Hi friends! I’m back today with an author whose debut I am highly, highly anticipating, YAY! So excited about it. Welcome back to “A Talk With”!
In case you missed it, “A Talk With” is a brand new feature here on Drizzle & Hurricane Books, where I will invite young adult book authors to chat with me about their upcoming books, share their writing tips and tricks and more!
Today on the blog, I’m inviting the lovely Katy Loutzenhiser to talk about her upcoming debut, If You’re Out There. If you ask me, this book sounds absolutely fantastic and I can’t wait to read it. Keep on going to read the interview, find out more about the book and awesome pre-order campaign, too!
1. Can you describe your debut, If You’re Out There, only using three words?
Ghosted? Or worse?
2. Friendships and its complications, being ghosted, giving up on friendships: these themes are at the heart of your book : what made you want to write this kind of story, where friendship has such a main focus? Do you think we need more friendships and female-friendships focused stories in YA?
The simple answer is yes. I love a good romance as much as the next person, but when I was growing up, my friends were everything to me. My mom even used to joke that my friendships were almost like mini marriages. We learned how to compromise and support each other, and communicate. And just like falling in love, there was a certain euphoria that came with realizing you’d found your people. Likewise, friendship breakups could be just as painful as romantic ones, and I think that’s an important thing for teens to see explored on the page. When I sat down to write IF YOU’RE OUT THERE, as much as I wanted to write romantic tension and flirty banter with the cute new guy (which, trust me, I did), I still wanted the heart of the book to be about something more. I think it’s important that we see women mattering to each other in our stories. And I wanted to show that the bond between friends could sometimes take priority and feel all-consuming—and even keep you on the edge of your seat.
3. Between her quest for her missing friend and her encounter with Logan, the new guy in her class, her parents and more, we get to see the main character deal with different kind of relationships: what are your inspirations and writing tips and tricks to create genuine relationships between every one in your stories?
Aw, I love this question! I think each important person in our lives brings out something different in us. So when I write, I try to land on the unique spark that exists between people, and work that dynamic into every scene. Logan brings out Zan’s snappy wit, and maybe even a bit of fearlessness. Her work family at the vegan diner brings out a funny, flippant version of herself. Her mom sees everything, so Zan may as well not bother putting up any walls with her most of the time. And Priya, before she ghosted anyway, made Zan feel safe and hopeful, and more open to the world. In the same way, Zan makes her own mark the people in her life. For me, it’s that cause and effect that makes relationships come alive.
4. If you weren’t writing books, what would you like to be doing ?
I could imagine myself being a preschool teacher in another life. There are few things I enjoy more than having serious, philosophical conversations with little kids.
1. Can you share with us one book you recently loved?
Of course! I’ve been reading lots of great books, but a recent favorite was The Field Guide to the North American Teenager by Ben Philippe. It’s funny and heartfelt, and the voice is spot on! It’s rare for me to laugh out loud while reading, but this one got me more times than I could count.
2. Is there one book that particularly moved you, or even changed your life?
Is it terrible to admit that the stories that had the biggest impact on me came more in the form of film and TV than books? A steady diet of Nora Ephron movies and shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation are probably the biggest reason I became a writer. (Epilogue: Don’t worry! I now spend my time buried in books. I became a more avid reader later in life!)
3. If you were an animal (real, or imagined), what would you like to be?
Hmmm. Maybe a dolphin? I think of them as sort of friendly and affectionate. Or I don’t know. A seal? I suppose that’s not quite as elegant… Whatever I am, I’m a sea creature. I grew up in New England, and summer is a precious time of year. I’m happiest when I’m in the ocean!
Thank you so, so much Katy, for taking the time to chat with me about If You’re Out There! Friends, keep on reading to find out more about this fantastic looking book and to add it to your TBRs, too!
📖 More about If You’re Out There
After Zan’s best friend moves to California, she is baffled and crushed when Priya suddenly ghosts. Worse, Priya’s social media has turned into a stream of ungrammatical posts chronicling a sunny, vapid new life that doesn’t sound like her at all.
Everyone tells Zan not to be an idiot: Let Priya do her reinvention thing and move on. But until Zan hears Priya say it, she won’t be able to admit that their friendship is finished.
It’s only when she meets Logan, the compelling new guy in Spanish class, that Zan begins to open up about her sadness, her insecurity, her sense of total betrayal. And he’s just as willing as she is to throw himself into the investigation when everyone else thinks her suspicions are crazy.
Then a clue hidden in Priya’s latest selfie introduces a new, deeply disturbing possibility:
Maybe Priya isn’t just not answering Zan’s emails.
Maybe she can’t
🎁 Pre-Order If You’re Out There and receive some amazing swag!
If you’re interested in If You’re Out There, you have two ways of getting some amazing swag:
- Request If You’re Out There at your local library and be entered to win one of 5 “Ladies before mateys!” tote bags (US ONLY), or
- Preorder If You’re Out There and receive an enamel pin, a signed book plate, bookmark and sticker! (INTERNATIONAL, except for the pin)
Email a screenshot of your library request or of your preorder receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. The preorder campaign swag remains until supplies last. These two campaigns are opened until March, 4th, 2019.
Details on these campaigns can be found on the author’s website.
📖 More about the author, Katy Loutzenhiser
Do you want to read If You’re Out There? Did you read it already?
Do you think we need more friendships-focused kind of books in YA? Do you have any book recommendations? Let me know your thoughts in comments!