We Are The Ghosts
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 13th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
After her estranged brother suddenly dies, a girl embarks on a road trip to rediscover who her brother really was in Vicky Skinner’s contemporary YA novel, We Are the Ghosts.
When Ellie’s estranged brother, Luke, dies in a car accident, she’s not sure whether to be devastated that she lost the person who was once her best friend or enraged, still, that he left without a word a year ago. Now, the only people who seem to understand what she’s going through are Luke’s best friend and his ex-girlfriend, who she bonds with over their desire to figure out where Luke went when he walked out of their lives.
As she gets closer to them, and closer to Cade, a boy who seems determined to get to know her better, she realizes that she’s not the only one with reasons to be angry at Luke. And when Ellie makes a discovery that changes everything, she and her new friends hit the road, hoping that following Luke’s trail will bring them answers about the life Luke was living away from them.
1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did you want to be something else?
I’ve known since I was thirteen that I wanted to be a writer. Before that, I wanted to be a painter, an Egyptologist, a toxicologist, amongst other things. Turns out, writing is the only thing I’m good at!
2. How long does it take you to write a book from start to finish?
That’s a tricky question because the process can take years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I’m actively working on a project for years. Every November, I write a first draft of a new book in 30 days and then put it away for 6 to 12 months while I work on other things. Once I pull it back out, it’s about 6 more months for me to rewrite and revise before I feel comfortable submitting anywhere.
3. How do you come up with themes for your stories?
I focus on my life. All of my books start with a little seed of truth somewhere in my past and then usually grows into a completely fictional tale. Mostly I focus on what I would have wanted someone to tell me when I was a teenager.
4. Do you have a schedule of when you write?
I’m blessed to be able to write full-time right now, so I usually write during normal business hours, from about 7 AM to 3 PM.
5. How are you able to balance other aspects of your life with your writing?.
It can be hard sometimes. I’m a bit of a workaholic, so I always want to be in front of my computer. But I make it a point to be done working by the time my husband gets home and to do my best to say yes to every social opportunity I have so that I don’t isolate myself. I always try to remember that if I’m not on deadline, the writing can wait.
6. What elements do you think make a great story line?
Romance will always be my top. I love love stories. But I also love friendship stories and stories about family. I love stories that make people feel less alone, that someone can connect to on a bone-deep level, and I absolutely love books that delve into a corner of the world I’ve never thought about before.
7. What was the hardest thing about writing a book?
The hardest thing for me in writing is seeing the big picture and being willing to let go of my vision when the characters want to take the wheel. But I think I’ve gotten better at it??
8. How many books have you written so far? Do you have a favorite?
At last count, 19. I definitely have two favorites, but neither of them have been published yet!
9. Do you have a favorite character?
Yep. Yep. Yep. His name is Jonathan, and I really hope the world is going to get to meet him very soon!
10. Where do you write?
I take every opportunity I can! I mostly write at home, in my office, but I also write in cafes and libraries. I keep a notebook in my bag for writing any time I’m not doing something else.
11. When deciding on how to publish, what directed you to the route you took?
Just in case anyone doesn’t know, I published through Macmillan’s imprint, Swoon Reads, which allows writers to upload their manuscripts to the SR website and then editors choose their favorite projects to publish. I actually didn’t plan to submit another book to Swoon Reads, as I’d already submitted two, but I was feeling shaky about the book I was working on (HOW TO BREATHE UNDERWATER, on sale now!), and I wanted some reader feedback, so I put it up on the site, and next thing I knew, it was getting picked for publication!
12. Have you gotten feedback from family about your book(s)? What do they think?
Most of my family aren’t big readers, but my mom and my sister love the two that are out. Anytime my mom tells me she cried, I take that as a win. And very recently, my stepfather told me he loved WE ARE THE GHOSTS which was a big deal because I’ve never heard him compliment a piece of art, ever.
13. What kinds of things do you like to do outside of writing?
I’m a movie buff, so any time I’m not writing or reading, I’m probably watching a movie. I also love to run, sketch, cross stitch, paint my nails, bake, go to church, and just generally get into shenanigans with my husband and my friends.
14. What kinds of advice would you give to someone who wants to start writing?
I feel like everything that could be said has been said before: Write what you want to read, write all the time, finish the book, never stop writing. But honestly, if you’re just starting out, what I have to say is write about whatever you want to write about and then don’t let anyone see it. Write uncensored first, and then start thinking about the eyes that will see it and how you want the story to be perceived.
15. What is your favorite book? favorite author? Do you have an author that inspired/inspires you to write?
This is an easy one! My favorite book is Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen, who happens to be my favorite author and the author who has been the biggest inspiration in my writing career.
16. Do you have any go-to people when writing a book that help you with your story lines as well as editing, beta reading and such?
I have different people that I go to for different things. One of my best friends, Meghan, is my go-to when I’m stuck on a plot that isn’t working. I feel like she always asks the right questions. But my beta reader, Stephanie, is awesome because she’s not a writer and is always the best at reading from the perspective of just a reader which is extremely useful. And I’m also always bouncing ideas off my husband and my mom.
17. Are you working on anything now?
Always! I’m rewriting an old story right now that I’m really hoping is going to see the light of day soon as it’s a story that’s very much near and dear to my heart.
18. Tell us 5 things that make you smile
My husband, dog videos, hearing an amazing song for the first time, swoony boys in books, The Greatest Showman
19. Tell us 5 things that make you sad
Politics, Avengers: End Game, The Handmaid’s Tale, seeing my friends suffer, books where someone dies
20. If you could travel anywhere in the world to visit a place so you could use it as a background for a book, where would it be?
Norway. I’ve considered for a few years now taking a research trip out there for a few months because I would love to write a book about the teens in Norway.
Born and raised in Texas, I don’t act like much of a Texan. I like cold weather and hate country music. I have a gorgeous husband, two dogs, and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. If I’m not at home reading a book or doing laundry, I’m probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. I’m a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.
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