Monday, June 27, 2022

Katrina Leno Interview - Sometime in Summer

Photo Content from Katrina Leno

Katrina Leno was born on the East Coast and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of six critically acclaimed novels including You Must Not Miss and Horrid. Like Miriam, she believes everyone in the world has a book that will change their life—hers was The Letters of Vincent van Gogh.


Was there a defining moment during your youth when you realized you wanted to be a writer
Honestly, I’ve always wanted to be a writer—I was writing short stories and little plays from a very young age. I specifically remember the moment it clicked for me that PEOPLE actually wrote the books I loved so much. I was standing in the library and asked my mom why there were names on all the book covers. When she said “That’s who wrote the book!” I think my little brain just exploded with excitement. You mean I can write a book too???

Greatest thing you learned in school. 
I was an English major (mostly because it meant a lot of reading!) and I’m really grateful for all of the different literary works I was exposed to throughout my schooling. I think reading widely and frequently is important as a writer (and important if you aren’t a writer, too!) and there are things I read in college that I still revisit as an adult.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
Hands down the most rewarding part about being a writer has been the emails and messages from people who’ve read my books and found something in them that they loved or felt connected with. It makes me feel less alone and it also inspires me endlessly to keep writing, even when it feels hard and impossible. I’m so grateful for readers.

What’s the best advice you can give writers to help them develop their own unique voice and style? 
It’s the most annoying advice in the world (lol) but read a lot and write a lot! I think freewriting is an incredible tool to use and something I’ve relied heavily upon in the past, especially when I’m feeling stuck or blocked with my own writing. Just grab a piece of paper and a pen (okay, you can use your computer too!), and set a timer for five or ten minutes (start small!) and start writing. Try not to think too much about what you’re writing—just go for it and see what happens.

What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us? 
After SOMETIME IN SUMMER, I’ll be focusing on edits for my first middle grade novel, THE UMBRELLA MAKER’S SON. I am OVER THE MOON about this. I’ve always wanted to write a middle grade novel and the idea for this one has been bouncing around in my brain for over fifteen years. It’s a true labor of love and I’m so excited to jump back into that world and start edits!

In your newest book; SOMETIME IN SUMMER, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it. 
Yes! SOMETIME IN SUMMER focuses on 14-year-old Anna Lucia Bell, who really feels like her life has hit rock bottom. (She’s maybe a tad dramatic!) Her parents are getting a divorce, her best friend has stopped speaking to her, and her mother’s just told her they are selling their family-owned bookstore, which has been a safe haven for Anna since she was a little girl. Anna expects her upcoming summer vacation to be pretty miserable…but she’s in for some magic ahead!

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your novel? 
I’d love for readers to come away from the novel just feeling very happy and positive and nice. I wrote the bulk of SOMETIME IN SUMMER during the early months of the pandemic, and it was really something that helped me cope with all the darkness and uncertainty around me. I wanted it to be as uplifting and positive as possible, and to share that with readers is just a real dream come true.

What part of Anna did you enjoy writing the most? 
I love her earnestness. She really feels her feelings, you know? She tends to be a bit dramatic (don’t we all) and short-fused, but at the end of the day, she is just searching for love and connection in a world that so often feels unfair and overwhelming.

What was your unforgettable moment while writing SOMETIME IN SUMMER? 
There’s a scene in the book where one character teaches another character how to swim, and I really love how it turned out and how warm and fuzzy it left me feeling. That’s basically my main goal with this book—to make every reader feel warm and fuzzy!

If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why? 
I love this question! I would introduce Anna from SOMETIME IN SUMMER to Lottie from EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. I think they share a lot of the same personality traits and could probably help each other learn to relax a little!

What is the craziest thing you have ever done? 
I went in a helicopter once. I think that is pretty wild. I would almost definitely not do it again!

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives? 
Go to a bookstore alone and spend hours touching and smelling every book. You don’t necessarily need to buy a book, but you should if you can, and then you should get yourself whatever little treat you enjoy (like a coffee or a donut or a puppy) and go somewhere quiet and read the book.

What are you most passionate about today? 
Being nice to people. I think being nice to people is great. I’m trying to randomly compliment strangers more often, because whenever someone randomly compliments something about me, it really makes me feel so lovely. Yesterday a stranger told me they liked my hat. It made my day! I just think we should all be nice!

What is your happiest childhood memory? 
My family used to spend summers in Rockport, Massachusetts, which is where SOMETIME IN SUMMER takes place. It’s part of the reason why I wrote this book; I really wanted to set a book in Rockport! It’s a quintessential seaside New England town and the nostalgia I have for this place is unparalleled. So many of my happy childhood memories are from those summers in Rockport.

Most frequent song played? 
I love a song called J’int√©rioriserai by Martha Wainwright and I often listen to it on repeat.

What were you doing at midnight last night? 
Sleeping! I am not a night owl :)

Where can readers find you? 
I’m most available on Instagram @KatrinaLenoBooks, less available on Twitter @KatrinaLeno, almost never available on Facebook @KatrinaLenoBooks, and simply not at all available on TikTok. Email is always nice, too:

I turned to ten random pages and picked a quote from each!
  • “Fourteen is a meaningless age,” I said, leaning on one elbow. “Thirteen is the first teen year. Fifteen you can be a lifeguard. Sixteen you can drive.”
  • Whatever you said about my parents, you couldn’t call them unsupportive.
  • Jennica could roll around in a dumpster and come out looking like she’d just had a professional blowout.
  • The sea air was really something else. Muggy and warm but a breeze that cut the heat at all the right moments, like it knew when you needed a breath of something cool.
  • “Careful of spiders,” Miriam said. “There were always a lot of spiders in here.”
  • She smiled and knocked her knee against mine, and I felt a jolt in my stomach—a happy jolt. The jolt of making new friends.
  • “I can feel it in this finger,” he said, pointing to the pointer finger of his left hand. “Old soccer injury. Gets tingly before it rains.”
  • I was panicking. My ears filled up with the sound of whooshing—the whooshing of water or of my own blood in my veins, I couldn’t tell.
  • “My father used to call me Pickle,” they replied. “I thought that was pretty cute, but I think Worm takes the cake.”
  • Maybe that was why I thought about luck so much. Luck didn’t have any rules, and I didn’t like that one bit.
Meet the Characters
SOMETIME IN SUMMER begins on Anna Lucia Bell’s fourteenth birthday. Her thirteenth birthday and the year that followed it was kind of rubbish, and she expects more of the same this year. She’s our main character, and the story is told from her first-person perspective. Anna is loyal and kind, but she struggles with self-confidence and identity—especially now, since her best friend has stopped talking to her and her parents are going through a divorce (that she does NOT want them to get).

Miriam Bell is a vivacious, bright, happy force of nature. We find out in the beginning of the book that she’s decided to sell the bookstore she’s owned since Anna was a baby. Anna is not happy about this!

Everett Bell is a quirky, tattoo-covered musician who has recently opened up a tattoo shop of his own, which he’s named Lucia Ink after his daughter. While he has moved out of their family home, he didn’t go too far, and he still comes over ever Friday for dinner.

Jennica is the ex-best-friend who Anna currently isn’t speaking to.

Josh is Anna’s closest friend. He’s a comic book nerd with a heart of gold.

Cece, Josh’s cousin, is a star volleyball player and can usually be found at the beach.

Anna and Miriam decide to spend the summer at a family cottage in Rockport, Massachusetts. It’s there that Anna meets Emmy and Beck, two teens who clearly have a big crush on each other. The three of them become inseparable and start to spend all of their time together. But as the summer progresses, Anna begins to notice something weird about the two of them…

And you’ll have to read the book to find out what it is!

From critically acclaimed author Katrina Leno comes a tender love letter to books and summertime, with a touch of magic.

Anna Lucia Bell believes in luck: bad luck. Bad luck made her best friend stop talking to her. Bad luck caused her parents’ divorce. Bad luck is forcing her mother, Miriam, to sell the family’s beloved bookstore. And it is definitely bad luck that Anna seems to be the only person in the world Miriam is unable to recommend a life-changing book.

When Anna finds out that she and her mom are spending two months in a New England seaside town called Rockport, she expects a summer plagued with bad luck too. But Rockport has surprises in store for Anna, including a comet making its first appearance in over twenty years and two new—but familiar—friends.

In what will prove to be the most important summer of her life so far, Anna learns about love, herself, and the magic that an ordinary summer can bring.

You can purchase Sometime in Summer at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATRINA LENO for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Sometime in Summer by Katrina Leno.