Today we’re excited to introduce you to Natasha Sinel and The Fix, which is slated to release September 2015!
- Why did you choose the setting for your book? Did you draw from any real places to create your world?
THE FIX is set in Mount Kisco, NY, near where I live now—about forty-five minutes north of Manhattan. In terms of real versus made-up places, I definitely used some literary license in terms of street names, distances, etc. I set THE FIX in Mount Kisco because of its ethnic and socioeconomic diversity. For example, Macy lives in a McMansion-type house with acres of land and a gate at the end of the driveway, and only a minute or two away, Sebastian and Rebecca live in small houses that are very close to their neighbors.
- What was your inspiration for THE FIX?
When I was in high school, I had one of those deep conversations with a guy that can really only happen late at night when you’re young and figuring out the world. Shortly after, he spent most of the summer in a psychiatric institute. We wrote letters to each other, but I remember feeling that, despite our connection through these intense letters, we were in two totally separate worlds—he was inside and I was outside. I felt guilty and wondered what really made us that different? When we got back to school that fall, we’d have friendly chats at school, but we never really re-connected in the way that we had through those letters.So this relationship is what originally inspired me to write the story of what could have happened if we’d pushed past the awkwardness back at school, and strengthened our connection. I made new characters—of course, Macy isn’t me (she is way cooler and has deep dark secrets) and Sebastian isn’t the guy I knew—and I went from that first conversation they had one night on a porch swing.
- What was your favorite part about writing THE FIX?
I have to admit, I think I loved writing every single scene! For me, putting scenes together into a plot/outline is next to impossible (see answer to #4), but imagining and creating scenes is when I feel truly alive. I loved writing scenes with Macy and Sebastian, watching the intensity of their attraction grow. The scenes with Macy and her younger brother Gavin are some of my favorites too—I had so much fun trying to capture his fourteen-year-old boy self and first love. And of course, Rebecca. Everyone needs a best friend like Rebecca—charismatic, hilarious, and self-centered, but would do anything for you when your world falls apart.
- What was the hardest part about writing THE FIX?
When I finished the first draft of THE FIX, it was really just a mess of scenes. A giant puzzle with pretty pieces but scattered everywhere. Trying to pull them together to form a cohesive novel was such torture for me, there were days I wanted to give up. But thankfully, I stuck with it, and now I get to share it with everyone.
- Who is your favorite rogue character from a book, TV show, or movie?
Lorelai Gilmore, of course.
- THE FIX includes some heavy topics like drug addiction—what led you to tackle such a potentially divisive element in your novel?
I didn’t set out to write an “issues” book. I knew that Sebastian suffered from depression, and would be spending some time in a psychiatric institute, but I hadn’t necessarily planned that he’d be an addict, and surprisingly, I didn’t intend to make sexual abuse the central theme of the book. But as I got to know Macy, I realized there was so much anger and vulnerability in her, so I dug deeper and discovered why.Honestly, I think most of us have some sort of addiction, whether it’s drugs, alcohol, sex, adrenaline or something slightly less innocuous like food, exercise, work. As Sebastian says, “We all have our vices.” So each character in THE FIX has his or her own “fix” to cope with pain.
- THE FIX revolves quite a bit around secrets that your protagonists have to come clean about. What secret could you share with our readers?
Don’t tell anyone, but I still sleep with my blankie. It’s actually a tattered red towel. I was about five when I took it from the linen closet after my original blankie had finally disintegrated (I was a late thumb-sucker).
- What sources did you get inspiration from while writing THE FIX?
I am an avid reader of YA contemporary books. After I kept hearing Macy’s voice in my head (yes, creepy, I know), I started writing, but I was worried that I wasn’t brave enough to tell her story. Then I discovered Sara Zarr’s National Book Award Finalist STORY OF A GIRL. Sara’s ability to create a story that was both simple and extraordinarily complex struck me, and somehow infused me with a sense that I had to try. As I kept writing and realized I needed to know more about hospitals, depression, sexual abuse, I read a ton more for inspiration and research—Ellen Hopkins, Amy Reed, Ned Vizzini, Laurie Halse Anderson, Barry Lyga (Boy Toy).
- What’s one thing you want readers to know about THE FIX?
The conversation about representation in the children’s book world has really heated up lately. There’s a lot of pressure on authors to “get it right.” So, I guess I’d like readers to be aware that I envisioned Macy as one girl with a unique story (and the same goes for Sebastian and his story). I may not have gotten it right for every survivor of sexual abuse or for every addict or teen boy who suffers from depression, but hopefully I got it right for Macy and Sebastian.
- Describe the type of reader you hope picks up this book when it’s on the shelves.
First and foremost, I hope that any reader who picks up THE FIX will love diving into Macy’s life and will finish the book and say, “I really liked that!”More specifically, I hope that girls and boys who have experienced abuse or depression will clearly see that they are not alone, and I hope that they will find their way to hope as Macy and Sebastian do. Of course, I also hope perfectly well-adjusted readers with no problems or secrets at all (haha), will appreciate having a window into what it’s like to carry the weight of a secret like Macy’s.
Natasha Sinel writes YA fiction from her home on a dirt road in Northern Westchester, NY. She drives her kids around all afternoon, but in her head, she’s still in high school, and hopes no one near her can read minds. Find her on Twitter, and on her website. Natasha’s debut realistic YA novel THE FIX will be out from Sky Pony Press/Skyhorse Publishing September 1, 2015.