Hey guys! Sorry about the hiatus. #30DaysofRomComs took a little break while I was in Boston for Boston Teen Author Festival this weekend! I promise to do a recap soon. The festival was fantastic, and I highly recommend it to any readers or author friends who are looking for great festivals!
But now we’re back, and kicking it back off with a bang. I have one of my favorite YA rom com writers, Amy Spalding, stopping by for an interview and a giveaway! Amy is the author of a mountain of hilarious novels, including The Reece Malcolm List and Kissing Ted Callahan (And Other Guys). Aside from writing amazing books, she’s also known for being hilarious on Twitter and displaying her awesomely eclectic fashion (sometimes known as Toddler Grandma style) on Instagram. So let’s get started!
Anyone who follows you on Twitter knows you’re a fan of badass lady bands. You also write some seriously feminist characters and sex-positive books. Is that connected? Is it intentional?
I’m a feminist, so anything I create or consumed is through a feminist lens, absolutely. However, it’s not really a conscious choice; it’s just who I am and how I think of the world. I feel very fortunate that even as our culture is still appallingly sexist, my life is filled with awesome women and men who believe in and advocate for nothing but equality while proudly calling themselves feminists. I know this isn’t how the whole world operates, but here’s the thing about writing romcoms: they already are within this beautiful amazing heightened reality where amazing meet-cutes happen and misunderstandings get resolved after an uplifting montage set to your favorite song. So if I get to play in a heightened world…I want to play in one that believes in women and girls, takes their needs seriously, and gives them romantic interests who do too. (Also, it’s all way swoonier when your crush respects you AND wants to make out with you!)
Your next book, The Summer of Jordi Perez (And the Best Burger in LA) sounds amazing, and is also a little different from the books you’ve written thus far. Can you tell us about the moment when Jordi became a character you knew you had to write about?
Honestly, the only real difference about this book is that my main character, Abby, doesn’t fall for a beautiful boy (like the main characters in my other books), but with a beautiful bad-ass girl, Jordi Perez. Otherwise I think Abby and Jordi and the rest of their world fit in well to The Amy Spalding Universe (TM). There’s art, music, Los Angeles sunshine, awkward flirting, a lot of detailed description of food. I really really wanted to write about a girl who fell for a girl because I’ve written a lot about super cute boys, and I wanted to have a fluffy swoony book out there for girls who like girls too.
Abby is also super into fatshion – she is plus size, loves clothes, cares deeply about style, and yet her journey has nothing to do with her weight. (Spoiler alert: she eats a lot of burgers in this book and is the same size on the last page as she is on the first one.) It mattered a lot to me that a girl who didn’t fit conventional beauty sizes — and yet reflected not just me but so many actual teens out there — could be in the center of a love story where she was desired by someone, just as she was.
The moment I knew I had to write Abby and Jordi’s story was actually when I saw someone on Twitter post that they’d love to see the sassy best friend character be the main character of their own story. It hit me that in Abby’s mind, that’s who she was. Suddenly the story I’d been trying to write for awhile finally flowed.
I also was inspired by a small moment in the opening of Fun Home the Musical (subconsciously, actually — when I saw it again the other week I realized it and was so thrilled that art that inspired me also inspired my work). In the midst of a fairly heavy show, there’s this tiny flash of hopeful sweet romance. I can’t say more…spoilers! Wait for 2018!
Speaking of Jordi Perez, this makes the third book with an awesomely parenthetical title. Are your titles all of your own invention? Where do they come from?
My first parenthetical title, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) was a three-part effort between me and two other friends. One thought of “Kissing Ted Callahan” which I loved but seemed a little…too sweet for the actual story, somehow? So another friend thought of “(and Other Boys)” but since Riley says “guys” in the book and not “boys”, I switched it! My publisher loved it and so it stuck. When it was time to think of a title for The New Guy (and Other Senior Year Distractions), my publisher definitely was interested in continuing this. So then when I wrote my next book, I definitely had that title structure in mind, and managed to come up with The Summer of Jordi Perez (and the Best Burger in L.A.) all on my own!
When can we expect a Toddler Grandma (TM) line to premier at fashion week?
NOT SOON ENOUGH FOR MY TASTE!
If you could see one of your books turned into a Hollywood rom com (movie or tv!), which would you pick?
If you’d asked me just a month or so ago, I would have said Kissing Ted Callahan. I’ve thought about this before and love the idea of it, especially the (spoiler alert!) concert scene at the end. That said, I’ve read in a few places lately that in TV and film, so rarely lesbians get to have a truly happily-ever-after. So knowing that, I would love love love to see a movie of The Summer of Jordi Perez. Also if they made it, they would have to come up with soooo many cute fat outfits that I (hopefully) could then steal from the set.
Thanks, Amy! And if you want to win a copy of Amy’s latest book, The New Guy (And Other Senior Year Distractions), comment below with which YA rom com you’d like to see as a movie! Contest ends October 14, US Only.
A ridiculously cute, formerly-famous new guy dropping into your life? It’s practically every girl’s dream.
But not Jules McCallister-Morgan’s.
I realize that on paper I look like your standard type-A, neurotic, overachiever. And maybe I am. But I didn’t get to be the editor of my school’s long-revered newspaper by just showing up*. I have one main goal for my senior year-early acceptance into my first choice Ivy League college-and I will not be deterred by best friends, moms who think I could stand to “live a little,” or boys.
At least, that was the plan before I knew about Alex Powell**.
And before Alex Powell betrayed me***.
I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, Jules. But you don’t understand. This stuff matters. This is my life. And I’m not going down without a fight.
* Okay, I sort of did. But it’s a sore subject.
** I mean, I guess everyone knows about Alex Powell? Two years ago, you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about viral video boy band sensation Chaos 4 All. Two years ago, Alex Powell was famous.
***Some people think I’m overreacting. But this. Means. War.
Filled with romance, rivalry, and passive-aggressive dog walking, Amy Spalding delivers a hilariously relatable high school story that’s sure to have you falling for The New Guy.
My Unscripted Life
Out October 11!
Amazon – Barnes & Noble – Indiebound