Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Katherine Grace Bond Interview - The Summer of No Regrets

Photo Content from Chelsea Sedoti

Katherine Grace Bond wants to heal the rifts in our culture and in ourselves. She writes on writing, race, family, and relationships on Medium, and is at work on a time-travel fantasy, for which she spent a couple of months in France trying to chase down Manet. Her books include The Summer of No Regrets, about finding the meaning of life and death when the boy next door may be a movie star in hiding, and The Legend of the Valentine, illustrated by the awesome Don Tate. Her poetry collections include Considering Flight, about the uneasy dance between father and daughter on the razor’s edge of mental illness. When she’s not writing, she plays fiddle in an Irish band called The Scuppermonkeys.

Publisher: ‎Sourcebooks Fire (May 1, 2012)
Publication Date: ‎May 1, 2012
Language: ‎English


"Brigitta...was incredibly unique" Blogger Ambur, Burning Impossibly Bright " Burning Impossibly Bright

"This is an utterly sweet, captivating book that will charm you, make you think, and maybe even make you shed a tear." Cupcake's Book Cupboard

"an interesting look at all that can change in the summer of a young woman's life." YA Bibliophile

"The story line immediately captured my heart " Charming Chelsey's

"...a novel of identity, true love, and the meaning of death; all told in the voice of a bright, thoughful, and passionately self-contradictory teenage girl." Book Talk

"...fun summer read with a little bit of a serious twist...You'll laugh, you'll tear up, and you'll be on the hunt for a celebrity lookalike crush in no time" Fiction Folio

"...the sort of book that should top your "to reads" list." Letters Inside Out

"...a delightful tale of self-discovery and of burgeoning romance." Allison Can Read

"The meaningful relationship that is created only makes you want more" Books With Bite

"Readers can expect romance, drama, and incredible emotion" A Cupcake and A Latte 

Greatest thing you learned at school.
Here’s the greatest thing I know now, in retrospect, about school: That while grades motivated me to work hard, they didn’t actually define me or what my future would be. School is a game, and I like games. I like scoring high. But at the end of the day, I play because I like to play—not for approval, not to be impressive, not even to get into a “good college.” When life is play, learning is joy.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
I always wrote, because words and their rhythms and arrangements made me feel things. Many people tell me they have to write, and I so relate to that. When others would read what I’d written and like it, I felt seen. I was an adult before I understood that what I wrote might create change for another person, and even then, I thought getting published was a pipe dream. But in my late twenties I went to some writing conferences and the editors responded favorably to my work. It was about three years before I realized they weren’t just being nice—they actually wanted to publish it. (Yeah. Took me a while.) I sold my first story when I was about 30, and from then on “author” became a huge part of my identity.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
It was a good distraction! When I was writing The Summer of No Regrets, my four kids were moving into their teens. It took me ten years, so they went from 6, 9, 12, and 14 to 16, 19, 22, and 24 by the time it was published. They needed my time, listening, and driving skills. But they also ALL helped with the book, sharing their insights, and being my Beta readers. I’d say it was worth the distraction.

Why is storytelling so important for all of us?
Because it frees us from stuckness. Stories let us know there are many outcomes possible to any problem. They captivate our imaginations, giving us characters and situations to care about instead of rigid ideas of “good and bad,” “in-group and out-group.” They allow us to enter into the heart of a person who is different from us, and to begin to understand what it is to be that person. Ultimately, stories open our compassion, and compassion is what the world needs most right now.

Can you tell us when you started THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, how that came about?
As a young, newly-published writer, I became very fixed on the question of fame. When I published my first story in a YA magazine, my dad said, “I’ve never heard of it,” and “Well, it’s not the New Yorker.”

One day, shortly after the story (my *only* published story at that time) came out, I was in an Ivar’s with my dad, name-dropping away about friends who knew famous people. The woman at the next table leaned over and asked, “Are you a writer?”

I told her yes.

She asked, “What’s your name?”

“Katherine Bond,” I told her.

“You’re not Katherine G. Bond, are you?”

“I am,” I said. (I only used the middle initial then.)

My dad’s jaw dropped.

It turned out she was a teacher. The story had been used as a “Write what happens next” contest, and the teacher had had the magazine open on her desk for a week or two. Complete, weird coincidence—or a gift from the universe to soften my skeptical father, who never forgot about it. Nothing like that has ever happened since.

The fame obsession stayed with me for a very long time. I wanted to be one of the Great Writers—someone everyone knew about. I think I began The Summer of No Regrets to get at why. What so fascinated me about fame, and what did I think I’d gain from it?

What was the most surprising thing you learned in creating your characters?
Eventually I realized that the desire for fame was a desire to be known. We all want that at an intimate level, but fame doesn’t really give it to us. Creating a story about a secretly fame-obsessed girl who is attracted to a possibly-famous boy let me explore what “being known” was really about—and what fame is and is not.

  • 1. Because you can imagine what you would do if a possible movie-star-in-hiding moved in next door and fell in love with you.
  • 2. Because even with the hot neighbor, it’s really different from most romances you’ve read.
  • 3. Because if you secretly love romance, you can tell people you’re reading it for its philosophical angles.
  • 4. Because it asks a lot of questions most YA books don’t ask, like
    a. What if my family is fighting over religion?
    b. What if I feel drawn to religion, but I’m torn?
    c. What if I feel most spiritual out in the woods?
    d. What if people close to me make fun of those things?
    e. What if what I long for doesn’t “fit” anywhere?
  • 5. Because those questions are allowed to remain questions.
  • 6. Because it has adorable cougar kittens.
  • 7. Because some of it will break your heart.
  • 8. Because Luke, for all his rough edges, really is dreamy.
  • 9. Because you love words, and it will let you use your full vocabulary.
  • 10. Because it’s FUNNY!
What is the first job you have had?
My very first paid job was babysitting the neighbor’s kids when I was 11. But other than babysitting, my first job, when I was 15, was translating French for a family who had relatives visiting from Belgium. I’d been learning French for three years at the time, and it really stretched me. Also, the man who hired me was becoming forgetful, and once left his van in drive when dropping his cousin at the beauty parlor. I’d had no driver’s ed at the time, but I’d convinced my dad to teach me to drive at 14, citing just such an emergency as this one. As my boss went around to open the door, the car began to roll into traffic. I felt quite heroic as I leapt into the driver’s seat and threw it into park.

What is your most memorable travel experience?
Spending two months in France on my own researching my time-travel book.

What's your most missed memory?
Being with my Nana and Grampy at Cherrywood, their home in Indiana.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
Having one of my kids come out as trans. (See “all-around less judgmental” below.)

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew?
I once invited a woman who was experiencing homelessness to stay with us for a couple of weeks. Due to circumstances beyond her control, she stayed eight months.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heart break or have never loved before?
True love does have a guarantee of heartbreak, because eventually we are parted—by death if not by strife. Since I know I won’t be parted from my true love by strife, I understand that one of us will die before the other. This is the risk of love. While it does bring sorrow to think of it, it is absolutely worth it.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be?
If I had the “magic eyes” of the future, I’d have been a less judgmental and more understanding big sister to my brother. (In fact, being all-around less judgmental would have spared me a lot of grief.)

First Love?
I had some crushes and boyfriends, but my first real love was the guy who is now my husband. Before I met him, I didn’t really know what love was. But I was sixteen when I met him, so don’t let anyone tell you you’re too young to be in love.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of?
Fear. Honest to God. I’ve struggled with anxiety all my life, and now I’m in a really good place. But I lived a long time with constant dread, which would connect itself to any handy potential disaster: financial ruin, people who would hate me, people who would die because I neglected them, important meetings I might forget to go to, piles of work I’d never finish. Now I make sure I work out, talk to friends, snuggle with my husband, journal, get counseling when I need it, and eat good, healthy food. That’s what keeps the Bogeyman at bay.

The summer Luke came into my life, I decided to keep him a secret. Even from my celebrity-obsessed best friend. Maybe he *was* a dead-ringer for notorious Hollywood bad boy Trent Yves. And it was possible that everything he told me was a lie. And yes, I was probably asking for trouble. But all I saw was Luke--sweet, funny, caring--someone who would let me be the real me.

But which was the real him?

You can purchase The Summer of No Regrets at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you KATHERINE GRACE BOND for making this giveaway possible.
2 Winners will receive a Signed Copy of THE SUMMER OF NO REGRETS, 
Bookmark and Code for Luke’s Journal by Katherine Grace.
1 Winner will receive a $20 Amazon Gift Card.
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