Mia spoke with fellow author Kristi Wientge about her YA debut, which was just published by Katherine Tegen Books. Mia’s a member of the Sweet Sixteens, an online group for YA and MG authors debuting this year. Kristi rolls with the Swanky Seventeens.
ABOUT THE NOVEL
One midsummer night. Two strangers. Three rules: No real names. No baggage. No phones. A whirlwind twenty-four-hour romance about discovering what it means to feel alive in the face of one of life’s greatest dangers: love.
Who would you be if you had one night to be anyone you want?
Volunteering in New Orleans was supposed to be a change, an escape from the total mess Julie left at home and from her brother’s losing battle with PTSD. But building houses surrounded by her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions has Julie feeling more trapped than ever. And she’s had enough.
In a moment of daring, Julie runs away, straight into the glitter, costumes, and chaos of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade—and instantly connects with Miles, an utterly irresistible musician with a captivating smile and a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. Wandering the night, she and Miles dance on roofs, indulge in beignets, share secrets and ghost stories under the stars, and fall in love. But when a Category Two hurricane changes course and heads straight for NOLA, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. And, suddenly, pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
García was born and raised in San Juan, Puerto Rico. She moved to New York where she studied creative writing at The New School, worked in publishing and now lives under a pile of to-be-read books. Her debut novel, Even If the Sky Falls, from Katherine Tegen books (an imprint of Harper Collins) comes out May 10, 2016.
TALKING ABOUT ‘THE SKY’
Mia, I was lucky enough to be able to read the ARC of Even if the Sky Falls and without giving too much away, I want to know how you came up with the idea for your novel? Did you know this was “the one”?
This was a bit of an odd journey for me. I’d previously sent three different books out for submission, they all got rejected, in total I got around 90+ rejections. Those books are currently, well, one is on pause, one maybe forever, one being re-written and the other waiting for time…maybe? This book came when I was working on something else COMPLETELY different. Night and Day. Fantasy set in the 1920s vs modern day New Orleans. So, yeah.
Even If the Sky Falls came from a conversation with my editor (though not my editor at the time). She really wanted to set a romance in New Orleans and I (luckily) had just come back from a work trip to New Orleans and had all my experiences fresh in my mind. We talked a lot about our love for the Before Sunrise/Before Sunset films and the idea of setting a romance within a 24-hour timeframe and it just grew from there.
I have to say, I wasn’t sure I’d be able to believe a whirlwind 24 hour romance, but, girl, you pulled it off! I loved the love story and the other threads of family and friends you threw in there all blended so well. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
I think I was maybe 15 or 16 when I realized that all my daydreaming, making-up dialogue, and jotting down ideas in journals was more than just a hobby or a ‘quirk’. But I know it wasn’t until I was 18 that I actually thought I could do it for a living and that I wanted to do it for a living.
Wow! 18!? That’s pretty impressive. How did you find your agent/editor?
My journey is a bit odd as I found Maria (my editor) first, via a sort of meet-and-greet hosted by my grad-school. We both started chatting about the idea that became the novel and when the time came to sign a contract I turned to another awesome editor friend (the amazing Kendra Levin) for an equally amazing agent. She introduced me to Kerry, we totally hit it off, and she loved the book!
What was your revision process like for this book?
Intense. Even though I worked in publishing for 6 years, I worked in the marketing side, so I wasn’t very familiar with editing turnaround. Also, I was possibly (read: certainly) a tad late with my draft, so we were very conscious of editing deadlines. I got my edits one month after turning in my manuscript, after that I got one month to edit, then back to my editor, then copyedits…oh god, everything is a blur. I think from handing in my manuscript to copy edits for the ARC it was…4 months. Then I got a break before heading into first pass pages. Even now I’m not sure where the time went and how I managed to get it all done without losing my mind.
Ha! I’m glad you’ve managed to stay sane! Now, for some fun.
Plotter or Pantser?
I’m usually a ‘let the story take you where it wants to go’ but Even If the Sky Falls was a plotted through and through. It was a very interesting process and it every much helped me keep on track and on schedule.
What were you reading when you were 16?
Last 5 books you read?
The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Bitch Planet by Kelly Sue DeConnick
The Reader by Traci Chee
Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie
Play Me Backwards by Adam Selzer
A band you loved when you were 16 that you still listen to?
Ummm does Shakira count? Band of one…
Do you write longhand or type?
Longhand for the first draft. Typing it up is second draft.
Chocolate or potato chips?
This was really fun, Mia! Now, all of you reading this add Even if the Sky Falls to your TBR list, you won’t regret it. x
ABOUT THE INTERVIEWER
KRISTI WIENTGE is originally from Ohio where she grew up writing stories about animals and, her favorite, a jet-setting mouse. After studying to become a teacher for children with special needs, she spent several years exploring the world from China to England, teaching her students everything from English to how to flip their eyelids inside out before finally calling Singapore home. Now, all her adventures revolve around her four children and within the contemporary MG books she writes. Her debut middle grade novel KARMA KHULLAR’S MUSTACHE will release from Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers in summer 2017.