Swanky Seventeener Stephanie Garber recently chatted with Sweet Sixteener Darcy Woods about her YA debut, SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS (Crown/Random House, May 10, 2016).
When zodiac-obsessed teen Wilamena Carlisle discovers a planetary alignment that won’t repeat for a decade, she’s forced to tackle her greatest astrological fear: The Fifth House—relationships and love.
But when Wil falls for a sensitive guitar player hailing from the wrong side of the astrology chart, she must decide whether a cosmically doomed love is worth rejecting her dead mother’s legacy and the very system she’s faithfully followed through a lifetime of unfailing belief.
Young adult author Darcy Woods had three big loves in grade school: reading, writing, and pizza day. Some things never change. She lives in Michigan with her madly supportive husband, two tuxedo cats (who overdress for everything) and a closet full of neatly organized shoes. Once upon a time, she served in a US Army aviation unit and threw live grenades. Now she throws words. SUMMER OF SUPERNOVAS is her Golden Heart®-winning debut novel, translated in over five languages. Find Darcy online on her Website |Twitter |Goodreads |Instagram |Facebook. Find more about her book on |Goodreads|Pinterest.
Stephanie: One of my favorite things about Summer of Supernovas was the swoon-worthy romance. You did a fantastic job with the love triangle in this book, but I know not everyone loves a love triangle, so I’m curious if you ever considered not having one?
Darcy: Aww, that’s amorous music to my ears, Stephanie—thank you! You know, when I first began writing the opening chapters, there was no love triangle. But the more I contemplated (read: passionately obsessed over) the plotline, the more I certain I became that it was essential for this particular story. Why? Because I wanted the plot to be a direct reflection of the main character’s inner journey and arc. Hence, one boy represents upholding a promise Wil has made to her deceased mother, while the other means abandoning a lifetime of beliefs to follow her heart.
Stephanie: Even before I read Summer of Supernovas I knew I’d adore it because I really enjoy following your Twitter account. It’s always fun and enthusiastic, and I love how supportive you are of other authors. How do you find the balance between writing and social media and everything else in life, especially during a year as crazy as the one leading up to your debut?
Darcy: LOL! Welp, you’ll be the first I call when I figure out how to achieve balance in all The Things. And it’s funny, because I would describe YOU exactly the same! Do you have any tips for me??? I’ve definitely learned that you have to safeguard your time and set your priorities. Plus I’m getting better at compartmentalizing and saying: this is Twitter time, that’s writing time, and this is when I scoop the litter box. But the reality is that life is dynamic, so “balance” is essentially a moving target. The sooner you can make peace with the fact that there are ALWAYS going to be loose ends, the happier you’ll be. It seems balance is a choice we must make and remake every single day.
Stephanie: As I mentioned, I think the romance in Summer of Supernovas is fantastic, I also noticed it won the Golden Heart award. So I’d love it if you could share one or two of your favorite tips for writing romance?
Darcy: Two words: CHARACTER ESSENCE. This defines who your character is at their very marrow. It’s also the thing the rest of the world doesn’t always see clearly. But the love interest does. And that’s what makes it so powerful. Because truly, is there anything more wildly intoxicating than someone falling in love with who you are on the inside? That’s love in its purest form. If you want to learn more, Michael Hauge is a legendary Hollywood screenwriter who’s also legendary at uniting story structure and character arcs. Highly highly recommend as a resource!
Stephanie: When I started reading Summer of Supernovas I expected romance, but what I hadn’t expected was all the humor, and the moments that made me laugh out loud. Does writing humor just come naturally to you, or was this something you had to work on adding into your story?
Darcy: My people are quirky so I think much of the humor can be blamed on genetics. Whoopee Cushions were not only encouraged, they were given at birthdays and holidays. Humor is just how we dealt with the highs and lows of living. We laugh. We cry. We sit on Whoopee Cushions and laugh again. Writing humor into everyday situations reflects how I see the world—a damn funny place amidst the beauty and heartache.
Stephanie: It’s hard for me to imagine that you once in a US Army aviation unit and threw live grenades. I’d love to know what made you make the switch to writing young adult novels?
Darcy: A wise man once said, “The shortest distance between two points is a straight line.” Except, I don’t really believe in straight lines. I believe in having a cornucopia of life experiences—which makes for a loooong and curvy line! So after I was discharged from the Army, I worked for Xerox selling copiers, where I quickly discovered that retail sales made my soul moldy. I then gave my notice, and went on to have an amalgam of office jobs. It was a leap of faith that led me to become a licensed esthetician and instructor almost twenty years ago. Then I took a second leap five years ago when I sat down to write my first novel. Writing has been the ultimate free fall and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.
- What’s your sign? Gemini
- What do you wish your sign was? Honestly? I really love being a Twinsie! I dig duality.
- Favorite cupcake flavor? Chocolate with chocolate mousse frosting and sprinkles.
- If your life were a book what would it be titled? A Loooong and Curvy Line 🙂
- What’s your personal theme song? Eye of the Tiger
- And the most important question of all: Which Goonie character would you be? *dieeeeees* Favorite question ever!!! Data. I would be Data. I’m crap at math but have an engineer’s heart and a tireless need for adventure.
Stephanie Garber is the author of Caraval, a young adult fantasy coming January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US, and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). When she’s not writing young adult novels, she teaches creative writing at a private college in northern California. She’s also a blogger on Pub(lishing) Crawl, and she can often be found hanging around on Twitter, where she overuses exclamation points and emojis.