next!
Gayle, Nina and Stephanie
Gayle: I'm SO psyched to be touring with you two. Not only do I really dig you ladies, but I LOVE your books. I'm a sucker for a good, real, romance/coming-of-age story, and both of your recent books have those in spades. I want to know how you know a romance is working. Not cheesy but real and special. For me, I know because I get that good shivery feeling, almost like falling in love, as I'm writing. I really know I'm on the right track when I want to do naughty things with my boy characters. Is that wrong? If it is, I don't want to be right!
Nina: For me, it's all about the anticipation. When the characters start talking and I only have the slightest idea of what they'll say to each other before the words appear on my laptop screen. In the best moments, even I want them to stop talking and start kissing. But it's my job to make everyone wait. That's one thing (of many) that I love about the books you two write: all the way through them I feel like, Is now going to be the moment? Please say yes!
Steph: I know exactly what you mean, and I agree, that's something we all do well. The shivers, the anticipation, the thrill of the wait. As an author, I take pleasure (heh!) in building toward those big romantic moments, teasing them out, because it's also what I enjoy as a reader. I know it's working on the page in the same way you do, Gayle. Major dirty thoughts! But more than that, I find myself genuinely falling in love with the boy. If I can't make myself fall in love, how can I ever expect that of my reader? In fact, sometimes I take this so far that when I begin my next book, I feel like I'm cheating! Has this ever happened to you?
Gayle: It's so funny you mentioned cheating. When I finished If I Stay, I thought I was through with the characters. I started writing an entirely new book. But Adam and Mia, they kept waking me up in the middle of the night, yelling in my ear. They weren't through with me and there came a point that, by ignoring them, I felt like I was wronging them (note to self: they are fictional). So I wound up having to write the continuation of the story — through Adam's POV this time — in Where She Went. But once I finished that, I felt like I could move on to new boys (wait, I mean books) without feeling like I was cheating. That's how I knew the story was complete.
Readers keep asking me if there will be a third Adam and Mia story. There won't. I love fans for asking, but I think if people want to continue their story, they can do in their heads, just as I have done with Colby and Jasper's European travels, though I do also love that you, Steph, give us a peak of Anna and Étienne in Lola and the Boy Next Door. It's such a treat, that. Maybe you're nicer to your readers than I am to mine. Though I will say, there is bonus matter in the paperback of WSW that offers a glimpse of the future of Adam and Mia, and while on our YA or Bust tour, I'm happy to discuss what I think Mia and Adam's future looks like. I just won't write it.
Nina: I love it when readers want to know what happens after the books are over. It's such a compliment! One of my all time favorite fan emails was from a 13-year-old girl who told me that she loved Hold Still but had really hoped Caitlin and Taylor would "do it." I told her that I was pretty sure they would; it was only a matter of time. And I received so many letters asking for a spin-off novel about Dylan and Maddy, which wouldn't work because there was no conflict there — they were just madly in love. But those requests are part of the reason I'm writing a girl-girl romance right now. I'm days away from finishing the first draft, and you both are so right about falling in love with the romantic leads — I currently have a mad crush on mine.
Steph: Yeah, every week I receive emails requesting a sequel to Anna and the French Kiss, and — as great a compliment as that is — it won’t happen. Like Dylan and Maddy, Anna and Étienne are in love! True love! The tension (and, therefore, story) is gone. But they appear as minor characters in Lola’s story, because it was still fun for me to revel in the success of that relationship.
Several familiar faces also appear in next year’s release, Isla and the Happily Ever After, which will be the final companion novel. I’ve kept mum about whom, but perhaps those are more secrets to spill on our YA or Bust tour!
Want to know if the YA or Bust! Tour is coming to a city near you? Click here. And for more genre coverage be sure to check out RT’s Everything Young Adult Page!