Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Interview with Katie Ray

Here is an interview about Katie Ray's new book Don't Kiss the Messenger.

I wanted to kick things off with a fun question, so what is your favorite book of 2017 so far?
I loved The Sun is Also a Star, by Nicola Yoon. 

How do you come up with the names for your characters?
A lot of the names in this book come from the play, except for Emmett’s. His name is a pretty funny story—at first his name was going to be Robin, but my editor thought it sounded like a girl’s name and it might confuse readers. So, we went back and forth for weeks trying to rename him. He had always been Robin to me, so I was having a hard time imagining him as anyone else. Then one night I was watching Legally Blonde on TV. Reece Witherspoon’s love interest in the movie (played by Luke Wilson) is named Emmett. I jumped up from the chair and screamed, “EMMETT! THAT’S HIS NAME!” My husband just looked at me like I was nuts, which his usual reaction to my random outbursts. 

Did you always want to be a writer?
No, I really wanted to be a musician but I have zero musical talent so I let that dream go.

What inspires your writing?
I think when anyone writes a book, they have something to say. That’s what inspires my stories—I have a question I’m working through, or an idea I feel strongly about. It inspires the backbone of my story and the rest builds from there.

What was the hardest part writing “Don't Kiss the Messenger”?
Honestly, the hardest thing was writing a retelling. It was the first time I have worked on a story that has already been outlined. I thought that would make it easier since I already had a pace to follow, but it actually made it harder to break away from the outline and go in my own direction.

What is your favorite thing about writing “Don't Kiss the Messenger?
My favorite scene to write was the scarface scene at the party, where CeCe comes up with a list of witty one-liners to make fun of her scar. That was the first scene I wrote in the book (it’s also my favorite scene in the play and the movie).

Do you have any habits while writing? For example: a specific snack food you have to have or maybe music playing in the background.
I usually need to be drinking coffee. 😀

What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
I love to hike, listen to music, go to the beach with my kids, and drink coffee with friends.

What or Who were your biggest inspirations for the characters in Don't Kiss the Messenger? 
Well, since it’s a retelling, the inspiration obviously came from the play and the movie. As far as physical looks go, in my head I imagined them as younger versions of these celebrities:
Natalie Portman = CeCe Edmonds
Tom Brady = Emmett Brady
Gisele Bunchen = Bryn DeVeunille
Jason Segel = Frank

What is your next project?
I can’t share specifics yet, but I’m working on another YA novel.

What do you think is the most special thing about this world you have created?
It’s a story about accepting yourself for who you are, instead of changing yourself in order to be accepted. I think that is incredibly difficult to do, especially in high school when there’s so much pressure to fit in.

What is the one thing you want readers to walk away from "Don't Kiss the Messenger  with?
I would say, stop caring so much about what people think of you. Give yourself a break, and give everyone else a break, too.  No one is perfect. People shouldn’t merely accept our flaws, they should love us all the more for having them. 

Don’t Kiss the Messenger comes out on April 10th!  I would be honored if you choose to read my book. I think you’ll like it. 😀

 Katie writes teen and new adult fiction novels. Her latest book, Don't Kiss the Messenger, is published under her new pen name, Katie Ray. She also has six books published under her legal name, Katie Kacvinsky (First Comes Love, Second Chance, Finally Forever, Awaken, Middle Ground, and Still Point).

Her books have been nominated for YALSA awards, and First Comes Love was a finalist for the Oregon Book Award. Her screenplay, A HIGH NOTE, was a semifinalist in the Austin Screenplay Competition. She lives in beautiful Ashland, Wisconsin, on the shores of Lake Superior, with her husband, two kids, and a very high-energy dog. To find out more about Katie and her books, check out her website:  www.katieraybooks.wordpress.com

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