Blog Tour: a Q&A with Alisha Sevigny

This is a CUTE cover.

I’m on another blog tour friends, this time for fellow Fierce Ink author Alisha Sevigny’s book Kissing Frogs.

Before I go any further if you want to win an e-copy of this YA-Romance all you have to do is drop a comment below this post and I will randomly draw a winner from the names on November 22! ** Canada Only! **

You have two opportunities to enter –  on this Q&A with the author or on my earlier post where I Reviewed Kissing Frogs.

Now back to the matter at hand: Kissing Frogs is a contemporary YA Romance story and I had the chance to ask Alisha Sevigny a few questions as part of this Blog Tour:

  1. The set-up of Jess’ preferred life is subtle but easy to imagine from all your description – how did you capture the ambiance (such as it is) of high school?

I literally just imagined myself back in my old high school. Despite what the calendar says, it really doesn’t feel all that long ago! I put myself back in front of my locker, pictured Miles as my boyfriend and went from there.

  1. Lol; maybe its because I don’t LIKE to imagine myself back in high school that I am so in awe of your ability to do that! I love that Jess applies her ‘book smarts’ to becoming popular – does that strategy come from personal experience?

Not really. I got good grades, had some good friends, but never considered myself as particularly “popular”. I feel like I came into my own in university, where I was free to be who I really was, if that makes sense. In high school you’re assigned these roles and it’s easy to find yourself playing that part, even if it’s not who you really are. That’s one of the messages in the book, that you shouldn’t let others define you.

3. Amen sister. I love that quote by the way: “In high school you’re assigned these roles,” it is so true. Now, everyone has that boy who bugged them in middle school as a way to communicate that they liked you – how did you take on writing that story arc specifically? Moving Travis from annoyance to interest?

This took several rewrites to strike the right balance of moving Travis from annoying to possible love interest. In previous drafts, he was a bit more of a pain in Jess’s behind, and they were more antagonistic towards each other. However after one of my early draft readers commented, “I have a hard time picturing these two together,” I decided to soften both characters and have them start to get along a bit earlier in the book.

  1. I think it worked! Now, I feel like you’re sneaking a bunch of educational information about animals, conservation and Panama into the pages of this book – plan or nice side effect?

A bit of both! I wanted to really give the reader a feel for Panama. Personally, I love reading books that take place in exotic locales. It’s like traveling from the comfort of your couch (or wherever you read). The conservation information is a key component of the story but I wanted to incorporate it in a way where it didn’t detract from a fun read. Anything that was included, I made sure it served the story. I actually ended up cutting a lot of description as well as a few scenes that didn’t do so. For example, there was a scene when the kids go into Panama City to Casco Viejo (the funky historical district) and even check out the Panama Canal, but I cut it because in the end it wasn’t entirely necessary to the story.   

  1. Well a section I am so glad you didn’t cut was your epilogue —  it was NECESSARY. I was actually sort of freaking out when the book ended without telling us if Jess made it into Berkeley. Why did you choose to do it as an epilogue rather than wrapping it into the last chapter of the book?

Honestly, it just felt right to have it as an epilogue. Originally, the whole book took place in Panama (except that final scene) so it felt like it was a bit removed from the story, which I felt had been tied up on another continent. In addition, it hints at a sequel, and an epilogue is a good place to do that.

Thanks SO MUCH to Alisha for answering my questions and to Fierce Ink Press for supplying an e-copy of Kissing Frogs for one of my lucky commenters!

Blog Tour: a Review of Kissing Frogs

This is a CUTE cover.

I’m on another blog tour friends, this time for fellow Fierce Ink author Alisha Sevigny’s book Kissing Frogs.

Before I go any further if you want to win an e-copy of this YA-Romance all you have to do is drop a comment below this post and I will randomly draw a winner from the names on November 22! ** Canada Only! **

You have two opportunities to enter – today on this Review Post or next week where I will post my Q&A with the author.

Now back to the matter at hand: Kissing Frogs is a contemporary YA Romance story. Here is the blurb on GoodReads if you are looking for it.

I’m not a big reader of YA romance, but this was a well-told story that really takes you back to high school (at least if you were a raging nerd like both Jess and I were). Jess is the protagonist of the story and spent most of her school career as a great student well on her way to attending her dream college Berkley. She suffers (as we all did) from the usual tribulations of the shark tank that is middle-school with the added humiliation of a terrible nickname: Messy Jessie. Well as of the beginning of the book Jess has done what so many of us wish we could have – she has changed her fate – dramatically. She turns herself into a whole new person, using the intelligence that was focused on good grades to build herself into a popular high schooler. She has a popular boyfriend and popular friends, and no one at her new school knows that she was once the nerdiest kid in middle school.

Sadly a failing grade in biology threatens her high school utopia and Jess is forced to take remedial steps with a conservation trip down to Panama. This wouldn’t be so bad except the boy who started the whole Messy Jessie phenomenon is on the trip too… and he’s changed a lot too.

I’m not going to spoil the story for you but I will say it brought back a lot of memories of my own high school experience. Sevigny manages to speak with the voices of the teenagers without making this a morality story or an after school special. The kids are the kids we all grew up with, and the mistakes they make are the ones we all made. It captures the time and place so well I had to ask Sevigny how she did it (see that in the Q&A next week)! Finding out you are the person you tried so hard to run away from and that is alright is a message I think everyone will understand and appreciate.
I hope my 12-year-old son learns that when he reads this book (he started it last night).

What I didn’t expect was that I would learn so much about Panama and the conservation programs around the frogs. Loved that. Found myself googling a lot of the information so I could learn more.

If you like coming-of-age stories or have a kid in your life who is trying to find their place in the shark tank – I suggest you grab a copy of Kissing Frogs – you will not be disappointed.