Hi everyone and welcome back to another 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!
I am very, very excited about today’s interview, friends. I got lucky enough to chat with two of my new favorite authors of all times. They wrote one of my favorite 2018 debuts and now one of my favorite 2019 sophomore novels just as well and… well, I’m just very, very,very very much in love with everything they write okay. I could probably talk about them for ages, but let’s leave this for my review and get on with the interview!
1. You debuted with Always Never Yours (which was amazing, by the way) last year: how long have you been on this writing journey, aiming to get published and did you ever think you would debut with this particular manuscript when you started writing it?
We’ve written YA together with hopes of publication for nearly four years now! Which is a reductive response, in ways—we’ve both written creatively and/or professionally in other ways for years before we began writing YA together, Austin in journalism and occasionally creatively and Emily in other genres of fiction. But when we began writing together in mid-2015, everything fell into place—our working relationship our collective inspirations, our enthusiasm for YA contemporary (drawn in no small way from our having fallen in love in high school!)
We wrote and queried one complete manuscript—which never progressed—before we began writing the book we’d eventually call Always Never Yours (the original title was The Girl Before, which we love but which is the title of a popular thriller)! We definitely felt Always Never Yours was promising. We enjoyed writing the characters, their voices, the ways they coped with their problems, the Shakespeare humor we honestly could not keep out. We knew it was the kind of book we would enjoy reading!
Nevertheless, we never exactly brought ourselves to imagine we would debut with it. This is fundamental to our writing and productive philosophy—while we put everything into what we’re working on, we never pin our highest hopes on it. This helps us keep disappointments in perspective and dream big for the future.
Because every now and then, disappointments turn into dreams. Remember the first unpublished manuscript we mentioned? Well, it’s probably finding its way into our unannounced fourth novel… details forthcoming!
2. How does the co-writing process work, exactly? Do you throw ideas around, how do you organize your writing? Is there one of you that tend to do one thing more than another? (editing, for instance… I personally hate it)
Often we write together in one room, one of us throwing out ideas and one of us (okay, Emily, every time) controlling the computer and deciding what ends up in the book. It’s not often easy, but we think it ensures there’s a consistent voice to the writing and keeps us from tripping each other up with repetition or untied plot threads. This is how we work in every part of the process, from outlining (we’re extremely thorough outliners, no pantsing here!) to incorporating edits. However, we definitely have preferences! Emily, who excels in structure and character, leads the way on outlining, while Austin enjoys finessing the language and focuses on fine-tuning the prose in each draft. Our overlapping-but-different distribution of strengths is one huge reason our partnership works!
3. You’re big fans of Shakespeare & retellings of them and it shows, in both your debut and sophomore novels: are you planning on writing more of them in the near future, or do you want to dabble into something completely different?
Our upcoming works have no retelling component! We’ve loved reworking Shakespeare and we’ve definitely considered reinterpreting other works (we’re Jane Austen fans in equal measure). But our upcoming YA contemporaries As We Go Forth in 2020 and the following book (details forthcoming, we hope!) delve into deeper questions of high school, college, and the future in ways we didn’t feel were entirely compatible with retellings. They have the rom-com feels we tried to give readers in Always Never Yours and If I’m Being Honest! But we’re excited to explore the complicated questions and pressures we felt in family and cultural heritage, long-term and long-distance relationships, and growing up.
I want to cry while reading that last sentence. It’s all I’ve ever dreamed of in my books. Friends, add As We Go Forth, their upcoming book, on your Goodreads TBR right now!
1. What is your favorite place to write?
Wherever we’re together and it’s quiet! Often it’s home, though we enjoy frequenting coffee shops with the wonderful Los Angeles writing community.
2. I’m sorry, I have to ask that one to you two… : favorite OTPs?
3. Can you share one book you’ve read recently that surprised you (in a good way)?
Bree Barton’s Heart of Thorns books continue to floor us with their unconventional, contemporarily relevant twists on high fantasy. We thought we couldn’t imagine her work improving from the first book, Heart of Thorns. But then the upcoming follow-up, Tears of Frost, which comes out in November, elevates everything with engaging new characters, biting commentary and breathtaking writing. They’re really good.
4. Can you share with us one line of your previous works, or current work, you’re particularly proud of?
Here’s Cameron, If I’m Being Honest’s bitchy popular girl, reflecting on The Taming of the Shrew. With Cameron’s thoughts on the play, we hoped to reach her reevaluating her own bad reputation:
“Katherine deserves to be held accountable for the horrible things she does. But underneath the nasty exterior, it’s possible she’s a person and not just a problem.”
Thank you so, SO much, Emily and Austin for chatting with me about your publication journey, If I’m Being Honest and more, it was such an honor to have you and I can’t wait to fall in love with all of your books. Friends, read on to find out more about their upcoming release (April 23rd!!)!
📖 More about If I’m Being Honest
High school senior Cameron Bright’s reputation can be summed up in one word: bitch. It’s no surprise she’s queen bee at her private L.A. high school—she’s beautiful, talented, and notorious for her cutting and brutal honesty. So when she puts her foot in her mouth in front of her crush, Andrew, she fears she may have lost him for good.
In an attempt to win him over, Cameron resolves to “tame” herself, much like Katherine in Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. First, she’ll have to make amends with those she’s wronged, which leads her to Brendan, the guy she labelled with an unfortunate nickname back in the sixth grade. At first, Brendan isn’t all that receptive to Cameron’s ploy. But slowly, he warms up to her when they connect over the computer game he’s developing. Now if only Andrew would notice…
But the closer Cameron gets to Brendan, the more she sees he appreciates her personality—honesty and all—and wonders if she’s compromising who she is for the guy she doesn’t even want.
📖 More about the authors, Emily Wibberley & Austin Siegemund-Broka
Emily Wibberley and Austin Siegemund-Broka met in high school and fell in love over a shared passion for Shakespeare. Austin went on to study English at Harvard so he could continue to impress Emily with his literary analysis, while Emily studied adolescent psychology at Princeton. They live in Los Angeles, where they’ve combined their interests and decided to write stories of high school, literature, and first love. Their first novel, Always Never Yours, was published in 2018 by Penguin Random House.
Find Emily Wibberley on:
Find Austin Siegemund-Broka on:
Do you want to read If I’m Being Honest? Did you read it already? (you should. just saying. really)
What are some of your favorite books with AMAZING characters? Because believe me, these authors know how to write characters I love. Let me know your thoughts in comments!