Jessica, what was your inspiration for writing BOYS OF SUMMER?
I love the books I’ve written in the past that have these clear inspiration stories where a lightbulb went off and I ran to my office to write something. I’ve had those. But BOYS OF SUMMER was not one of them. There were many “factors” that contributed to the creation of this book. The first, however, was when I found my teenage journal, among my old stuff. In reading it, I was reminded of how completely and utterly boy crazy I was at that age! Like, HOLY COW! I had a crush on a different boy every single day! LOL! I remember reading back through and thinking, “What on earth were the boys thinking through all of this madness?” That was kind of my first seed to tell a dramatic romance from the boy’s point of view.
Then, a few months after that, I was actually approached by my publisher, Simon Pulse, and asked if I’d be interested in writing a book from 3 boy points of view. I’d never written from a boy’s perspective before so I was a little nervous and intimidated. We talked about what the story would be and I started to get really excited. So I said yes. And that’s how BOYS OF SUMMER was born!
What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud?
Funny enough, it’s the same scene! And maybe that’s why I’m proud of it. Because it was so tough to write!
I can’t say much without spoiling something, but there’s a really big important emotional scene toward the end of the book that I’d been dreading writing the entire manuscript. I knew it was there. I knew it was coming. And I knew it had to be there as a climax of the boys’ stories, but I was afraid. I worried I couldn’t make it as big and impactful as it needed to be. So I kind of built it up in my head in the months leading up to it. My first draft of the scene was pretty meh. There were good “parts” but as a whole it wasn’t working. I sent it to my editor and she gave me some amazing notes on how to spruce it up. Then, when I went back to revise the scene, I don’t know, something came over me. A muse or some kind of stroke of inspiration. I ended up making the scene about twice as long and it all came together. Some early readers said they cried when they read it. That means I did my job! ☺
What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?
I think BOYS OF SUMMER is a great pick for readers who like Jenny Han, Morgan Matson, or Sarah Dessen. And anyone who’s looking for a breezy summer read filled with boy drama. Boy Drama?! What’s that? Well, read the book and you’ll see. It’s full of it.
Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?
Oh yes, oh yes. I could NOT sell a novel until I came across the book SAVE THE CAT by Blake Snyder. It’s a plotting book for screenwriters but I found it works great for novels too! Now I use it to plot ALL of my novels. It’s amazing. I highly recommend checking it out if you’re having ANY plotting problems! It’s magic!
What advice would you most like to pass along to other writers?
My best piece of advice is this: Don’t be afraid to write badly. Every great book that you’ve ever read started out as a crappy first draft. Sometimes you have to get through the bad stuff to find the good stuff. And remember, no matter what you write, you can always change it. Nothing is set in stone. Don’t be afraid to write crap. Crap makes great fertilizer!
ABOUT THE BOOKBoys of Summer
by Jessica Brody
Best friends since they were kids, Grayson, Mike, and Ian were hoping for another epic summer on “The Locks”, filled with clam bakes, bonfires, and late-night swims in the ocean.
But that was before Ian’s dad never returned home from his last deployment. Before Mike had to take on more responsibility in order to help provide for his family. Before Grayson’s accident left him with an injured throwing arm and an uncertain future.
It’s clear this summer on the island is shaping up to be very different from those Grayson, Mike, and Ian have come to rely on. And when the sacred code of dating a friend’s sister or ex is broken, it will push their friendship to the absolute limit, testing their loyalties in a way that could either break them—or save them.
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Jessica has a WHO'S YOUR BOY OF SUMMER quiz available to determine which of the three boys in the book you're most likely to fall in love with, so check it out here.
ABOUT THE AUTHORJessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self "publishing" her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape.
After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.
In four short years , Jessica has sold five novels (two adult novels to St. Martin's Press and three young adult novels to Farrar, Straus, Giroux.) The Fidelity Files, her debut, released in stores (in real binding) in June of 2008 and the follow-up, Love Under Cover in November 2009. The Karma Club, Jessica's debut young adult novel released in April 2010 and her second YA release, My Life Undecided just came out in June.
Jessica recently sold five more young adult titles to her publisher, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group. 52 Reasons to Hate My Father (which was recently optioned for film by producer Jane Startz) will be out in Summer 2012 and Unremembered, (also optioned for film by producer Doug Davison), the first book in a new sci-fi series, will be released in early 2012.
Jessica’s books have been sold in over twelve foreign countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil, China, Portugal, Israel, and Taiwan. Click here for a full list of foreign sales and publishers.
Jessica now works full time as a writer and producer. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Colorado.
Have you had a chance to read BOYS OF SUMMER yet? Do you use SAVE THE CAT to help with your plotting? Are you afraid to write badly? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!
Jocelyn, Shelly, Martina, Anisaa, Sam, Erin, Susan, Lindsey, Sarah, and Kristin