Today we’re featuring One Four Kid Lit author Bethany Neal, whose debut novel came out on June 10th.
About MY LAST KISS:
What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.
SHR: Congratulations on your debut, Bethany! I love to hear where story ideas are born. Can you tell us about the spark of an idea that led you to write MY LAST KISS?
BN: I think best on car trips. I think its because my mind goes into autopilot mode and I have no hope of distraction—unless a turkey jumps out in front of me on the highway (which has happened to a friend of mine). It’s just my clear mind, the monotony of the road, and music. On a trip to see my parents over Thanksgiving weekend a couple years ago, I was listening to Metric’s ‘Help I’m Alive’ and grew fascinated with the idea of having a beating heart, so to speak, but not actually being alive. The idea of coming back from the dead and dealing with the wreckage your death left behind. And, of course, there had to be kissing involved as well!
SHR: What was most difficult about writing from the perspective of a character who was dead?
BN: Cassidy being dead was tricky because she had to be freaked out about being a ghost, but she also had to get over it relatively fast in order for the story to move forward. That was a tough balance to achieve. It may seem like a quick adjustment period to some, but I didn’t want her to be whiney. There’re no whiney protagonists in my brand of YA—even if you’re dead you suck it up! Haha
SHR: Which other YA novels would you most like to see MY LAST KISS hanging out with in a bookstore display?
BN: Ooo, such a fun question. I imagine her getting along with the girls from Jeffrey Eugenides’s The Virgin Suicides . Or Brie from The Catastrophic History of You and Me and Mia from If I Stay. Those three girls would have a ton in common to talk about!
SHR: What are you working on now?
BN: Something super creepy and deadly that would be an incredible Halloween read. I just turned in the manuscript to my agent, so fingers crossed I’ll have more to share about it soon!
SHR: Lastly, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.
BN: I am afraid of heights, but I didn’t know I was until I was forced up onto an aerial ropes course as a team building exercise with my college synchronized figure skating team. Halfway up the ladder—that led to the rafters of a YMCA gymnasium! How is that safe?!—I knew I was in for it. Now I get dizzy just by watching Batman stand stoically on the ledge of buildings in The Dark Knight. Something I am not afraid of is eating an entire box of Double Stuff Oreos in one sitting. I am a champion at that.
Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing! She is obsessed with (but not limited to): nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar. You can find her locked in her writertorium for insane amounts of time.
|Sharon Huss Roat grew up in Lancaster, PA, and now lives in Delaware with her husband (who makes fonts), her son (who makes music) and her daughter (who makes believe!). She worked in public relations for 20 years before deciding what she really wanted to be when she grew up. BETWEEN THE NOTES is her debut novel. Visit her online at www.sharonroat.com or on Twitter at SharonWrote.