Last month I reviewed an upcoming book called She's So Dead To Us. (Read my review here.) This was the first book I've read by Kieran Scott and let me tell you guys I am hooked! Today I'm really excited to have her swing by the blog to discuss her new book and music!
It came about at a time when I realized we needed a change from all the rich-bitch books that had been flooding the shelves. The people in those books represent such a small percentage of society, and I thought readers might want to read about someone more like themselves. Not only are we not all psychotically rich, but right now a lot of people are losing their jobs, a lot of families are having to readjust their priorities, and I thought “Why not write about one of those families? About a girl who’s been on both sides of the wealth spectrum and what life is like for her?” That was when I came up with Ally Ryan, and I created Orchard Hill, a town that has a lot of different types of people from all incomes and all backgrounds. I think it’s interesting to see how all those different people they really interact. Then, of course, I needed to throw in a little romance, because who doesn’t love romance?
When did you realize you wanted to make it a series?
It was always a series idea, probably because that’s just what I’m used to writing. I’ve been told I’m pretty good with a cliffhanger, and I LOVE to write them, so that was how I always imagined this story would play out.
Yes, I will votch that you're good at cliffhangers. (But when I say good, I really mean you're flat out evil!) Next question, I really warmed up to the character Ally right off the bat. Do you and her share any similarities?
Ally and I are a lot alike. I grew up in a town with a lot of very wealthy people, but my family didn’t always have a lot. My dad was a freelance writer, so there would be years when he made a whole mess of money, and years when he made next to nothing. He wasn’t much of a save-it-for-a-rainy-day type, so when we had a lot of money we got to wear cool clothes and go on trips and all this stuff, but if the next year he made nothing, it was all about hand-me-downs and budget meals and stay-cations. Like Ally I also had a complicated relationship with my father, so I was able to draw from that and hopefully make her many different feelings toward her dad (anger, frustration, admiration, love, confusion, disappointment) come to life.
You're walking down the street - what song is following you?
Definitely WALKING ON SUNSHINE by Katrina and the Waves.
Some people might not know this (like me for instance) but you've also write under a different pen names - Kate Brian and Emma Harrison. Is it hard juggling three different pen names?
It’s actually a lot of fun. I get to write all different types of things thanks to my many personalities! The only time it gets tough is when people contact me and say they want an interview with “Kate Brian” and they don’t want to mention Kieran Scott or vice versa. I’m like, “What’s wrong with Kieran Scott? What about Emma? She’s written some cool books, too!” And then I remember we’re not actually three different people. That makes me sound a little insane, doesn’t it? A couple weeks ago I did a GEEK MAGNET signing and all these girls were running up to me with copies of PRIVATE and MEGAN MEADE’S GUIDE TO THE MCGOWAN BOYS and FAKE BOYFRIEND, too. That was really cool. It reminds me of how much work these different names have allowed me to do and how many different readers I’ve reached that way.
I’ll give you my top three: 1) When Ally and Jake first meet. I came up with that idea in the middle of the night and had to run to my office to write it down so I wouldn’t forget. I love, love, love the unexpectedness and the sizzle of their first meeting. 2) When Jake asks Ally to dance at the Harvest Ball and she tells him off. I loved that because Ally sticks up for herself, even though she has feelings for him. 3) I love Shannen’s birthday party. But I can’t say more than that without spoiling the whole thing.
I think that's one reason why I loved Ally so much. She really stood her ground! Who's your favorite band/artist? Why are they your favorite?
Right now I’m going through a serious GLEE phase. I put on the soundtrack whenever I’m in my car and sing along. It makes me so happy just to belt out songs like that. I love anything I can sing along to, so a lot of my favorite artists happen to be solo women like Fiona Apple, Taylor Swift, Liz Phair, Alanis Morrisette, KT Tunstall, Colbie Caillat, Avril Lavigne, Sheryl Crow. I also love The Veronicas and Rilo Kiley. I’m liking Jonas Brothers right now because my son loves to dance around to them. Believe me, watching a two-year-jump up and down and sing “You gotta B-B Good to Me!” will make you love WHOEVER is singing it!
Have you experienced any 'rock star' writing moments?
For me a rock star writing moment would be one of those moments when I come up with an idea I love so much I have to put on some Lady Gaga or Miley Cyrus and dance around my office. (I like those two, too. They’re good for dancing!) I’ve had a few of those. I also had a moment recently at a signing when a girl came up to me hyperventilating about meeting me, which was DEFINITELY rock star. I was so baffled that anyone would be that excited to meet me. I’ll never forget it.
Out of all the books/series you've written, do you have a favorite?
I WAS A NON-BLONDE CHEERLEADER holds a special place in my heart because it was the first idea that was all mine. No brainstorming, no help from editors in the creating process. It was just me. I’ll always love those characters. But right now I’m all about SHE’S SO DEAD TO US. I worked harder on it than I ever have on anything else, so I love it for that reason.
Any hints to what might be going on in the second book? (I'm pretty much dying to know over here!)
Most of the characters are going to be “down the shore” as we say here in New Jersey, for the summer. Ally is going to do some serious rebelling for the first time in her life because she’s all conflicted about her parents and Jake and her friends. There may be some new romantic entanglements, but I can’t give away more than that!
Ally rebelling? I'm liking the sound of this! Do you have any advice for aspiring writers?
The advice I always give aspiring writers is “never give up.” Everyone reaches a point where they think all their ideas are crap, or they are halfway through a story, novel or poem and they get stuck. In those situations, my best advice is to write something—anything—to get you going again. Even if it’s a horrible paragraph or a horrible poem, it’ll get you started. It’s like warm ups in gym class. You can’t just jump right into the game, you need to get your heart rate up first, get psyched up for the game, and then you play all the better. If you get your brain working, something good just might come out of it.
Thanks so much for hanging out with us, Kieran! If you'd like to know more about Kieran and her books, swing by her website.