Book Nerd Interview
Kasie West lives with her family in central California, where the heat tries to kill her with its 115-degree stretches. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BA degree that has nothing to do with writing.
What was your first introduction to YA literature, the one that made you choose that genre to write?
I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan. Probably her biggest fan alive. I know people will fight me for that title, but I’m willing to defend it with a thumb war.
When I was a teen, and maybe I’m about to age myself, there wasn’t a lot of YA. When I was really young, I read The Babysitters Club series and, of course, Judy Blume. (Along with a lot of fantasy) But beyond that, we didn’t have much. Ann Brashares and her Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, was one of my first YA reads as an adult. Loved it. So I guess to answer your question, my love of reading in general led me to write, and my love of the discoveries, insecurities, and the excitement of first love prevalent in this genre, led me to write about and for teens.
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
I have a 14 year old daughter. People seem surprised by that. It’s only because they can’t see my stress wrinkles in pictures.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I did several short stories and such in high school and always knew I loved writing, but I didn’t write my first book until 2006. It just never occurred to me to try it. I was a reader, not a writer. Or so I thought.
What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I was a very friendly teenager and as such I got to know a lot of different people in different groups. I didn’t think about it at the time, but it is a great resource to me now to have known so many different kinds of people in high school.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
Happy, goofy, private
Did you learn anything from writing Pivot Point and what was it?
I learned that friendship is a powerful thing and that choices can be hard. I also learned that trying to write two story lines simultaneously can lead to massive headaches.
For those who are unfamiliar with Addison, how would you introduce her?
Funny, without trying to be. Open. Smart. Perhaps a little naïve sometimes, but in an endearing way. This is how she describes herself in the book: An antisocial, controlling bookworm. But we all see ourselves a little different than others see us, I think.
What part of Trevor did you enjoy writing the most?
Not going to lie, Trevor was hard for me to write. He is very reserved and private and he was hard to get to know. But I love his sincerity and how he treats people with respect regardless of his experience with them. He’s just a very nice guy and I liked writing that.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
I’m a huge Jane Austen fan. I think it would be fun to introduce Laila (Addie’s best friend) to a character from a Jane Austen novel, she would probably shock them a bit.
You have the chance to give one piece of advice to your readers. What would it be?
Never give up. If you love to write, keep writing. Write what you love and the rest will follow. Don’t get hung up on one book or one idea. Keep moving forward and try new things.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
My weight. I mean, is it even considered a lie when the question shouldn’t be asked? Ever.
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
Most of my summers were spent with my nose in a book. I did work at a ticket booth of a water park for a couple summers though. I met a lot of interesting people there and got a killer farmer’s tan because we had the ugliest uniforms in the world: polyester shorts and high necked t-shirts. I know, you’re jealous.
What scares you the most and why?
Rejection. I know, I’m in the wrong industry. But rejection kept me from doing/trying so much as a teenager and early adult. I still fear it but forcing myself to face it has diminished the panicked feeling I used to get that kept me from trying.
Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
This is actually a harder question than it seems. Maybe most people would go with the whole, it is better to have loved and lost attitude, but that might break me. If heartbreak was guaranteed I’d probably choose not at all. But if there was just the tiniest, itsy bitsy chance that I could change that, I’d go for true love. I’m glad this isn’t a choice because I am in love with my best friend and I’m so glad every day that I get to be.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
You know, I actually enjoyed being a teenager in the 90’s. We had a lot of the modern conveniences, gas was cheap, we could roam the streets without too much fear, our parents couldn’t track us on our cell phones. It was great. The teens of today have to be a strong bunch. Social media would be hard to deal with as a teen—facing comments online on every aspect of your life is a hard way to live. Although I’ve also heard the opposite that because of social media teens are connecting more with people like them so they don’t feel so alone in the world. But I’m proud of teenagers who stay strong and true to themselves despite all the outside pressures.
When was the last time you cried?
You know, I never used to be a big crier. I rarely cried. But lately, I swear, I’ve been crying over everything. A leaf can fall off a tree and I’ll be like, ‘That poor poor leaf. How could that have happened?’ But for reals, the last time I cried was while watching this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9J5UqYRxY48 a couple days ago.
I cried like a small child who just had the head ripped off her favorite teddy bear.
Where can readers stalk you?
The best place to communicate with me is on twitter: www.twitter.com/kasiewest
I also have a blog: www.kasiewest.com
Thanks for the great questions! That was fun.
Addison Coleman’s life is one big “What if?” As a Searcher, whenever Addie is faced with a choice, she can look into the future and see both outcomes. It’s the ultimate insurance plan against disaster. Or so she thought. When Addie’s parents ambush her with the news of their divorce, she has to pick who she wants to live with—her father, who is leaving the paranormal compound to live among the “Norms,” or her mother, who is staying in the life Addie has always known. Addie loves her life just as it is, so her answer should be easy. One Search six weeks into the future proves it’s not.
In one potential future, Addie is adjusting to life outside the Compound as the new girl in a Norm high school where she meets Trevor, a cute, sensitive artist who understands her. In the other path, Addie is being pursued by the hottest guy in school—but she never wanted to be a quarterback’s girlfriend. When Addie’s father is asked to consult on a murder in the Compound, she’s unwittingly drawn into a dangerous game that threatens everything she holds dear. With love and loss in both lives, it all comes down to which reality she’s willing to live through . . . and who she can’t live without.