Welcome to the MY LAST KISS blog tour! I'm so honored to be a part of it and hope you enjoy reading the interview because I for one love Bethany's answers ;D
My Last Kiss by Bethany Neal
What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy?
Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss--the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died--is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn't a suicide as everyone assumes. She can't remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she's worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend.
If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she'll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made--good and bad--that led to her last kiss.
Bethany Neal's suspenseful debut novel is about the power of first love and the haunting lies that threaten to tear it apart.
1. Describe MY LAST KISS in less than 10 words.
Girl dies, returns to uncover which friend killed her. Kissing!
So basically...awesomeness :P
2. Who's your favorite MY LAST KISS character? Who was the hardest character to write?
I simply adore Cassidy’s boyfriend Ethan—I still sigh every time I think of him—but I had the most fun writing the other boy in her life, Caleb. He’s so chill and funny and sweet, which is exactly what Cassidy needs him to be at that time in her life. Although, for the record, Ethan is sweeter and hotter!
:D This answer makes me happy
3. How many drafts did you have to write for MY LAST KISS until it was exactly what you wanted?
That’s a tricky question because I have nine drafts saved on my computer, but really it was closer to four. Deciding the order in which to reveal the flashbacks that occur throughout the book led to many a “draft” that was actually just me being indecisive. So, I’m going with four as my answer to sound a little less crazy.
4. Was the publication process for your book just as you thought it would be or was it easier/harder?
The book sold faster than I thought it would once my agent sent it out to editors, but it’s taken much longer than I anticipated for it to be physically published. Originally MLK was slatted to be a Fall 2013 release, but ended up getting moved to Spring 2014. I’ll have celebrated the two year selling anniversary by the time the book hits shelves on June 10th. A journey well worth the wait!
Oooh interesting! Never knew that some publishers pushed backed publication dates by that much.
5. Is writing hard or a natural thing for you?
Writing is a very organic process for me, but I wouldn’t necessarily call it natural because that insinuates that it’s easy or quick. Writing is hard. That’s the way it is, but it’s hard like a diamond. Blood, sweat, and tears may be shed to mine the story, but the sparkly result is priceless and one hundred percent worthwhile.
My process is usually to write freeform (re: by the seat of my pants) up to about the midpoint. Then I switch gears and do a very simple outline that reads like a beat sheet or list of events that will drive the story through to the end. I tend to become more organized (and stressed) while writing the second half. This is because I usually start to wonder where the crap I’m going with the plot! I always figure it out by the end of the first draft though…usually always.
6. Favorite part about being an author?
Living vicariously through my characters.
YAY! Always fun living through characters' lives...well usually.
7. Any writing quirks?
I pick a pen/pencil for each book and only use it to write notes, outlines, do edits, etc. for that one. It’s also usually color-coordinated with the protagonist’s nail polish color.
Now this is a first but very unique and cool to hear!
8. Any song inspirations that helped you write certain scenes?
I don’t listen to music while I’m writing because I always end up singing along instead of typing, but music is vital to my writing process. Specifically in My Last Kiss, there’s a scene where Ethan thinks he is alone mourning Cassidy’s death even though she (as a ghost) is in the room with him. He’s listening to “their song” and it’s a revelatory moment for the both of them to explain without spoilers.
The song is ‘Videotape’ by Radiohead, off their In Rainbows LP. I listened to that song on repeat for three months straight. It is Cassidy & Ethan.
9. Any characters inspired by real people in your life?
I go out of my way not to base my characters on, or even name them after, people I know in real life. Writing is an escape for me and pulling reality into the story would crush that.
I've never actually thought of it that way but I get it.
10. Do you think MY LAST KISS would be better suited as a movie or t.v series?
Movie for spoilery reasons I shall not mention.
11. Have you read any good YA books that you would recommend?
Whenever I’m asked this I always blank on the title of any book ever published. *glances at bookshelf*
We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson. If you love creepy as much as me, you’ll thank me for this one. It’s like The Addams Family on poet angst pills.
Also Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma. That book is just as amazing as its stunning cover, and I feel like not nearly enough people have read it. Same goes for The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. Why isn’t everyone everywhere reading that book?!
*heads off to Goodreads to check them out*
12. Do you have any new books or ideas for the future?
So many that I wish I had three clones to help me turn them out. I wish on every star that I see that you guys will get to read each and every one of them sooner rather than later. But later will also suffice…and probably help keep me sane. Just know that they are all creeptastic (in different ways) and kissalicious.
Looking forward to reading them!!!
13. If someone were to see you in a random public place where would it be and why?
Probably be in the nail polish aisle at Meijer (a
grocery/superstore that is my savior for all things 24-7). I’m addicted to nail
polish the way Carrie Bradshaw is addicted to Manolo Blahniks. And, bonus, the cosmetics
section is next to the book section at my location. My two favorite things is
one convenient place!
14. What or who would you most likely fangirl about (t.v series, movie cast, actor, author, etc.)?
If we’re talking in-person encounter: Robert Pattinson. I am unconditionally and irrevocable in love with him, and we will spend every moment of our forever together in perfect bliss. As sparkly vampires.
(This is what Rob would look like if we met.)
If we’re being normal people and having a discussion: I would fangirl harder than you could handle about Buffy the Vampire Slayer. And we would have to fight if you approved of Buffy’s relationship with Spike in the later seasons.
(Buffy & Angel. BTW I own that claddagh ring Angel is wearing.)
YAY! SOMEONE WHO UNDERSTANDS MY LOVE FOR BUFFY :D But SPIKE HOW DO YOU NOT SHIP?! :O THEY ARE AMAZING TOGETHER! I mean I love Angel but you know... SPIKE!!
15. Which YA character would you like to hang out with for a day?
He’s so tormented, but I think Cole St. Clair from Linger and Forever by Maggie Stiefvater. It would be one wild ride even if the temperature didn’t dip below freezing. (That’s a werewolf reference for anyone who hasn’t read the Shiver trilogy. Also, shame on you if you haven’t read the Shiver trilogy.)
Being trapped without air. Is there a term for that?
Thor vs. Captain
Thor. His luscious locks alone give him the win. Also the little girl in Adventures in Babysitting wore a Thor helmet and that is an 80s movie treasure!
*nods* I approve
Favorite t.v show?
Of all time: Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Currently: A tie between Teen Wolf and Pretty Little Liars.
Buffy <3 ^.^
Jared Leto. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for that demon angel of love, lust, and beauty. He was sent here from the future to love me. This is a fact. You can write it down and tell people.
(He’s looking off into the distance here because he’s so pretty, he knows it hurts to look directly at him.)
I love that you have a reason as to why he's looking into the distance XD
Favorite literary couple?
Mia and Adam from If I Stay/Where She Went. They are a modern-day star-crossed lovers. Also, he “plays her” like a cello in If I Stay. Come on!
I have had that on my TBR list for quite some time now! Must start it soooon!
Bethany Neal writes YA novels with a little dark side and a lot of kissing from her Ann Arbor, Michigan home. The things she is obsessed with include, but are not limited to: nail polish, ginormous rings, pigs, dream analysis, memorizing song lyrics, pickles, dessert, predestined love, not growing up, sour gummy candies, music videos, Halloween, and fictional boys who play guitar.
MY LAST KISS is her first novel. Connect with her online at www.bethanyneal.com and follow her onFacebook, Instagram and Twitter @BethDazzled.