I’m excited to share with you my author interview with Emily Martin, debut author of The Year We Fell Apart!! Also, be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom :). Also, be sure to check out the rest of the #2016DABash here!
“Sometimes I think the white oak tree was listening that night last August. That it knows about the promise we made to each other up in our treehouse. That it knows I kept only half of mine.”
Sigh. I never get tired of reading that opening line. Doesn’t that make you want to pick up this book?! Be sure to check out my review for The Year We Fell Apart . My rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ +/ 5 stars!
with Emily Martin!
1. Describe yourself in 5 words.
EM: Daydreamer. Indecisive. Sweet-toothed. Blunt. Tall.
2. Why do you love seeing sunlight sparkle on water?
EM: Ha, great question! Probably because I grew up spending my summers on a lake in northern Michigan, and being near water always makes me feel at home. Something about the way it sparkles just puts a smile on my face.
3. What are you currently reading? If nothing, what was the last book you read?
EM: I’m currently reading Frannie and Tru by Karen Hattrup (and loving it so far!).
4. Why did you decide to become an author?
EM: I’ll be honest here and say that it wasn’t something I’ve always known I wanted to do. I fell in love with YA toward the end of college and started getting this itch to write. It kind of scared me at first, especially considering I hadn’t taken a single creative writing class in high school or college. After college I went to grad school for something completely unrelated, but the urge to write never let up. After playing around with a few story ideas I started to find my voice and then I was really hooked.
5. Describe your writing process.
EM: Sometimes when I’m feeling blocked, I’ll say I’m still in the process of finding my process. The project I’m currently working on has been especially difficult to write, and I’ve had to constantly remind myself to trust my process, and that every story evolves differently. Generally speaking, I have to sit on a story idea for a while and let my subconscious go to work. Once I have a solid idea of who the main character is, I’ll come up with a rough outline (which usually changes as I start writing). It takes several drafts for me to find my stride, and I’m never afraid to cut huge sections if my gut (or my critique partner) tells me they’re not working. And I’ve also learned the importance of taking breaks to fill the creative well. I’m not someone who necessarily writes every day, and when I force myself to crank out words it usually results in lazy writing and can leave me feeling worse off. So when I’m stuck, it’s usually because there’s a bigger problem I can’t yet see, and I try to take a couple days off and just work on getting closer to my characters.
6. What was the inspiration behind The Year We Fell Apart?
EM: Inspiration came from a bunch of places. In part, it was inspired by my own high school experiences. So many girls face social pressures, whether it’s fitting in with friends or with the image other people have of you. The story absolutely started with Harper, and the tough issues like slut-shaming and underage drinking that she faces were important for me to explore, as they’re present in the lives of so many teen girls.
7. What I loved the most about Harper was that she was far from perfect. She made mistakes and did not always say the things she wanted to say or do the right thing. How important was it to make Harper into a realistic and relatable character?
EM: Thank you for saying that! Making Harper realistically flawed and crafting an honest story was my top priority. I tried not to worry what people would think of her–she deals with enough of that in her own world. I knew some readers wouldn’t like her, that at times her actions would be frustrating to read (trust me, some parts were frustrating to write as well). But I tried always to listen to her and understand her motivations. She is messy and makes mistakes and tries to learn from them but sometimes ends up repeating them and to me, that is just being human. I’m not interested in writing or reading about characters who are perfect.
8. Are any of your characters a representation of yourself? If so, who and how?
EM: There is a little bit of me in all my characters, I think. At times I’m insecure and have certainly made my fair share of mistakes in life, so it’s safe to say Harper got some of that from me. I also love vintage clothing, so I couldn’t resist giving Mackenzie that passion.
9. I liked how you displayed the importance of friendship, especially between Harper, Declan, and Cory. Many authors tend to go down the love-triangle road. Why did you decide to keep the essences of friendship between Harper and Cory instead of a love-triangle?
EM: I have nothing against a well-written love-triangle, but for this story, it just wasn’t the right dynamic. Cory is much more like a brother to Harper, and is friends with both her and Declan, which gives him a lot of insight into their relationship but also makes it hard for him to stay out of it when they’re having trouble. Another reason the love-triangle wouldn’t have worked is that Cory is a really loyal character. I wanted him to stay fairly neutral throughout, and to support both Harper and Declan, and be a stabilizing influence in both of their lives.
10. If The Year We Fell Apart were being made into a movie, who would your dream cast be for Harper and Declan?
EM: For some reason, I can only ever think of actors who are way too old to play my characters. I love Taylor Kitsch for Declan, but it’s possible that’s only because he pulls off longish hair so well. Harper is even more difficult… maybe Liana Liberato?
11. What do you hope readers take away from The Year We Fell Apart?
EM: No one is perfect. Everyone makes mistakes, but the important thing is to remember they don’t have to define you. It’s never too late to take a new path.
12. What advice would you give to young aspiring writers?
EM: Read, write, repeat. Try very hard not to compare yourself or your work to others. Everyone’s journey is different, but the common denominator among published authors is that they never gave up.
13. Can you tell us about any projects you’re currently working on?
EM: Right now I’m working on a new story that takes place in my home state of Michigan. It is full of the messy, complicated relationships between characters that I love to write, and is focused on the multigenerational long-term effects of family trauma. It’s told from the point of view of a young girl who is just starting to navigate relationships, as she questions whether her origin story defines who she is in real life.
Thank you so much Emily for being on the blog today! It was amazing to get to know you more. I’m already excited for your next release 😀 ❤
Emily Martin lives and writes in the Greater Boston area, though she will always call Michigan home. She has a penchant for impromptu dance parties, vintage clothing, and traveling to new places. When not writing, she can be found hiking New England’s peaks, searching for the perfect cup of hot chocolate, or baking something pumpkin-flavored.
Emily’s debut young adult novel, THE YEAR WE FELL APART, was released on January 26, 2016 from Simon Pulse.
Her work is represented by Lara Perkins of Andrea Brown Literary.
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Until next time bibliophiles,