Today we’re featuring One Four Kid Lit author Kym Brunner, whose debut novel comes out tomorrow!
About WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE:
Impulsive high school senior Monroe Baker is on probation for a recent crime, but strives to stay out of trouble by working as a flapper at her father’s Roaring 20’s dinner show theater. When she cuts herself on one of the spent bullets from her father’s gangster memorabilia collection, she unwittingly awakens Bonnie Parker’s spirit, who begins speaking to Monroe from inside her head.
Later that evening, Monroe shows the slugs to Jack, a boy she meets at a party. He unknowingly becomes infected by Clyde, who soon commits a crime using Jack’s body. The teens learn that they have less than twenty-four hours to ditch the criminals or they’ll share their bodies with the deadly outlaws indefinitely.
Sharon Huss Roat: I love the premise for your novel, a teen couple possessed by the spirits of Bonnie and Clyde! How did the idea come to you? Is there really a collection of Bonnie and Clyde memorabilia somewhere (including the bullets that killed them)?
Kym Brunner: Thanks! The idea came to while watching a news story develop a few summers back. The Feds finally caught a handsome 19-year-old guy who was labeled “The Barefoot Bandit.” They had been after him for two years after he would steal small planes, fly them somewhere, and ditch them (sometimes with bare feet). I thought, “Hmm…what if a hot guy flirted with a cute girl on the beach (all while trying to elude the police), and she was charmed by him BEFORE she knew he was wanted by the police?” One idea led to another, and the plot for Wanted: Dead or In Love was born.
And yes, there are many private collectors for gangster memorabilia. The dinner theater featured in my story is based upon an establishment in Chicago called Tommy Gun’s Garage, which has a collection of many authentic 1920’s gangster items. Not sure if there really is a “collection” of the slugs removed from their bodies anywhere, but there are some people who claim to have said items.
SHR: I’m curious how you approached the dual voice of your main character, as herself and as Bonnie. Can you tell us a little bit about that, and the research you did into the 1920s and Bonnie and Clyde?
KB: Before I wrote a word of the story, I listened to an extensive audiobook based on the lives of Bonnie and Clyde by Jeff Guinn, as well as read historic documentation from FBI files. When I felt I had a pretty good handle about who they were and what sort of lifestyle they led, I asked what kind of girl would be curious enough about the lives of Bonnie & Clyde to break some rules? Meet Monroe Baker, an impulsive girl who is smart but doesn’t always think things through before she acts. Who hasn’t done that once in a while?
SHR: I love the combination of historical and contemporary in your novel. If you could pick your favorite YA novels from those two genres to hang out on the bookshelf with yours, which would they be?
KB: I guess I think of WANTED as being more suspense-driven than historical, so in that vein, I have to say I loved all of Chicago author Gillian Flynn’s contemporary suspense books, and would be flattered to be the YA counterpoint to her novels. I also enjoyed Rick Yancy’s FIFTH WAVE and Allen Zadoff’s I AM THE WEAPON novels, but they’re more futuristic than historical. I found Beth Fehlbaum’s BIG FAT DISASTER and Steve Parlato’s THE NAMESAKE contemporary novels really engaging as well.
SHR: What are you working on now?
KB: Ha…funny question. I’ve got two contemporary-suspense novels in progress as well as working on book #2 to my “other” debut that releases on July 15th from Omnific Press called ONE SMART COOKIE. It’s a humorous YA romance about sixteen year old Sophie Dumbrowski, an adorably inept teen living above her family-owned Polish bakery with her man-hungry mother and her spirit-conjuring grandmother, who together, are determined to find Sophie the perfect boyfriend. Super fun and needless to say, 100% completely different, than WANTED: DEAD OR IN LOVE.
SHR: Lastly, as this community is fearless, we’d like to know something you are afraid of and something you are not afraid of.
KB: Afraid of something terrible happening to someone I love, but my faith keeps me from dwelling too much on that. And one thing I am not afraid of is bad reviews. J Not because I don’t think I’ll have any, but because I know I will. It’s inevitable. There are books I absolutely LOVED that someone else rated “did not finish,” as well as the opposite. Variety in literature tastes is what makes the world go round!
Thanks so much for giving me a chance to talk about my books! I’m excited to put your book, Between the Notes, on my TBR list. Good luck to all the Fearless Fifteeners!
Kym Brunner’s method of creating a manuscript is: write, procrastinate, sleep, repeat. She’s addicted to Tazo chai tea, going to the movies, and reality TV. When she’s not reading or writing, Kym teaches 7th grade full time. She lives in Arlington Heights with her family and two trusty writing companions, a pair of Shih Tzus named Sophie and Kahlua. She’s repped by Eric Myers of The Spieler Agency.
|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 SharonWrote.