We're thrilled to have Katie M. Stout join us to share more about her debut novel HELLO, I LOVE YOU.
ABOUT THE BOOKHello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout
St. Martin's Griffin
A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.
Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.
She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.
Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process.
Katie, how long or hard was your road to publication? How many books did you write before HELLO, I LOVE YOU, and how many never got published?
Hello, I Love You is the third book I wrote. The first was a monstrous, 150,000-word fantasy novel I wrote in high school that will never see the light of day. Ever. The second was a YA dystopian that was embarrassingly bad. There were some unfinished projects in the middle that I sort of played around with, but Hello was the first thing I finished after the dystopian disaster. It was also the first MS that I ever really queried, even though I never thought it would actually get me an agent. I just sort of saw it as, "Hey, I have nothing to lose. Let's just see what happens."
It was a long process to publication, though. I queried more than 90 agents. 90. Seriously. It took almost a year, and I revised the manuscript a million times. After signing with my agent, we were on submission for nearly six months before we got an offer from two editors. So there was a ton of waiting!
What did this book teach you about writing or about yourself?
I think this whole process of writing the book and getting it published has taught me that I can do a lot more than I ever thought I could. I'm pessimistic by nature, so I never thought I would see anything I wrote on a bookshelf.
It still amazes me that this is happening. I feel so incredibly lucky. But I'm also proud - proud that I did something I never thought I could. Yes, there was a lot of luck involved, but there was also a ton of hard work. And I can actually do more than I tend to think I can.
What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?
Hello was pitched as Anna & the French Kiss in Korea, which I think is pretty accurate. Other travel-centric YA books that I think are similar are Kristin Rae's Wish You Were Italian and Lauren Morrill's Meant to Be. The romance is definitely hate-to-love, and one reader said it reminded her a lot of Pride and Prejudice, which I think totally fits.
But on a more serious note, I think one of the themes of the book is finding yourself in a place that's unfamiliar - in the place you least expected - a theme that's explored in books like Daisy Whitney's When You Were Here and Kirsten Hubbard's Wanderlove.
ABOUT THE AUTHORKatie M. Stout's debut is called Hello, I Love You, and it releases with St. Martin’s Press on June 9, 2015! She's from Atlanta, Georgia, but she has a passion for travel, which has taken me all over the world. She's lived in Thailand and England, and she's visited five continents. She loves Southern sweet tea and English sticky toffee pudding, and she works in social media and marketing for a Christian charity.
Want to know more? You can find HELLO, I LOVE YOU at the links below:
Purchase Hello, I Love You at Amazon
Purchase Hello, I Love You at IndieBound
View Hello, I Love You on Goodreads
And what did you think of our interview with Katie? Let us know in the comments!
Martina, Jocelyn, Shelly, Jan, Lisa, Susan, and Erin