Hiya everyone! It's been a rainy week here in the Philippines and what's the best way to do when you're lock up at your house? Well, of course reading and a cup of coffee! I am starting to read the Psy-changeling series by Nalini Singh and guys it was so good and SEXAAY *wink* though I am reading I still multitask and search for my next read and one of the books that caught my attention is You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison. I got lucky to be a part of the blog tour for the book and had a chance to interview Kris, read the author interview below and join the giveaway guys!
Congratulations on your book! Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Thanks! I used to be a teacher and librarian, but I always wanted to be a writer. I love books and stories almost as much as my family. I have a husband, a daughter, a geriatric cat named Moonie, and I just got a new kitten named Raymond. I love raspberries. I hate licorice. My favorite color is green. I speak French, but poorly.
What can readers expect from YOU and ME and HIM?
Well, I think they can expect a story of friendship, and what happens when we screw up a friendship over something less important. The tagline of the book “What if getting the guy means losing your soulmate?’ really brings that home. A soulmate is somebody, not necessarily a romantic somebody, who gets you at the most basic level. In the story, Maggie risks losing that person, her friend Nash, over a guy they’re both interested in. Readers can also expect some humor, some great music, and some good fights.
If you don't mind, would you like to share with us the one event that turned your world upside down?
There have been a lot of significant moments in my life of course. A lot of them joyful, thankfully only a few of them sad. One that really changed my life and my understanding of myself was moving from Eastern Washington to The Bay Area when I was 16. I was halfway through my junior year in High School, and the culture shock was stunning. Plus I was moving from the people I’d gone to school with since third grade. They would all graduate together and I would be alone. I was not happy, and I was not optimistic. But I did my best to get involved and meet people and it wasn’t so bad. In fact I was actually grateful afterward that I’d had that experience. It taught me to be more independent and more confident about who I was, especially in new situations. It felt huge at the time, and in retrospect it was, but not in a bad way.
When and how did you decide to become a YA writer?
I don’t know if I actually decided as much as fell into it. I’ve read YA for awhile because I was a High School teacher and a school librarian and because there are just some amazing YA books out there. Anyway, when I left teaching, I wanted to write, and I tried a few things, but nothing felt quite right. And I was scared because I didn’t really know what I was doing. Then I read a piece of writing advice from Neil Gaiman. He said “Finish something.” So I decided I would write a complete first draft of this novel about a girl who works in a record store. That became You and Me and Him. It was still really rough when my agent saw it at a conference. I wasn’t really looking for an agent yet. I thought I was a long way from that. But she loved it and was willing to help me get it into shape and try to sell it. It took awhile, but when it did sell, it was to an amazing editor, the perfect editor for this book. Now I realize that the book worked because I have a lot to say, and maybe a lot of my own stuff to work out, about that moment between childhood and full adulthood. So I’m excited to write more stories about that time in life.
Could you describe the mundane details of writing: How many hours a day to you devote to writing? Do you write a draft on paper or at a keyboard?
This is always a shifting landscape for me because we own two retail businesses, Atticus Coffee and Boo Radley’s Gifts, so I have been working there while trying to write and fit in all the other stuff life throws at you. But recently I’m working at our stores less often, so my writing days have a more predictable structure. I write in the morning, usually for anywhere from three to five hours depending on how much other stuff I have to do that day. I have a writing room that I use, but if I’m doing research or need the internet I have to work somewhere else because the internet is terrible in that room. I take a lot of notes in a writing notebook, but I draft on a keyboard.
So far, what has been the most surprising part of the publishing and writing industry for you?
I think the most wonderful surprise has been what an incredibly supportive community the YA writing and publishing community is. I feel so supported by other writers, and other agents and editors have also been really kind and helpful to me. And of course there are all the amazing book bloggers who love YA as much as I do. It’s great to see how everyone is a fan of everyone else. And every time I’ve reached out with a question or needed help with something, someone comes through. It’s been amazing.
We here at Teen Readers' Diary are huge YA Contemporary readers. What sets this story apart from the other books in the genre?
There are two things that set the book apart in my mind. The first is the unconventional love triangle. The two best friends who like the same guy isn’t new. The fact that one of those best friends is a gay guy gives it an unusual twist. The other thing is that Maggie, my main character, is overweight. But she doesn’t spend the book trying to change that. It causes her some problems, and she sometimes wishes she was thinner, but the book is about her discovering that she’s more than just her weight, that she has a lot to offer no matter what size she is.
What is the best piece of advice you've ever received? the worst?
The best piece of advice I ever received was that quote from Eleanor Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Whatever relationship I’m in, whether in my family, or with friends, or a work relationship, or even now with relationships in publishing, I try to remember that if I’m feeling bad about myself, or feeling less than, that’s about me, not about that other person. And I’m the only one who can change it.
The worst piece of advice I ever got was probably from a teacher’s assistant who told me I was a decent writer but I didn’t really have any original ideas, so maybe I shouldn’t try to write stories. I was in second grade. I wasted thirty years because I took that advice. That was thirty years I could have been writing stories. Now I know it’s rubbish.
Are you working on something right now?
Of course! I’m working on the first draft of another novel, and I have one done that still needs some revision. And I have another one I’m dying to start. When you stuff your creativity in a dark hole for too long, it comes gushing out. All I want to do is write these days!
3 winners will receive a finished copy of YOU AND ME AND HIM. US Only.
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