Courtney Summers Interview!

Today is the day! I'm so excited to have the wonderful and talented Courtney Summers live and in person. Kind of anyway. Before we jump into the interview, here's a little about Courtney!

Courtney Summers lives and writes in Canada where she divides her time between a piano, a camera, and word-processing program when she’s not planning for the impending zombie apocalypse. She enjoys Archie comics, Trailer Park Boys, and other fine art. Pierre Trudeau is her hero and if you are a volcano, she would like to know you.

If you were an item on a Mexican restaurant menu, what would you be and why?
Guacamole.  Because it is green.  Make of that what you will!

You are on a desert island and you stumble upon an unlocked chest. You open it. What three things do you want to see inside?
A satellite phone, an inflatable, working helicopter and a handsome pilot to fly me to safety.

Tell us a secret that you’ve never told anyone else.
It wouldn't be much of a secret if I did that.  :)

If you could only pick one of these to talk about forever, which would it be? Zombies. Volcanoes. Survivor. *insert evil laughter*
SO EVIL!  But I think it would have to be zombies.  I've got a lot to say about zombies.

What is the scariest thing you have experienced?
I've thought about this and you know, I'm drawing a blank--which makes me feel very fortunate!

What is the worst advice you’ve ever been given—personally or professionally?
To make my dream of becoming an author a back-up plan and pursue something more practical instead.

What is one thing you have learned through your time as a published author?
That you'll forget everything you've learned each time one of your books comes out!

What is your writing process like?  How did you develop it and how do you keep focused?
I developed my writing process by writing, as boring as that sounds.  And generally my writing process is to plug into some good music and type!

What have you learned from writing each book?
That you can only learn to write the book that you're writing.

Which of the boy characters in your books do you like best?
I really, really like two of the boy characters in the book I'm working on now, but since that book is under wraps I can't say anything about them!  Unfair, I know.  I like Milo in Fall For Anything.  I wrote a short story about his perspective that should be going on the Macmillan site sometime soon and that was fun.

Has there been any memorable feedback from readers about any of your books that has stuck with you?
I got one reader letter from a girl who was having a hard time and decided to get help after reading Cracked Up to Be.  That was an incredible and gratifying moment for me.  I also got a long email from a reader telling me how much they loved Cracked Up to Be and how much Some Girls Are sucked in comparison.  Funnily enough, that was really gratifying too.  It's neat to be able to elicit strong reactions from people.  I try not to take that for granted, even if the reaction is negative.

Where does your inspiration come from? (I realize that's like asking what the sun feels like or some other ridiculous question with too many answers yet I'm asking anyway.)

Asking a lot of questions.  Also, I'm really inspired by people in extreme situations.  The darker and more challenging, the better.  I love thinking up emotionally tough situations and then trying to figure out how the main characters will work through and/or survive them.

Do you have an "issue" in mind when you write the story or does that develop?
I know what my characters' issues are when I'm writing my books, but I don't start with an issue and then find a character for it, if that makes sense.  Character first, issue second.

What has been the most different thing about writing these three books?
Each book has been an experience all its own. Cracked Up to Be I wrote with the hope that it would get me representation and eventually become published. Writing it was a very exciting process.  Some Girls Are was a different experience because I knew it would have certain expectations placed on it following Cracked Up to Be. And Fall for Anything was different because it was my first time writing a non-mean girl character.

Which of your three characters (Parker, Regina, Eddie) do you see the most of yourself in?
Well, I want to be clear that I am not my characters, but I do identify with them in different ways.  I can be really cynical like Parker, for better or for worse.  I see a lot of teenage Courtney in Regina--I really wanted to be accepted by my peers.  Like Eddie, I can have a hard time letting go of things.

Parker’s character snaps her fingers. In my head that was such a powerful image. Where did that come from and how did it develop in the story?

I wanted Parker to have a physical manifestation of her need for control--so when something goes wrong, that she has no control over, that is her response.  I knew I wanted her to have something like that, but the snapping fingers thing just sort of happened as I was writing.

I love the ending of SGA and Regina’s struggle with herself and her ex-friends and even with Michael. What would you say the main theme is that book is, beyond bullying?
I think it's very much about forgiveness.  Wanting it and getting it--or not getting it.

In FFA Eddie’s father is a photographer. Did your own experience play into that part of the story?
I used to dabble in photography when I was a teen. I thought it was what I really wanted to do--but I didn't have the discipline to pursue it. It always turned out ot be something I did when my writing was going poorly. Eddie's father's relationship with photography doesn't get anywhere close to reflecting my own experiences and neither does Culler's really. But I think the way they view photography, what they want from it, and what they want other people to take from it, is not totally far from my own views on the topic.

How did the idea for FFA happen?
I always knew that I wanted to write a story about grief.  After my grandfather died, which was just after I finished the first draft of Some Girls Are, I knew it would only be a matter of time.

How is FFA different/similar to CUTB & SGA?
On the surface, Fall for Anything is similar to Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are in that it's a book about a girl with a problem.  But in terms of tone, in terms of style, I think it is a quite different book.  Readers who go in expecting to read about the misadventures of a mean girl are going to be disappointed. Eddie is very vulnerable and broken.

In CUTB/SGA, Parker and Regina are flawed. I love how raw they are. I saw a trend and if it’s wrong you can tell me. Parker was perfect and isn’t now. Regina never really saw all her imperfections until she was on the other side of them. Was that something you planned or did it happen as you wrote? And does Eddie fit that mold?
I think it happened as I wrote.  Parker and Regina's flaws sort of cause their situations, though, whereas Eddie's situation kind of causes her flaws, if that makes sense.

What is one thing you want people to know about FFA if that’s all they ever get to know?
Oh, wow!  That's a great question.  And one I am not sure it's one I have the answer to!  It was a tough book to write. I'm glad to see it out there now.

This is the final question I have. I hope you’re ready for it. *Clears throat* What would your thought be on Edward Cullen as a zombie? * waits * What about Edward Cullen as a shiny zombie who lived in a volcano, had Jeff Probst locked in a cage next to a massive collection of Popples?
Edward Cullen as a zombie isn't exactly a stretch is it, since he's already dead, right?  But Edward Cullen as a shiny zombie living on a volcano with Jeff Probst next to a massive collection of Popples is such an extraordinary visual it just blew my mind.  So I think that means it would be awesome.

I think it's awesome, too. Though, not as awesome as Courtney and her books. In fact, she's so awesome that she's giving away a pack of her books and tomorrow you can enter for that!! So don't forget to come back.


  1. fantastic interview! loved the questions and answers, i can't wait to read FFA!

  2. Awesome interview, I love the lead-in questions.

  3. I loved your interview! And a giveaway!?!?! I would love that, since I don't have my book copies anymore!

  4. I love that you're having a Courtney Summers week! And I can't wait to check out the Milo story because I really, really liked Milo too.

  5. Thanks for the interview! I loved the questions and enjoyed reading Courtney's responses to them. I think it's great that Courtney's written a non-mean girl. I've only read the excerpt and I already love Eddie. The thing with her hands has had me on pins and needles for ages now. :P

  6. awww LOVED this interview, the questions were great! *cheers to you*

    and oh my God, I cannot wait any longer, I need FFA NOOOOOOOOOOW,
    it seems very different from the previous books, but Courtney will not dissapoint I'm sure (:

  7. You have such great interviews. Perfect blend of humor and information in them!

  8. Fantastic interview! I especially loved your question and interpretative question about Courtney's characters and her response:
    I think it happened as I wrote. Parker and Regina's flaws sort of cause their situations, though, whereas Eddie's situation kind of causes her flaws, if that makes sense.


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