Hello everyone. Today we are interviewing Kristen Kehoe, author of the new novel Life Interrupted as she embarks on her blog tour. Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour and sign up for the giveaway at the end of the post.
It’s a pleasure to (virtually) meet you! I enjoyed reading Life Interrupted and am looking forward to our chat.
Hello, and thank you for (virtually) having me.
1. We all know a cover often determines whether readers pick up a book. I have to admit, I was really drawn to your cover. (And I love that the figures don’t have faces!) What was in your mind as you chose this cover for Life Interrupted?
Covers are so difficult, mainly because they are so important and they give your reader that image to capture and take with them. The most difficult part was in deciding what one image I wanted the reader to take. It’s a romantic tale, there’s no question about that, so I toyed with the romantic couple on the front, but at the heart it’s a love story in more than one aspect. It’s about the love of mother to daughter, friend to friend, and the love of self. I wanted a cover that showed strength and love and joy and Erica Streelman at Erica Streelman photography found a vision I could love and feel something from.
2. Several of your characters (Rae, Katie, and Markus) suffer from abandonment issues coupled with feelings of inadequacy. Do you feel these are common problems among today’s teens and new adults?
Unfortunately, abandonment, loneliness, and inadequacy are rampant in our teens and new adults. Life is only getting more complicated because we have such high expectations while giving virtually no guidelines. I’ve taught high school for the past nine years, acted as a mentor and counselor, and so many of my students have to battle expectations each day that I simply cannot fathom. Expectations from parents, from friends, from coaches, from girlfriends or boyfriends…it’s so difficult for them to just BE, to just go through life trying things and finding themselves because really, we expect them to have a plan and a dream and the motivation to accomplish it at a very early age. These expectations often lead to those difficult decisions, or rash ones, that make life even harder.
3. What message would you like readers of Life Interrupted to take from your novel?
Ha, well, I don’t want to hit them over the head with it, because if I’ve learned anything from teaching high schoolers and new adults it’s that they have to find things out on their own, but if there was one thing I felt the most from Rae and her story, it’s that you have to be strong enough to stand on your own and be who you are. That also means accepting those really difficult parts of ourselves, the ones that we aren’t proud of, and it means accepting the decisions we’ve made. When we accept ourselves, we can accept others into our lives, and when we have someone to share things with, even for just a little bit, everything is just better.
4. When you were the age of your character Rae, what were some of your favorite books? What would Rae think of your teen reading tastes?
Nora Roberts, anything and everything she wrote. I was captivated by Irish Thoroughbred and then fell in love with Honest Illusions and Hidden Riches. I was far more romantic in my notions than Rae, and I can guarantee that had we been friends, she would have undoubtedly mocked me for my reading preferences and tastes.
5. Which authors influenced your writing the most? Why?
Nora Roberts made me want to write because she told me a story that made me feel something, every time. As for writing style (which is obviously still being honed and worked on), James Patterson was the first person I read who dedicated a chapter to each character while also making them short, and Sarah Dessen was the first young adult/new adult author I read that made me think it was the genre I wanted to write. When I read her Dreamland, I was inspired, devastated, horrified, and so proud of this woman I didn’t even know. After that moment I wrote Finding You, my first novel, and I’ve stuck with the young adult/new adult demographic since.
6. What is your opinion of author Ruth Graham’s statement that adults should not read YA fiction? What percentage of your readers are adults?
False. That’s what I would say. Not only because I’m a mature YA and NA writer, but because telling someone what they can’t read is no one’s job but a parent’s, and she’s not my mother–who, consequently, does read YA fiction. I don’t have the following that many authors do, but the majority of readers that I correspond with are women with teenage children of their own. It gives us both insight when we talk about fictional characters and their motivations, and really, what’s wrong with going back to a time in your life and being able to look at it fondly instead of negatively, or not looking back at all? We all went through high school and our twenties (I just left mine behind in July), so we all understand what it means to be scared to branch out and trust ourselves to the world, and our heart to that one person that makes us feel more. And we all understand the devastation that can come from loving someone. If Ruth Graham doesn’t want to go back there, so be it, but I won’t ever stop reading about an age that changes us all in one way or another (and I’m certainly not giving up my Harry Potter collection).
7. I noticed on your author page that you love big dogs though (there weren’t any in Life Interrupted). As a fellow author/lover of big dogs, I have to ask: Do any of your novels feature big dogs?
I ADORE big dogs. My Great Dane, King Diego, is one of my first loves…he’s also insane, despite what the breeder said was a calm demeanor. Think Marmaduke. My first novel, Finding You (young adult), features a Newfoundland, Moose, who is suspiciously similar to that of my own mother’s dog when I was in college. My second novel, Beyond the Horizon, featured a Labrador but he didn’t really fit with my character when I got down to it. As much as I love dogs, my characters’ lives have to match with the dog. The second installment of Beyond the Horizon is coming out in the fall of 2014, and for whatever reason, it features a cat. I am not a cat owner, and I didn’t see Cora being a cat owner, but there you go.
Thank you, Kristen, for taking the time to answer these burning questions! I wish you all success in the life of Life Interrupted. Readers, tune in August
Thank you, Deb, for having me. And thank you for reading Life Interrupted. Happy summer.
Life Interrupted by Kristen Kehoe
Rachel Reynolds isn’t running from her past, but she wouldn’t mind if it stopped chasing her, either. A senior in high school getting ready to graduate, Rachel is trying to look ahead toward her future, while forgetting the one night two years ago that set events in motion which altered the course of her entire life. Part of the future she’s looking for includes falling out of love with her best friend, an act she seems incapable of, especially when it appears he might just love her, too. As Rachel tries to find her footing in a relationship that has baggage before it starts, a nightmare from her past reappears, upsetting the tenuous balance of Rachel’s life and threatening the one person she loves most.
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About the Author:
Mom, Wife, Coffee Addict, and Book Lover
I am a writer of YA/NA contemporary novels. I write about those crazy ages of 18-23 because there is nothing scarier than being told to grow up and decide what to do with your life and who to be so suddenly. I write about love because it’s my belief that love, in one form or another, saves us all at some point in our lives. I am married to a man who understands and believes in me, and mother to a beautiful baby girl and a neurotic Great Dane Puppy.
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