Thursday, March 23, 2017

Interview with Authors of Kinda, Sort Of

Hey guys! I've got another author interview, but this time it's for co-authors! Kate Luke and Rachel Rozet are the authors of the YA book, Kinda, Sort Of, which was published by The Polyethnic Publishing last month! While I haven't had the chance yet to read it myself, the book has gotten some pretty great reviews so far! If you're curious and want to check them out, and/or add this book to your Goodreads shelf, here's a link to make it easier:

Before I give you the blurb for this book, just want to give you all a reminder that there's currently a giveaway going on a few posts down! It ends with the week, so don't miss out on your chance to win a free copy of the YA Sci-Fi book, Understanding the Stars!

Okay, now, onto the blurb for Kinda, Sort Of:

Camryn Moore & Jason Porter. Their names are always kinda said together, in a pair, just like that. After all, they are sort of a pair; always together. But, not together together. They’re best friends, and have been since they were 5 years old. However, in their junior year at Richmond High, these two are always being told to become a couple, or that they are a couple really. Everyone thinks and says so- even the teachers. Kinda sick and tired of the teasing, Camryn and Jason sort of come up with a plan. But, will their plan benefit them in the way they think it will? Or could it leave them both in an emotional mess, with only b r o k e n pieces of a friendship? Together, they find out the hardships of being friends, the kinks in their relationship, and something not noticed before, that could make it all worthwhile… Well… Kinda, Sort of.

* * *
Ironically, my best friend is a guy, so I totally understand where Camryn and Jason are coming from. But we actually are just friends, and now we're old enough to know to just ignore it. Actually, now we're old enough that people no longer feel the need to try and push us into something else. So that's a plus to growing up, I guess! ;) Anyway, the interview! Kate and Rachel were both nice enough to answer a few questions, and to make it easier on all of us, I color coded their responses. So, Kate is in blue, and Rachel is in purple! Just a heads up, they didn't answer these questions together, so there are times when their responses might seem repetitive! :)

Here we go...

When did you two decide to write a book together, and why?

We were both 13 years old when we decided to write the book together; for us, it was the summer between 7th and 8th grade. (Now we are 10th graders and are now both 16 years old). Rachel came to me with a few paragraphs and this very basic idea of two best friends dating. She said how she thought it would be a cool idea for a book, and wished someone would write it. That’s when I stepped in, and said we should write it. I came up with the character names and descriptions, I wrote our more detailed plot out, and KSO was born.

One night, I had this idea for a story and started writing it down as fast as I could on my computer. Later that night, Kate facetimed me for help on our math homework, and I told her about my idea from a novel. She started giving me really good advice about the story and helped me develop the first chapter. I emailed her the draft for more help and then we decided that we should both work on it as co-authors
Are there some complications with having a co-author? Was there ever anything that you guys didn't agree on, as far as the story/plot goes?

For the most part, we didn’t really disagree on the plot/story, which was good. After that basic first idea, I wrote the plot and conflicts, and Rachel liked it, so we went from there. There were some complications with finding time to write together. It was tough when I would set time aside to write a chapter, and Rachel would be too busy to look at it because of our hectic schedules.

Being co-authors definitely had its rough moments. There were times when we were writing that we struggled with compromising on our ideas, but eventually, we created something that we both agreed on. Nothing too big in the story comes to mind, but mainly we would disagree on minor things, like specific similes or descriptions. Overall, it was still really fun to collaborate.
Where did you get the idea for Kinda, Sort Of?

As I mentioned above, Rachel came to me with this idea of two best friends dating, and I instantly was hooked. I figured we needed to expand it more than just that, to make for a more interesting story, so I put my thinking cap on and came up with the rest. Looking back, I think I subconsciously used my experiences of having “guy” best friends, and being almost pressured to ‘like’ and or date them, to come up with parts of the story. Although neither Rachel, nor I, have ever exactly dated one of our guy best friends, I know, at least for me, that I imagined what it might have been like if that ever happened.

The story itself came to my mind after reading another romance novel and my own social life. A bunch of my friends hung around boys and were told that they should go out with their guy friends. Sometimes they would complain about it a lot and ask me for advice on how to deal with it, so it helped me spark up a story based around that plot line. I didn’t start that much of the story besides the basic structure before Kate joined in and we built the main characters and details of the book.
Is this the first book you've written? If not, tell us more about past projects. If so, are you planning on writing again?

This is the first completed manuscript I’ve ever written, although there have been other projects I’ve worked on in the past. It seems as if I have always had a pen and notebook in my hand! Writing stems from something within your soul, I think, it just happens because it’s a part of you. For me, it is the most natural feeling in the world to have an idea consume me, to essentially bring itself to life from my mind. Because of that, and because of the completeness writing brings me, I most certainly plan to write again! In fact, I’m excited to share that I’ve started four actual projects, and am unbelievably happy with how they are turning out thus far!

This is the first book that I have written, and as of right now, I am writing a new novel. It is a whole new premise, so nothing of it relates to KSO. I’m almost halfway done with my first draft, and have mentioned it a couple of times to my friends, but so far, I haven’t really released anything significant about my new project. Personally, I have the plot planned out, my chapters, the characters, and the title, as well as a couple of cover ideas. I’m planning on having it published possibly next year.
How long did it take you to write the first draft? Was there ever a time where one, or both, of you had writers block? If so, how did you get past that?

It took around a year to finish the first 16-chapter draft, from when we first started. Now, the book has 24 chapters, and that draft was completed after another year of submissions and feedback. During the writing of the first draft, if one of us ever had writer’s block, we’d simply pass it off to the other to continue.

I’d say it took about 6-8 months to build our first draft. It was relatively short compared to what it is now (KSO now is about 24 chapters with an epilogue, and our first draft was 16). There were times when we had writers block, so that’s when we turned to our peers and asked what they thought the story needed. The advice helped us spark new ideas for future chapters, and when one of us got stuck, the other would continue writing.
Who is your favorite character from the book, and who was your favorite character to write? They aren't necessarily the same, but if they are, that's fine!

Huh, this is a tough question! Do I have to pick just one? Haha. I guess I’d go with Jason because he is such a goofball, yet is completely endearing all the same. He is super caring and protective over Camryn, as well as is the model gentlemen (most of the time, lol). Chivalry is something you don’t see very often today, so I like that Jason is always very polite and respectful. Not to mention, he has some inner sass that I just had to incorporate, and is hilarious! Jason is pretty much just, excuse my cliché-ness, the perfect guy. My favorite character to write was probably Camryn. I didn’t know it at the beginning of the process, but I spent so much time in Camryn’s head, so much time of her in mine, she became a part of me. I think that’s why I subconsciously wrote Camryn to be a lot like myself. It wasn’t intentional by any means, but when you are around someone so much, I think something is bound to rub off. Writing Camryn came very easily- she has similar values and interests that I share. I was always daydreaming in class and coming up with scenarios before falling asleep, of her and her life. Camryn is sensitive and strong, and she made a good literary best friend when I needed to take my mind off things. In a way, she’ll always be my first real character that I created, that I loved.

My favorite character from the book is probably Jason, because he has so many different layers in his personality. I loved writing about his interactions with his friends, his dreams about his dad, and his conversations with Camryn. The way he interacts with different people, to me, really shows how extraverted he is and helps shape is character through many tough situations. Plus, I thought it was fun to write about a boy being a hopeless romantic!

Name one of your all time favorite characters from any book.

This is like the equivalent of asking me which limb I’d like to lose! I have to say Percy Jackson because he was truly my first literary love. He is funny and brave and is an unconventional hero for all the right reasons. Growing up, rereading his story innumerable times, he made me believe that despite anything going on in my life, I could change the world, and be someone else’s hero one day too.

There’s so many to choose from, but right now, probably Olly Bright from “Everything, Everything”. I just connect to him so well.
If you do plan on continuing to write, do you intend to do so together?

I don’t believe we will write another book together just because it can be straining on a relationship when you write with a friend, as opposed to another professional or colleague. You take things more personal when you write with a friend, and sometimes you can feel like you’re being taken advantage of, simply because of your dependability.

We both are continuing to write, but no, we are not going to be writing together. The way that we wrote KSO we aren’t able to do now because of the distance between us, since she is now in Indiana while I am in Florida. Also, we developed different stories along the way that we want to try and complete by ourselves. Personally, I loved co-authoring our novel, but I’m excited to find my own individual voice in writing.
Tell us a little something about yourself.

I’m somewhat a collage of a person, as odd as that sounds. I’ve been dancing for 12 years, am a black belt in karate, paint and draw, am an avid photographer and videographer, read in excessive amounts, and act as well. Writing has been the constant in my life that I know I will treasure forever, and will keep doing until I physically can’t hold up a pen. I’m good at all those activities I mentioned, but not the best; a straight A student, but nowhere near a prodigy. What I guess I’m trying to get at is that I work extremely hard to be good in those, but writing has always come exceedingly natural. It’s my thing, and I’m thankful every day that it is.

I am a huge movie nerd- always have been. I’m obsessed with monster movies, especially shark movies (both good ones and bad ones). My dream is to create a story that can be turned into film. I love writing romance stories, because I am a hopeless romantic myself, but I’ve always been intrigued to write perhaps a trilogy, or just a stand-alone, dystopian book.  

If you were stranded on a deserted island with one character from your book, which would it be, and why?

Hmm, I would probably pick either Jason or Camryn’s brother, Kyle. Jason, because he’s strong, and could most likely gather food or (attempt) to build us shelter. He also would cheer me up with some jokes. Kyle, because he is very intelligent and level-headed, and could probably figure out a way to get us off the island.

I think being stranded with Kyle, Camryn’s older brother, wouldn’t be that bad. He’s funny, creative, smart, and very protective, so I would definitely feel secure with him around.

Which character was the most difficult for you two write?

Jason was probably the hardest to write at times, simply due to the fact that we are not high school boys. We did our best to make him as accurate as possible, based on what we do know, but have never had the experience-of having a male brain- to write about. That made writing a little bit of a struggle at times, to make sure he wasn’t too “girl-y”.

The most difficult for me would be Jacob, Jason’s best guy friend. There were so many male characters in the book, and I didn’t want to make him too stereotypical for a jock best friend. Also, I didn’t want to make him too much like Jason, or else they would just get muddled together.

What is your favorite scene from the book, without giving too much away (I haven't read it yet! No spoilers!) ?

My favorite scene from the book is one of the early moments- when Camryn and Jason go to hang out at the local park. It was one of the first ideas I had, to make the park their special place, because I think we all have a place we associate our best friend with. It is a sacred spot to them, and this is the first glance at how strong their friendship is. It always makes me flashback to the day I met my best friend of 12 years, Taylor, and gives me a warm feeling in my chest. The scene is very innocent and pure, and (hopefully) captures the beautiful gift life provides in a best friend. I know now, living nearly 1,000 miles away from Taylor, that I would give anything to go back to our spot, our park; the root of our friendship. This scene makes me happy and sad at the same time, and I believe there’s something special in that.

My favorite scene would have to be the Thanksgiving scene at Camryn’s house. There’s just so many different characters interacting, and emotions come out, as well as a bunch of humor. I just remember it being really fun to write about.
Do you have any social media accounts, or a blog, that people can follow you on?

I have an author/book Instagram account: simply.booked. In my bio, you can also access the link to my website!

Yes, I have two Instagram accounts. My personal is @rachel.rozet, but my official author account is @authorrozet. I mainly use my author one to talk about things I’m reading and news about KSO or my new project.
If you are planning on writing again, what are some genre's you might be interested in trying out? Or are you going to stick with romance?

I’m interested in trying out more romance, fantasy, and dystopian! Maybe even some sci-fi if I could do it justice!

My new project is romance/teen fiction- the story itself is based on romance, but there are a lot of issues and scenarios I am addressing that gives a sharp sense of reality into the book. I am interested in writing a dystopian, but I’m not sure of a clear concept yet.

Any final comments?

Thank you so much for taking the time to come up with these questions and interview me today; I really appreciate it! For anyone still reading down to this question, remember to never give up on your dreams!
I just want to say thank you to everyone who has supported us and who purchased the novel. I hope everyone enjoys it and falls in love with the story we created!

Thanks, guys!

Okay, there you have it! Kinda, Sort Of is now available at Barnes and Noble, and Amazon, so grab yourselves a copy!

And one last time, remember to sign up for the giveaway! If you're too lazy to scroll down two posts here's the link! Everyone gets a free entry!

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