Please welcome Heather Duffy-Stone
, author of the YA novel THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU
, which was released at the beginning of March.About the book:
Fraternal twins Nadio and Noelle share a close connection—and as Noelle's best friend since they were five, Keeley Shipley fit perfectly into their world. But everything changes after Keeley spends the summer before junior year at Oxford. When Keeley returns, Nadio falls in love with her. Noelle, ripped apart by resentment, sees her as an ungrateful rich girl. But Keeley has a painful story that she can't tell yet. As Nadio and Keeley hide their romance, Noelle dives into something of her own—a destructive affair with an older boy.
Beautifully presented by dual narrators in a haunting stream of memories, this is the deeply moving story of how secrets can consume a friendship—and how love can heal it.An Interview with Heather Duffy-Stone:Me: What were your favorite books (or types of books) as a teen, and what was it about them that appealed to you? What, on the other hand, would make you put a book down?Heather:
From as early as I can remember I would read almost anything that was available. It was rare that I put a book down. It still is… I just feel that once I’ve started it, I’ve made a commitment. I admit I love a good tragedy, a sad ending, and supremely flawed characters.Me: Have your reading tastes stayed the same, or have you discovered new loves and peeves (and if so, what are they)?Heather:
My reading tastes have grown up some but really haven’t changed to much. I love a good sad story. I love multiple voices. Anything about the strength and independence someone needs to survive, to pull himself up or turn things around--I love this kind of thing.Me: What was your favorite part of writing THIS IS WHAT I WANT TO TELL YOU, and what was the hardest?Heather:
I loved writing this book, I really did. I was so deeply in it. I loved writing Parker. I have a crush on him, even though I know he’s not good for me. But that was the thing about writing him, I could give him that soft edge… the cooking scene too, was one of my favorites. Writing multiple voices was very tough, switching between the two characters and keeping them authentic, different yet connected. This was extremely hard but also sort of thrilling.Me: Did you draw on any people/places/experiences from your life while writing?Heather:
YES. Absolutely. Completely. I make things up. I make everything up. But everything is influenced by my real life, the people in it, the places I go…Me: What was the most exciting moment during the publishing process? The scariest?Heather:
The first time I spoke to my editor, Andrew Karre. He called me before work one day and I sat at the kitchen table with my morning coffee, listening to this editor talk to my about my characters, their lives and motivations. I thought “this is real” and he really got them. It was pretty amazing… the scariest part is now. What if no one reads the book?Me: What are you working on now?Heather:
I’m working on a project I am so excited about. It’s called What He Left Behind and its about a girl who comes to New York to spend the summer with a father she barely knows. She meets this boy who is a street artist and it turns out he is also an undocumented immigrant. Understanding his struggle with living in this country illegally, how his art has been shaped by this, and the ways that they both feel invisible in New York, is all part of what I’m playing with right now. I’m really excited about it.
Hope you enjoyed getting to know Heather! Another interview to come next week. :)