Author: Sarah Tomp
Pub. Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.
Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.
Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.
Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?
The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?
Hi Sarah! Great to have you on the blog today! Let's get this started, shall we?
Thanks so much for having me!
1) Tell us a bit about your inspiration for this book.
I’ve decided that writing a novel is little bit like making moonshine. A bunch of ingredients are thrown into the pot and start fermenting. It gets kind of messy for a while, and things are thrown out, but eventually all of it works together to create the final product.
Ingredients used in the making of MY BEST EVERYTHING
· One overachieving good girl about to break all the rules, even her own
· One recovering alcoholic, former bad boy who’s good at fixing things
· Country music
· Destiny vs. free will
2) Do you like to listen to music while you write? If so, what kind?
I don’t usually listen to music when I write, at least not deliberately. I do most of my writing at my kitchen table in the middle of whatever else is going on in my house; so I don’t always get to choose my background soundtrack. I am shockingly good at ignoring noise and chaos.
However, I love music! My husband and I go see a lot of up and coming bands in small venues—I’m rarely disappointed in the shows. When I’m not writing, I often listen to music that makes me think about my characters and their story. Or, I’ll hear a song and it will bring with it a gift of insight into what my story needs. When I was writing My Best Everything, I listened to a lot of country music—for the rhythm, the stories, and the themes. From the very first draft, I always knew that Lulu’s best friend, Roni, was going to join a band and start writing songs. In fact, my very first working title was Country Love Song.
3) If you could make your life into a movie, what would you call it and why?
First of all, I am terrible at titles!
During the submission process alone, the novel now known as My Best Everything had at least five different titles. And when it came time to decide on the official title… well, that was the one and only time I cried during this path to publication!
And now you want me to name my own life story?
Let’s call it Lost and Found. I’ve spent a lot of time wandering—actually and metaphorically—and I’m constantly losing objects like keys and purses and jackets. But I—and my objects—usually end up found again, one way or another. But tomorrow, I may find a new, better, title!
4) You're stepping into a book, your favorite story, as your favorite character. Who are you and why would you want to be that character in that particular book?
Yikes! I tend to fall in love with tough and gritty stories. And my favorite characters are flawed and often make terrible choices. So, it’s hard to say I’d want to step inside and be one of them.
But now I’m intrigued. I’ll go with the strange and mysterious steam-punk-ish world of Chime by Franny Billingsley. I love feisty Briony and would love to run wild in the swamp talking to the Old Ones. But my real motivation? Eldric, of course. Tawny-haired, golden lion-eyed Eldric who makes interesting little fidgets to play with and admire. I’d definitely go a few rounds of boxing with him!
5) If you could have one magical power, even one you make up, what would it be? How would you use it (good, evil, a little of both)?
What a great question! And yet…I have no answer. Partly because I’ve heard enough stories of magic gone wrong; but mostly because I am, through and through, a real world girl. I am constantly amazed by this world and the people who live in it. Real people, real situations are enough for me. That’s why I write realistic fiction.
But I honestly think falling in love is a very real kind of magic, bordering on miraculous. To have two people, each with their own histories and scars, but also their hopes and dreams for the future, meet at the exact right moment and feel the same way about each other… well, that’s an abracadabra kind wow to me.
6) You move across the world. You can only take 10 books with you (though you'd be able to get others where you were going), which ones do you choose?
Ack! Too hard to decide! Except... I can get books where I’m headed! Yay! Unless, of course, something goes wrong and I end up stranded on a desert island… Either way, it will be nice to have some books I haven’t read yet. Since I have a crazy tall TBR pile right now, I’m going to pick from there:
· As You Wish by Cary Elwes
· Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern
· I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
· My Heart and Other Black Holes by Jasmine Warga
· Girls Like Us by Gail Giles
· The Carnival at Bray by Jessie Ann Foley
· These Gentle Wounds by Helene Dunbar
· The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
· Going Over by Beth Kephart
· The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Coffee in the morning, herbal tea in the afternoon.
Black or white?
NYC or Paris?
New York City! I’ve never been there.
Finish this phrase in your own words: When in Rome...
Eat, drink, and say hello to the Pope.
Beach or mountains?
This is why I live in San Diego—we have both! But, if I had to choose, beach would win.
Tell us one quirky thing about yourself.
I am the queen of power naps. I can completely fall fast asleep completely zonked out, and then wake up refreshed and ready to go—in as little as seven minutes total, but twelve minutes is my average. This is good because writing makes me sleepy! I’ve been known to measure a good writing day by the number of naps taken. I think my record is five in one day.
Thanks so much for being on The Cover Contessa today! So great to have you and good luck with your book!
Thanks for having me!
Sarah Tomp has a MFA in writing for children and young adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts.
My Best Everything, a novel for young adults, will be published March 2015 by.
She is also the author of a picture book; Red, White, and Blue Good-bye ().
Sarah teaches creative writing for University of California San Diego Extension. She reviews books for Bookbrowse.com and co-authors the blog, Writing on the Sidewalk.
Photo by Roxyanne Young
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