Emme is a sophomore in high school who starts dating, Brendon Agretti, the popular senior who happens to be a senator's son and well-known for his good looks. Emme feels out of her comfort zone in Brendon's world and it doesn't help that his picture perfect ex, Lauren seems determined to get back into his life along with every other girl who wants to be the future Mrs. Agretti. Emme is already conflicted due to the fact her last boyfriend cheated on her and her whole world is off kilter with her family issues. Life suddenly seems easier keeping Brendon away and relying on her crystals and horoscopes to guide her. Emme soon starts to realize she needs to focus less on the stars and more on her senses. Can Emme get over her insecurities and make her relationship work? Life sure is complicated when you're dating the it guy.
Krysten has written four other books and you can learn more about her at her website. Now let's hear from Krysten about her writing.
1. How did you get interested in writing?
I’ve been making up stories since I was a kid and I knew I wanted to be a writer in the fourth grade. I think all of my friends were obsessed with books at the time and we all wanted to be writers, but for me….well, I just never outgrew that love of it.
2. What inspired you to come up with this story?
I was watching a biography on TV about John F. Kennedy Jr. and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy and I thought, what would it have been like if they met in high school? So I created a character named Emme who starts dating the son of a well-known senator and all the drama and insecurity it creates for her.
3. Tell me about the main character, Emme, and what inspired you to create her.
Emme is a complex character in that she truly cares for Brendon, but her insecurity about being cheated on in the past colors her ability to completely trust him—or anyone. I created someone who is different than the girls Brendon is used to—he comes from a wealthy, preppy world, and Emme is a bit of a boho chick. She’s a vegetarian and into crystals and horoscopes and has a small group of friends who all have their own personalities while he’s friends with everyone and honestly, his crew all seems so similar. I loved writing about her family relationships as well as her emotions as she watched her grandparents dealing with illness and loss. She’s a sweet character, but with a bit of a sarcastic wit.
4. What characters, other than Emme, did you find enjoyable to write as you progressed with the book?
I liked writing the Brendon character and seeing what made him tick and how living as the son of a politician would impact his life. Another JFK Jr. bio came out right as I was finishing the book and as I watched it, I could see more of the pressures on him, so I decided to have Brendon want to go to school for journalism, but his family expected him to follow their path (his grandfather had also been a senator and several other family members were in politics, too). I liked seeing the progression of the character as he felt more comfortable in sharing this with Emme.
5. What are some of the themes you explored in writing the novel?
There’s family relationships, love, trust, loss, and friendship. The subplot deals with Emme’s grandparents and I’ve been hearing from readers how it moved them.
6. What were some of the things you learned along the way as you wrote and edited the book?
I learned to trust the process and let the story lead me and not what I thought people would want to read. I had been told by two editors to take the subplot with the grandmother to where the reader experienced what Emme did firsthand. I resisted thinking readers wouldn’t want to read that, but so far all the feedback has been positive, so I’m glad I listened and that I wrote from the heart and not just what I thought people would want to read. By letting myself go and writing from the heart it meant the scene came organically and was not contrived.
7. Tell me more about the Landry’s True Colors Series you have written – what were your experiences like with that series?
The Landry’s True Colors Series is about an 8th grader named Landry Albright who is dealing with friendships and frenemies. She’s torn between wanting to stand out, but she also wants to fit in with the crowd. You see Landry trying to figure out which group of friends she’s most comfortable with and learning to appreciate the things about herself that make her unique. Middle school is a difficult time for most of us and Landry is just figuring it out as well. It’s a funny series and I love hearing from readers who identify with the characters.
8. And what can you tell me about the Star series and your experiences writing those books?
The Star Series is a YA series about a girl named Hadley Daniels who moves to a beautiful beach town and winds up living next door to a former TV star, Simone, who is in Hadley’s class. In the series we see Hadley feel insecure next to Simone, but in reality the reader sees Simone has more issues with self-esteem than Hadley and the other girls. There’s romance, humor, and family relationships, too. I wanted to write the kind of beach novel that I always loved reading.
9. What do you find is the right environment for you to write?
I need complete silence. I hate being interrupted, so I tend to write at night or very early in the morning. I write either in my office or in my living room. I can scribble a bit in a notebook here and there when I’m out, but for serious work, I need to be in a quiet area.
10. Are there specific programs or tools you find useful to help you with the writing process?
I have one on my laptop, but I’ve never used it. I think I write better when I write in a notebook first, but usually because of time restraints, I go to my laptop first.
11. What have you found to be useful methods for promoting your writing?
I think it’s important to let people know what to expect from your writing, so it helps to have a platform well before your book ever comes out. When my first book came out, the people around me were already familiar with my humor essays and articles and other short stories I had written. And you have to let people get to know you.
12. What are some of the famous books or authors you have enjoyed or inspired you?
I like to read May Sarton, Cathy Hopkins, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and I am reading Agnes Nixon’s autobiography right now which is very inspiring.
13. Any aspiring or independent authors whose books you’ve read that you liked and want to mention to others to check out?
Christina Lorenzen is great for romance and Heather Gray writes inspirational romance. Both work checking out. For middle grade, S.J. Henderson’s Daniel the Draw-er books.
14. What advice would you give to those who want to write a novel before they actually get started?
Publish articles and short stories to get your work out there and to get used to having your work being read. The most important advice is to read, read, read and take classes and workshops.
15. What was it like taking ballet lessons? Did you learn anything useful from them?
I find ballet very calming and I think it helps with poise and discipline.
16. What was it about Breakfast at Tiffany’s that compelled you to watch it all the time when you were in high school?
Watching it as an adult I can see how lost Holly was and how she was shying away from what could be a real love relationship. I think as a teen I picked up on some of that, but not to the extent I see it now. And the clothes—you gotta love the clothes.
17. You’re a Detroit Lions fan… do you have any favorite players in particular (past or present)?
My dad and I used to go to the Lions’ training camps and draft parties. I was a fan of Barry Sanders, Johnnie Morton, Luther Ellis, and more recently, Calvin Johnson. I had high hopes for Reggie, but that didn’t go the way I had hoped.
18. Tell me more about the Pacifica soy candles you like so much.
I love the lotus flower candle and I like to light candles for a calming sense to the room before I begin to work on a novel.
19. Can you give me a couple of your favorite quotes from American Dad?
One thing I always say when something crazy happens on the news is, “This country….” In my best Stan Smith voice. I also use random Roger the alien quotes like saying I’m “friendsly” with someone, which means you don’t know them at all.
20. Who would win a battle of superhero skills: Superman, Batman or Wonder Woman?
Wonder Woman of course. Anyone who can run in high heeled boots has an added set of skills the other two couldn’t dream of.