Thursday, June 7, 2018

0 Adrienne Kisner, author of DEAR RACHEL MADDOW, on writing the book she wanted to see in the world

We're delighted to have Adrienne Kisner stop by to chat about her debut novel, DEAR RACHEL MADDOW.

Adrienne, what was your inspiration for writing DEAR RACHEL MADDOW?

For years I thought a YA version of DEAR MR. HENSHAW would be cool, particularly written to a journalist. When The Rachel Maddow show debuted I thought, YAAAAASSSS someone write a book to this woman! But no one wrote the book I wanted so I figured I might as well do it myself.

What scene was really hard for you to write and why, and is that the one of which you are most proud? Or is there another scene you particularly love?

Main character Brynn suffers a lot of heartbreak. She reflects on what each loss means and spirals into herself. I felt like such a jerk doing that to her. I burst into tears in the middle of the Boston Public Library writing a scene near the end. But Brynn’s also really funny. In my daily life I’m not really one to swear (SEE MOM, I’M A PROFESSIONAL), but Brynn just lets every vulgar thought in her head fly. That was a lot of fun to write.

What book or books would most resonate with readers who love your book--or visa versa?

Hmmm. Well, I can tell you books that resonated with me, and that I would like to proselytize as much as possible. Nic Stone’s DEAR MARTIN is brilliant, and I shove it into my students’ hands whenever any of them stand still long enough. Jennifer Mathieu’s MOXIE is great for its civically involved, creative girls. Amy Spalding’s THE SUMMER OF JORDI PEREZ (AND THE BEST BURGER IN LOS ANGELES) is funny with tremendous heart. And Britta Lundin’s SHIP IT is a love letter to fandom and happy, hopeful endings everywhere. These books span topics and genre, maybe, but they all include characters I loved.

What are you working on now?

A book about queer girl birdwatchers/nature photographers who reluctantly become environmental activists. For fans of kissing and bird-related puns.


Dear Rachel Maddow
by Adrienne Kisner
Feiwel & Friends
Released 6/5/2018

Brynn Haper's life has one steadying force--Rachel Maddow.

She watches her daily, and after writing to Rachel for a school project--and actually getting a response--Brynn starts drafting e-mails to Rachel but never sending them. Brynn tells Rachel about breaking up with her first serious girlfriend, about her brother Nick's death, about her passive mother and even worse stepfather, about how she's stuck in remedial courses at school and is considering dropping out.

Then Brynn is confronted with a moral dilemma. One student representative will be allowed to have a voice among the administration in the selection of a new school superintendent. Brynn's archnemesis, Adam, and ex-girlfriend, Sarah, believe only Honors students are worthy of the selection committee seat. Brynn feels all students deserve a voice. When she runs for the position, the knives are out. So she begins to ask herself: What Would Rachel Maddow Do?

Purchase Dear Rachel Maddow at Amazon
Purchase Dear Rachel Maddow at IndieBound
View Dear Rachel Maddow on Goodreads


Adrienne Kisner lives in a dorm that is better and likely bigger than yours. She prefers the term "dormitory" to "residence hall." Her opinions are built out of cinder block. She went to school for a long time and has several degrees that have afforded her the professional opportunity to routinely opine to college students about the merits of subverting grammar. Her coolest degree is an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts. In her spare time, Adrienne enjoys killing plants and zombies. Her current home is in Boston, but she will always be a Pennsylvanian at heart. Visit her at


Have you had a chance to read DEAR RACHEL MADDOW yet? Are you a jerk to your characters? Have you ever made yourself cry in a public place while writing? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy Reading,

Jocelyn, Halli, Martina, Charlotte, Anisaa, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, Emily, and Lori Ann

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