So I've been DYING for an interview with this fabulous young lady for quite a while now! Since I read The DUFF in January of 2011 in fact! And Kody, being her fabulous self, has finally agreed!!!!
I love being a blogger!! :)
Without further ado, please welcome the lovely...
Kody Keplinger: I'd just finished the DUFF and gotten an agent. When she put the book on submission, I knew that I needed to write something new to distract myself, but the question was "what do I write next?" The answer came from 3 places. First, it was the summer right after my senior year, and I thought it was an interesting transitioning time - a cool time to set a YA novel. Second, I was watching DVDs of my favorite TV show, The OC, and I realized how much I love Willa Holland, who plays Kaitlyn. I just saw her as an apathetic, annoyed, but secretly damaged YA heroine in my head. And then, last, I was watching TV when the film Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants came on. And I had this strange thought, "It would have been really weird if Carmen had fallen for her stepbrother."
And, suddenly, those three things just came together. I instantly knew who Whitley was (Willa Holland, if you're reading this, you are MEANT for this role), I knew at what point she was in her live (just out of high school), and I knew the major conflict - she had a one-night stand with a boy who is about to become her stepbrother. Once the idea was fully formed, I couldn't stop writing!
TRB: How much of yourself did you put into Whitley's character, do you think?
KK: Oh, practically none of me. Of all my characters, Whitley is the least like me. I'm a mostly positive, social person. I like people, and Whitley does not. But Whitley really was 'a voice in my head', as they say. Her voice just flooeded out of me, and often times even I wasn't sure if I liked her or not. She is so not like me and so not the person I would be friends with. But then, as time past and I worked more on the story, I realized what made Whitley tick - WHY she was the person she was. She may be different from me, but I understand her now.
TRB: I truly was jumping up and down with excitement when I read that Bianca and Wesley made an appearance in "A Midsummer's Nightmare", do you think you will be doing that again in the future?
KK: It's possible! Harrison, who becomes Whitley's friend in the book, was frequently mentioned in THE DUFF as well as once in SHUT OUT. All three of my books are in the same town, which is why there is some crossover. My fourth book doesn't take place in Hamilton, but I'm not sure I"m done with that town forever, so we'll see.
TRB: I loved your playlist inspired by "A Midsummer's Nightmare" (I am a HUGE 80s Girl power bands fan ), would you say certain songs inspired you to write your stories, characters, parts of your books, etc.?
KK: Songs almost always inspire me, but this is one book where the story came before the music. But Whitley does have a distinct taste in music - she REFUSES to listen to anything released after '99. A few songs worked their way into the draft because of that. And "Wonderwall" by Oasis was on repeat while I revised the last few chapters - I'd say that song did really help shape the ending as I edited it.
TRB: I have absolutely loved reading all of your novels, and would love to see them on the big screen, do you have certain actresses in mind for Bianca, Lissa, and/or Whitley? Oh, and I have to ask, who do you imagine playing hottie Wesley?
KK: I usually cast my main characters, just because it helps me get a feel for them. Bianca would either be Ellen Page or Mae Whitman. For Lissa, I've had a few ideas, but someone recently suggest Lindsey Shaw, whom I like a lot. Whitley is the easiest, though. Willa Holland - no question.
As for Wesley .... well, I have some ideas, but I think I"ll let your imaginations run wild. :-)
TRB: What is your writing process like?
It's different for every book. Sometimes I don't plot or plan at all. Sometimes I outline each chapter. It really depends on the story. The only thing that remains consistant is that every book I've written so far has started with a character - a voice in my head - and built form there.
KK: What do you prefer: paperbacks or ebooks? Why?
I've honestly never read an ebook. I'm not for sure why, really. I just like holding a book in my hands and turning pages. So I guess paperback - or hardcover!!!
TRB: And lastly, any advice to aspiring writers?
KK: The best advice I can give is to a.) get a great critique group. Having others read your manuscript and give advice is so valuable, it goes beyond words. And b.) do your research - research agents, publishers, authors, everything. The more you know the industry, the better off you'll be.
How awesome is Kody?? Seriously!! I REALLY hope to have the opportunity to meet her one day!
The Romance Bookie :)