Please help me welcome Sarah Tomp! She’s stopping by for an interview as part of her blog tour for her YA contemporary, My Best Everything. Learn more about it below, check out her Q & A, and then be sure to enter her fantastic giveaway!
MY BEST EVERYTHING by Sarah Tomp
Pub. Date: March 3, 2015 | Publisher: Little, Brown BFYR
Q & A with Sarah Tomp
In the length of a tweet (140 characters), tell us about your book.
Good girl Lulu makes and sells moonshine whiskey to pay for college; but loses her heart, and maybe even her soul, along the way.
What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
I’ve always been a voracious and eclectic reader! I fell in love with a lot of books! But, as a teen, Paul Zindel was the author whose books I read and reread and reread again. I should also give a nod to the Flowers in the Attic series—those haunted me for years!
Is there a song you could list as the theme song for your book or any of your characters?
Definitely! “Mine Would Be You,” performed by Blake Shelton is the perfect sum-up of Lulu and Mason’s relationship.
From: “What’s your worst hangover, your best night yet?” to “Sun keeps shining, back road flying/Singing like crazy fools/Making up our own words/Laughing ’til it hurts” and on to “What’s the one regret you can’t work through?” and “Girl, can you tell me/The one thing you’d rather die than lose?/’Cause mine would be you/Mine would be you.” … it’s the exact right song for them.
As a kid, what did you want to be when you “grew up”?
I wanted to be a lot of things…each one based on whatever book I was reading at the time. I really wanted to be an orphan for a while—especially one with a secret rich kind-hearted relative. Mr. Popper made me consider being an explorer and penguin-trainer. During my Nancy Drew phase, I wanted to be a detective—as long as I had titian-colored hair and a cool sports car. And when I read Little Women I announced that I would be an author, like Jo. But that plan didn’t stick any more than the others. It wasn’t until much much later that I thought about trying to write my own stories.
What’s the best writing advice you’ve received?
“Trust your genius.” That was the brilliant Tim Wynne-Jones, one of my advisors at Vermont College of Fine Arts. So much of writing is simply showing up and putting in the time and hard work. If we continue to write, no matter how slowly, or blindly, eventually, a story will emerge. It can be stunning the way significant and important seeds are planted in the most mundane and arbitrary details. The subconscious is a powerful tool!
Do you have any pets?
I do! I have a lovely little mutt named Luna, of the oh-so-faithful “black dog” breed. She has been my reliable partner in revelations and insights. So many writerly problems have been solved during our daily walks. She is also a great believer in naps, one of my most important writer tricks.
When it comes to writing, are you a planner or pantser?
Both! Neither! I don’t know! It seems to change with every story I write. Basically, I want to be a plotter. I need to trick myself into believing that I know where the story is headed, but then it always changes course along the way. For My Best Everything, I thought I was writing a simple love story. I had pages and pages of longing and attraction. The problem was, Lulu and Mason didn’t have anything to do. Once I decided that we were going to make moonshine, I wrote an outline based on the story beats described by Blake Snyder’s screenwriting book, Save the Cat. After that, the details and nuances of scenes changed, but the basic outline stayed the same. Probably because there was an innate structure to the actual making of moonshine—things have to happen in a certain order.
Do your friends or enemies ever find themselves in your books?
Of course all characters come from our experiences and who we know, but I haven’t deliberately set out to write any characters based specifically on someone. However, when it came time to name Mason’s cousin, the antagonist, Seth was the first name that popped into my head. Coincidentally Seth is also the name of the first boy who hurt my feelings, maybe even broke my heart. For context, that was when I was in fifth grade and I can’t even remember his last name. But I sure remember how he made me feel when he “dumped” me. It was an awkward break-up seeing as we hadn’t actually talked to each other the entire week that we were going together… But it still hurt!
Where is your favorite place to write?
I almost always write at one end of my very long kitchen table. I do most of my initial drafting—the raw first writing—early in the morning when my house is still quiet. But I’m also quite good at ignoring background noise; meaning, for example, my family! True confession: I once got so caught up in writing I forgot to take my daughter to school—she was asleep, but…
About Sarah Tomp
Many thanks to Sarah for stopping by, and Rockstar Book Tour for having as part of the tour! Readers, be sure to follow the My Best Everything blog tour, and enter the giveaway through the Rafflecopter below.