THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER by Harriet Reuter Hapgood
This is what it means to love someone. This is what it means to grieve someone. It's a little bit like a black hole. It's a little bit like infinity.
Gottie H. Oppenheimer is losing time. Literally. When the fabric of the universe around her seaside town begins to fray, she's hurtled through wormholes to her past:
To last summer, when her grandfather Grey died. To the afternoon she fell in love with Jason, who wouldn't even hold her hand at the funeral. To the day her best friend Thomas moved away and left her behind with a scar on her hand and a black hole in her memory.
Although Grey is still gone, Jason and Thomas are back, and Gottie's past, present, and future are about to collide—and someone's heart is about to be broken.
FIRST AND THEN by EMMA MILLS
Devon Tennyson wouldn't change a thing. She's happy watching Friday night games from the bleachers, silently crushing on best friend Cas, and blissfully ignoring the future after high school. But the universe has other plans. It delivers Devon's cousin Foster, an unrepentant social outlier with a surprising talent for football, and the obnoxiously superior and maddeningly attractive star running back, Ezra, right where she doesn't want them: first into her P.E. class and then into every other aspect of her life.
Pride and Prejudice meets Friday Night Lights in this contemporary novel about falling in love with the unexpected boy, with a new brother, and with yourself.
Without further ado, here is the remainder of the amazing Fierce Reads Interview!
FIERCE READS INTERVIEW PART TWO.
Me: So what are your next books on the horizon?
Me: So what are your next books on the horizon?
Emma: I feel kind of awkward because I don’t know which one I’m supposed to be talking about in this event. Because I have one coming out in October. So they’ll give out ARCs for that at this event. So it’s called “This Adventure Ends.” It’s another contemporary YA in the vein of First and Then. It’s a standalone book as well. And it is about a quest to recover a lost painting. I have another one coming out the following year that is about a production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream.
Me: I have to say that I’m a little devastated that First and Then is a standalone because I have a huge crush on Jordan, and he apparently likes someone that I don’t know?!
Emma: I don’t know about them either!
Emma: People have asked me that. I am not opposed to a sequel.
Group: Oooohs and ahhs.
Emma: [laughs] I feel that it would be fun to revisit one day.
Marie: You could call it “Then and Again.”
Emma: Oooh yeah! It was a really fun to write, so it would be fun to go back.
Harriet: Yeah so my next book is a standalone contemporary YA, and it’s very much in the first draft, noodling around ideas stage. So I don’t really know, I don’t have a title, or even know really what it’s about.
Harriet: I have a first line.
Me: And it will probably change.
Harriet: Yeah. I’m not being enigmatic, I’m really at the discovery process. I’ll know what it’s about eventually!
Me: Do you like this stage?
Harriet: I like research, and I like the third or fourth draft when all the madness comes together and you know what it’s about and you just do an intense editing process and go, “Aha! That’s what I’ve been writing about all this time,” then tie it up and hand it over without looking at it again. First drafts and second drafts and kind of trying to figure out things is just a mess. A mess that will eventually resolve itself, I hope!
Me: Do you guys have favorite parts of the process? Or least favorite parts of the process?
Emma: I really like drafting.
Marie: In the trenches!
Emma: Yeah, where you are really writing. I really like that part. I probably like the copyediting less. Not as creative, more technical, but I appreciate it as part of the process.
Cecelia: I just love writing. Escaping out of the world and losing all sense of time and place, and that’s why I do it.
Marie: My favorite part is the days when it’s easy. Some days it's hard. But some days all you have to do is put your fingers on the keyboard and it just writes itself. But you can’t have those days without having the bad ones. I think those hard ones are like running a marathon. It sets you up or builds the foundation, builds muscle for you to run fast.
Cecelia: But isn’t finishing just wonderful! Fullstop! The end!
Harriet: I like when you write “The End” and then it comes back to you and they’ve deleted it. I WANT “The end” in there! It’s so frustrating!
Marie: I have a writing group. And I also love the process of turning in something, giving them a third of a book, or even a fourth of a book and have it grow as they read it and give me feedback. And I trust my reading partners as we’ve been together for a few years, to the point where most of our conversations are jokes. Really serious things happen, but we also tease each other about a lot of things. But no hobbits.
Cecelia: Or imps.
Me: I really love the phrase “Writing takes a village,” and so you were mentioning you have a writing group. Do any of you have beta readers or other people who read your work?
Harriet: No, the first person to read my book was my agent.
Emma: My mom. She was the first person to read my book. And I’m in graduate school and I have a friend in grad school who reads my stuff. She’s a big reader.
Marie: What are you in graduate school for?
Emma: Anatomy and Cell biology. But yeah, I’m kind of superstitious about it, I don’t want anyone to read it before it’s finished.
Harriet: Yeah, yeah, what if someone talks about it and jinxes it. When someone says, you know what would be a great idea? And then you think, ugh you are ruining it!
Cecelia: When I come up with an idea, I won’t share it with anyone else but my agent. Like if my husband says, what you could do… I plug up my ears and say “Lalalalalala.” I just want everything to be mine, because I don’t think I can put my name on a book if I knew the ideas came from other people so my agent is the first to read it, and then my editor. And I used to give it to relatives, but I’ve written so much that they no longer care.
Cecelia: They couldn’t even tell you the titles, I don’t think.
Marie: How many books have you written?
Cecelia: I’ve written 15.
Harriet: Can you name them all?
Cecelia: OK. PS I Love you, Where Rainbows End (also known as Love Rosy), If you could see me now, A place called here, Thanks for the memories, the gift, The book of tomorrow, 100 names, The time of my life, The year I met you, The Marble Collector, Flawed, Perfect, my new book in October.
[Applause and laughter]
Me: Wow, that’s impressive!
Cecelia: That should be my party trick!
Me: So what made you totally switch from those books to YA dystopian, which I don’t think you’ve ever written?
Cecelia: No, I don’t think I really switched. The Book of Tomorrow was a story written in the perspective of a 16 year old. For that book, I remember people saying over here that it was a crossover. It was the first time someone said to me that this book could be seen as young adult. And I just write stories, whatever comes into my head, I write that down and whoever finds them, that’s great. I write for myself, most selfishly, but anyone who finds them, they are welcome to them. I think stories are for everybody. I think because I wanted to write from the perspective of a 17 year old, it was then decided that it was Young Adult. But it wasn’t a great big leap for me to change anything about my writing. I just saw the world from her eyes, and the only different thing about the book, I think, is that it has more of a thriller feel. Faster paced than my other novels. I wrote it with a lot of adrenaline, and I think it reads that way. It’s quite fast. But really, there wasn’t a big marketing plan or a big meeting where I sat down and said, “I want to invent a story in a different area.”
Me: Great answer. So we have a few more minutes, so I love this question and I hope you are all as nerdy as me, and I’ve loved the Hobbit comments earlier.
Me: So your main character, what House would they be sorted into at Hogwarts?
Emma: I am so prepared for this question! This is my favorite question! In First and Then, Devon and Foster, I would say, are Gryffindors. Ezra Is a Hufflepuff. In This Adventure Ends, I think that Sloan is a Slytherin and Gabe is a Gryffindor. I’ve thought about this a lot.
Cecelia: I have to pass because I have no knowledge.
Harriet: I can’t even.
Cecelia: I’ve seen the first movie but I don’t have enough knowledge. I’m not an expert like you are [gesturing to Emma]. I would just frankly embarrass myself if I tried.
Marie: I think [Celestine] is a Gryffindor.
Me: Yes, I was between Gryffindor and Raveclaw, but I think definitely Gryffindor because her bravery trumps everything else.
Cecelia: OK, sounds good.
Harriet: I think Gottie is a Ravenclaw. And Thomas is totally Hufflepuff. *giggles*
Me: Oh man, totally.
Everyone else: HUFFLEPUFF!
Harriet: I’m so glad you agree!
Me: I actually wrote it down because I wanted there to be a document of what I predicted.
Cecelia: I’ll huffs and I’ll puffs and I’ll…
Marie: I think Arin is a Gryffindor. And I think that Kestrel is a Slytherin.
Me: [Stunned face]
Harriet and Emma: OOOOHHHH!
Marie: [seeing my stunned face] Did you think she was Ravenclaw?
Me: I did.
Marie: I kind of think she’s Ravenclaw too, but there’s a sort of… I think she might be a little too conniving. You know, in a good way!
Me: She’s the type of Slytherin I always wanted to read about but never could.
Marie: Yeah, exactly! Yeah, she’s not a bad Slytherin.
Cecelia: I think Carrick is a Slytherin.
Emma: How did you decide that from your knowledge of the houses?
Cecelia: He’s a lot more Slytherin than… the other one.
All of us: Hufflepuff!
Marie: Who did you say?
Marie: He’s a Slytherin? He’s a Slytherin, you say?
Cecelia: I was just trying to join in.
Me: No, I was just thinking about it. I don’t know if I’ve seen enough of him to decide. That was part of what I loved about it. You expect to see so much of Carrick and then you DON’T. Instead, he’s this enigma. And that’s HOT!
Harriet: Yeah, you looooove him!
Cecelia: That was actually my whole point. My editor said you know, they NEVER speak. And I said, yeah I know, isn’t it great?
Harriet: It’s all lingering looks.
Cecelia: They spend a lot more time looking at each other and not speaking to each other. And I thought, that’s HOT!
Harriet: As he watches while she’s branded.
Cecelia: Or not.
Me: I want to give you some time to take a break before your event, so thank you so much for joining me today for this interview!
Thanks so much for joining in and reading the awesome interview these ladies gave! And once again here's a chance to enter to win ALL THE TITLES at the St. Louis stop, courtesy of Macmillian Fierce Reads! Also, as a bonus prize, the co-host of the event, the amazing Left Bank Books, our indie St. Louis bookstore, is chipping in one signed copy of The Square Root of Summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood! Unfortunately, this giveaway is US only. But there will be other INT giveaways in the future!
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