Today's interview is with YA author Ann Herrick, fellow bwlpp author. Romances are her bag
. What's your genre or do you write in more than one?
I write Young Adult novels. Most are also Romance, or at least have romance in them.
2. Did you choose your genre or did it choose you?
A little of both, I guess. I liked reading the YA books lines such as Sweet Dreams, etc., and thought it would be fun to write that kind of book. My first book was turned down by some publishers as "too serious" or "too negative" for a romance, but that was because some publishers were very strict about how they wanted the story to go. Fortunately, there are also publishers who are more flexible!
3. Is there any genre you'd like to try? Or is there one you wouldn't?
In a way, the answer is one-in-the-same. I'd love to do a sprawling, 1,000-page historical novel, but I'm not up to all that research!
4. What fiction do you read for pleasure? I read romance, historical novels, some mysteries (if they have a good "relationship" sub-plot), and whatever sounds interesting or that a friend recommends.
5. Tell me a bit about yourself and how long you've been writing,
I grew up in Connecticut, and after college married my high-school sweetheart. We moved to Oregon, where we still live, and have a grown daughter, who is married and gainfully employed as an advertising copywriter and "mommy" to five cats. I started writing at eleven, but it wasn't until I was "all grown up" that I actually finished and submitted a manuscript.
6. Which of your characters is your favorite? They all have been my favorite when I was writing "their" books, lol.
7. Are there villains in your books and how were they created? Sometimes I have villains (more often villainesses) and I just remember the people who behaved badly towards other people and improvise on their personalities.
8. What are you working on now? I don't like to say too much, because things change, so I'll just say it's a story that takes place in a snowstorm, where a group of teens reveal some of their deepest secrets.
9. What's your latest release and how did the idea arrive?
How to Survive a Summer Romance (or Two) is my latest release and the setting (Lake Winnipesaukee, NH, where I once vacationed) and a song (Save Your Heart for Me), inspired the book. The boyfriend tells the main character to "have a summer fling or two, but save your heart for me." The story goes beyond the "or two," as there is also some speculation on the main character's mother and sister also having summer romances.
10. Tell me about your latest book and how it came about. Enclose the opening of the book around 400 words.
At the age of 15, I had a very short, very chaste "summer romance" at Lake Winnipesakee, so that and the setting (and above-mentioned song) inspired me to write the book.
It's a story about the impact of lust, love, hormones, memories, and relationships for Kaysie, her mother, and her younger sister, when the family vacations for a month at Lake Winnipesaukee and summer romances take center stage:
Can Kaysie have a summer romance with Troy and still remain true to Brian? After all, Brian did tell her to have a fling or two while she was on vacation! But what happens when feelings and hormones collide? Can Kaysie trust her heart to stay on track? And how is she going to keep an eye on her mother and Troy's father--who just happens to be Mom's former summer romance? How did fun in the summer sun get so complicated, anyway?
How to Survive a Summer Romance (or Two)
"Wake up, sleepyhead."
An elbow jabbed my ribs. Brian's elbow. Panic! Confusion! What was I doing waking up with Brian? I'd be grounded until the next century!
"Kaysie, you were the one who wanted to see the sunrise. Remember?" Brian sighed. "That's why we've been parked at the edge of Stanton Pond for the last hour."
"Oh …" I lifted my head from Brian's shoulder. "Right."
I yawned and stretched, then focused my eyes on the horizon. The sky turned pink. Rays of pale golden light filtered through the maple trees lining the far side of the pond. The sky grew brighter until the great yellow sphere appeared. I closed my eyes. Even in the car I felt the warmth of the sun on my face.
I hoped it signaled a beginning and not an end. I hadn't really wanted to see the sunrise so much as I'd wanted to spend another hour with Brian. I mean, at long last, after several false starts, I actually had a boyfriend. Being with him for his graduation party wasn't enough. Not when, in a few short hours, I would be dragged off to Lake Whatamacallit for a whole month.
"I'm going to miss you," Brian said.
"Me, too." It totally wasn't fair. We'd started dating only two months ago. For a moment, I almost smiled as I remembered celebrating my sixteenth birthday at The Pizza Parlor with my best friend, Venetia. Brian had strolled by and noticed the candles on my sausage-and-mushroom pizza.
"So, you're sixteen now …," he'd said with a big smile.
Next day he called and asked me out. I was so shocked I needed a self-inflicted Heimlich maneuver. Not that I was couple crazed. But I was ready to relate. I managed to say Yes. I mean, on the Boy-o-meter scale, Brian was definitely cute, almost to the point of being hot, and, not-so-incidentally, he was a main brain.
"I wish I'd get more time off this summer," Brian said, dragging me back to the present. "Then I could visit you."
"Me, too." I tried to swallow the trace of resentment I still had after hearing about Brian's job. Only one day off every two weeks! Not enough time to drive up from Connecticut to visit me in New Hampshire. Okay, being a counselor at the camp for disadvantaged kids was important to him. I guess that was one of the reasons I cared about him. But there was this small part of me‑‑ okay, a not-so-small part‑‑that wished he couldn't live without me. I mean, is that too much to ask?