Monday, June 17, 2013

Some Questions and Answers with “My Life Next Door” Author, Huntley FitzPatrick

Upcoming author of the summer romance My Life Next Door, Huntely FitzPatrick takes a seat with us for some questions and answers.

Welcome to Inkspiration Huntley! We're so happy to have you here.

You've made a splash in your debut novel, My Life Next Door. In your novel, Jase and Samantha come of age in very different environments with contrasting families as well. According to your "The Author" page on your website, you grew up in a household of readers.  How much did your childhood affect your writing?

I think, like all childhoods, in every way. One of my very first memories is of my sister holding up a hand, buried in a book. I wanted her to play outside with me and she said “When you can read, you will understand.” And I do. Every writer has themes they do again and again. Escaping into other worlds is one of mine. That comes directly from loving to read. One of my greatest pleasures as a parent has been watching each of my children fall in love with books. They’re idiosyncratic, it’s never the same book, but...I know if they find books to love, they will never be alone.

My Life Next Door plays on themes of loyalty and family. Do you believe blood should before everything else? Should you put those first who've been there for you, no matter how long you've known them/if they're related?

I don’t think blood should trump it all. I think the people who show for you are the people you should show for. I lived in NYC during the 80’s,  hardest part of the AIDS epidemic. It was painful to watch. But I saw all these people being “more family than family” experience I will never stop being grateful for. People who had prided themselves on their beauty, their poise, suddenly had to deal with that all being gone. And their “found families” showing up for them. It hurt to watch, but I loved it.

Why do you write for teenagers instead of adults? Would you be open to writing for adults in the future, or would you stick in YA?

So many answers to this question. Maybe I’m stuck in thinking "When I grow up, I will finally get the hang of this." Maybe because I love the questioning, the honesty of teenagers. Maybe because writing about walking on the beach is more fun than writing about doing the laundry. I would be open to write for anyone, really. The questions don’t actually change.

What has surprised you most about publishing your book?

Aside from that it was published? The kindness of bloggers. The warmth of readers.

Which scene in this novel was the hardest to write? Why?

Sam breaking up with Jase. Ugh. That was hard. I have a fabulous writer friend who loves the fight scenes. I find them incredibly difficult. Don’t do that, don’t say that!

If you could co-write a novel with any other writer-dead or alive- who would it be and why?

Gonna go back to my roots here and say Louisa May Alcott. I could let her be comfortable with not choosing the intellectual guy every time, and she could add emotional depth. We would be a good team. And I could talk her into fixing Little Women. Professor Bhaer? C’mon Louisa.

If your readers took one thing away from My Life Next Door, what would it be?  

Wow. This is the hardest question. Not in the ‘I’m so profound there are many things to take’ way. just in the “I wrote the story without intending any moral’ way. I guess it would be that there are kind boys out there who will treasure you. That you can trust yourself, even when your whole life is telling you to go a different way.

Why did you choose the title My Life Next Door?

It took a while to get to. My working title was “Watching the Garretts” which my older daughters told me was incredibly creeping.  I was searching for a title that suggested you need to find your life, rather than take the obvious road. When I thought of this one, it was an aha moment. I was really grateful to Penguin for sticking with it.

What's the next project for you?  

My next YA contemporary, What I thought Was True, comes out in Spring, 2014. After that, I’m crossing fingers for a MLND follow up.

And finally, what Inkspires you?

Hmm. What Inkspires me. Water, always. Isak Dineson's quote "the cure for anything is salt water. Sweat, tears, or the sea" is a defining one for me. When faced with anything hard, from a death of someone close to me to a tricky plot question, I walk the beach, or I ride my bike along the shore, or I sit in the pool and look at the stars, take a hot bath. Water is my ultimate inspiration.

Want to find out more about Huntley FitzPatrick?

You can visit her website, like her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter and Tumblr.

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