Well, it’s the last day of our blogiversary celebration, but we have another very special guest visiting us today. If you’ve been paying attention to Christina either on here, Goodreads, or Twitter (especially on Twitter), then you’ve seen her raving time and time again about one particular book. It’s been one of her favorite reads of the year and joined the ranks among her all time favorites. (You can see her get her fangirl on about this beauty right here.)
If you’ve read this book, then all I need to say is two words: Matt. Finch. But, if you haven’t read it (Seriously, why not? I’m trying really hard not to judge you right now, but… I’m just saying.), then never fear, I’m here to introduce you to your perfect summer read written by the most adorable author ever (Like, ever!): Open Road Summer by Emery Lord.
We’re truly thrilled to be hosting Emery Lord today.
Christina: First things first, can you tell us what the major motivating factor for writing Open Road Summer was for you?
Emery: Frankly, the first motivating factor was that I was coming off of a grieving experience, and I wanted to hide in a fun, summer book. (I thought I was writing pure fiction at the time, but now I think my own grief is pretty apparent in Matt Finch’s, my heartache in Dee’s, my anger in Reagan’s.) I was (and am) also passionate about the cold, bitchy girl having a voice in this story- not being a side character. I used to be really intimidated by girls like my narrator, Reagan, until reading This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen when I was 17. After that, I looked at girls with beautiful, icy exteriors and, instead of writing them off, wondered what their story was. Frankly, it opened my world up to amazing girl friends whose stories I couldn’t have otherwise known. So…I wanted girls who have really been through crap, girls like Reagan, to see themselves portrayed and know that they still deserve love–even when they still have a lot of things to work on, even when they’re being their worst self. So, above all–beyond the romance or the fun music stuff–what kept me at my desk was the insistence that it’s not just Nice Girls who deserve a narrative voice.
(Christina nods. Perfect response is perfect. I’ve been both the Nice Girl and the Bitch. Now, I interchange them easily, haha.)
Christina: Is there anything you look back on about your book and wished you could’ve changed?
Emery: Actually, no! I mean, I’ll forever be picky about word choices and that kind of thing. But, for bigger picture things, I’m extremely intentional about my choices in plot, character development, etc., which is why it takes me a while to draft.
Emery: Yeah! I went to Nashville with my girlfriends during the editing process, and it was so fun. But…what happens in Nashvegas….
Emery: Music played a huge role and always does when I’m writing. It’s partially atmosphere- I can’t listen to music that the character I’m narrating for wouldn’t listen to. But I also use songs for character development. What songs would my characters play on repeat? What songs would hit them so hard they’d almost have to pull over to the side of the road to keep from crying while driving? As their character arcs move along, what songs would they find that would reflect their inner changes? Reagan, Matt and Dee have playlists (Click links for spotify playlists. All songs are in order of where they fit in the story.), and there’s a separate Open Road Summer playlist for the whole book. I’m…intense. Anyone who has read the book can guess exactly where a song on Matt Finch’s playlist called “Good Man” would be played…and another called “Let’s Be Still”…and “Stubborn Love”…not coincidences, haha!
(Looooove this! Thank you so much for sharing!)
Christina: I loved how individualized your characters were in Open Road Summer; how distinct their personalities and voices were while reading. Looking at all of your main characters, which one character trait do you wish you could steal from each of them?
Emery: I’d actually like to steal some degree of not giving a shit from Reagan, haha. I’m really sensitive, a chronic try-hard, always the first to apologize, etc. From Dee, I’d like her ability to be totally sincere in her sentimentality. I studied literature/minimalism in school, which kind of taught me to cringe at nostalgia. I still have to force myself away from that impulse. And I’d take Matt Finch’s way of turning on the charisma when he needs it. I’m such an easy read–can’t really hide if I’m upset, hurt, sad. It’d be nice to have that charm shield!
Christina: Lastly, I squealed and did a little jiggy dance in my living room when I saw that you have a new book set to be published from Bloomsbury in March 2015, The Start of Me & You. (Squeeeeeee, but why so far away?) Is there anything about this new novel that you can share with us? Is it similar or dissimilar to Open Road Summer in any particular way?
Emery: I can share with you thaaaat…I wanted to write something like the contemporary YA books I read when I was a teen, like Saving Francesca–quiet books that felt so much like my own experiences, about friend group dynamics and small character moments. Aaand there’s a ton of book nerdery within Me & You. It’s similar to ORS in that it’s still about ride-or-die friendship, about family dynamics, about falling in love, and about closing the gap between who you are and who you want to be. But it’s different in many ways! Past tense, an introverted good girl narrator, set in suburban Indiana, during the school year.
(Click the cover to read the summary and other deets from Goodreads.
Now, for a bit of fun!
1. Cake or pie person? Yes.
2. Favorite beverage? Coffee
3. Describe your perfect date in five words or less. You, me- all we need.
4. What was the last spontaneous thing you did? This afternoon, my husband and I drove up to Columbus to pretend like we were tourists there, haha. Like what would we do for the day if it wasn’t our hometown. It was really fun! I actually just like driving in the car with him, music blasting on the long stretches of beautiful highway. I’m, uh, into the open road and summer. Don’t know if you knew that about me.
5. Favorite childhood game? Reading The Westing Game. (Does that count? How about inside recess where I could play chess against fellow nerds? Notttt even kidding ;))
Thank you so much, Emery, for stopping by and visiting us today. We look forward to so many more of your words.
- Continue reading for more on the author and a giveaway opportunity…
For more on the author and her books, find her here: