Wednesday, April 15, 2015

ALL THE RAGE APRIL: Q&A with Author Courtney Summers

Hello, all!

We've had a bit of a break here for ALL THE RAGE APRIL but we're back with an extra special post! Today, I have a Q&A with Courtney Summers, author of All the Rage!! I am so dang excited!

Wanna hear a funny story about this? I actually asked Courtney to do a Q&A TWICE before this, but I got too nervous and never sent questions. Being the gracious and amazing person she is, Courtney, once again, agreed to do a Q&A for ALL THE RAGE APRIL and I actually sent questions this time. It was terrifying and nerve-wrecking (not gonna lie) but I did it. And now here they are! And without further ado:

Q&A with Author Courtney Summers

Lost at Midnight Reviews: It’s your fifth book release (well, six if you include What Goes Around)! What has been the most exciting part of the build-up this time around?
Courtney Summers: It's hard to believe I'm five books in! Wow. All the Rage was so difficult for me to write, more difficult than any of my other books--which is not to say my other books were easy to write, because they were difficult in their own ways--so just knowing it's going to be out there, that it's going to be read, has been the most exciting part of the build-up. I spent such a long time with it, and I'm so proud of it, that it's a really nice feeling to let it go and give it to readers.

LM: One of the things I’ve always admired about your novels is how realistic and honest the stories and characters are. Why do you think it’s so important to write novels that don’t sugar-coat realities girls face?
CS: Thank you so much. When you write, I think you have to be as honest as possible and you also have to be aware of what your work is adding to the larger conversation. I write about uncomfortable and difficult topics--from girl-bullying, suicide, depression, rape culture--and if I sugar-coated them to make it a more comfortable reading experience, I would undermine my work and much, much worse than that, I would be undermining the experiences of real girls. I want girls who are going through the things I write about to feel less alone--not lonelier. I think sugar-coating those kinds of topics would be at the expense of the reader. I never want to do that.

LM: All the Rage appears to have gone through some major changes since the rights announcement. What would you say was the hardest part of this story to capture?
CS: It really has changed! It's hard to think about earlier drafts because they were so different. I think really getting in Romy's head, into her hurt and her anger, was the hardest part. The earliest drafts really focused on plot more than the emotion, and I always do better when I'm focusing on a more emotions-based narrative. It was hard to get Romy to open up to me. Once I was able to capture who Romy was and what she was really feeling, things started falling into place.
LM: Another thing I loved about All the Rage was that Romy had a solid, imperfect support system in her mother and Todd. Why did you think it was important to include that in this novel?
CS: Thank you! I have to admit, I'm used to writing about girls who are determined to deal with just about everything they're going through on their own. Romy isn't different in that regard, but she is so incredibly isolated, far more than all my other protagaonists, that I knew I need to balance that out with some parental figures who were supportive and made that known to her as much as she needed to hear it. I also wanted to further drive home the social structure of Grebe. Alice and Todd  believe Romy whole-heartedly, and are there to help her, but even though they're adults, they're at the mercy of the same town politics and unfair power balance that Romy is.
LM: I have a lot of thoughts about the significance of the red nail polish (the English major in me went pretty overboard with the analysis)! What would you say is so important about the nail polish and lipstick for Romy?
CS: I'm glad to hear that! The nail polish and the lipstick are armour for Romy, but they're also one of the few ways she can control her own narrative. When she puts on the lipstick and nail polish, she is directing the way people look at her--if only for a moment. They see the red, before they see past it to her trauma. And if they are unaware of what happened, they don't see it at all. 
LM: I thought about wanting to hand this book out on street corners after I’d finished it! Is there any place you would like the hand All the Rage out to people?
CS: That is so kind of you to say! :) I don't have any specific places in mind--I just hope the book finds its readers, especially those who might need it. 
Thank you so much for stopping by the blog, Courtney!
You can find Courtney Summers on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, and Instagram and visit her author website!
Readers! If you haven't picked up All the Rage yet you NEED TO! You're going to love it (and have your heart ripped to shreds by it). 
Also, if you missed the incredible, worldwide trending (!!!) #ToTheGirls campaign yesterday, check out the tag on Twitter. It's moving and inspiring and just incredible!
Stop by tomorrow for another fabulous guest post!
- Ciara (Lost at Midnight)

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