Today we’re excited to introduce you to Brianna Shrum and her YA Contemporary How to Make Out which is set to release Fall 2016!
- What was your inspiration for How to Make Out?
It was totally random, actually. I was googling something weird that I should have known how to do, like “how to make hard-boiled eggs” or something. (Ew. Hard-boiled eggs.) And when I typed in “How to Make,” the number one search was, “How to Make Out.” So I thought, ‘That would be the best book title!’ And boom. It was born.
- Why did you choose the setting for your book?
So, this book is set in Ohio, mostly because while I live in Colorado, I’m actually from West Virginia and have spent a little time in Ohio, which is right across the border! So that cuts down on research a bit 😉
- Which character in How to Make Out do you identify most with, and why?
The main character, Renley, for SURE. She is so awkward and trying to be confident in her skin (and succeeding and failing in equal parts there), and sarcastically funny, and basically, if you want to know Bri in High School, you can find her in Renley. Her life experiences and family background are quite different than mine, but are souls are cut from the same thing.
- What was your favorite part about writing this book?
The license to write so many kissing scenes. 😉 Seriously, when you title a book “How to Make Out,” you pretty much get a pass to write as much making out as you want, I think. I also really enjoyed pulling some stuff from my awkward, awkward real life and fictionalizing it. (The bikini wax scene, and her very first kiss, while not occurring *exactly* as they happened to me, are drawn heavily from my own experiences. PLEASE DON’T READ THIS BOOK, FIRST DUDE WHO EVER KISSED ME. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.)
- What was the hardest part about writing this book?
Most of what I write is a little on the darker side, so gearing up to write a YA romantic comedy was difficult. Trying to translate situations that were very funny when I watched them play on a reel in my head to the page, without losing that visual humor, was tough for sure!
- What’s one thing you want readers to know about How to Make Out?
I’d love readers to know that this is light, and it’s funny, and it’s romantic, but more than anything, I wanted it to be real. Not real in a tear-your-heart-out kind of way. But real, in the sense that it deals with navigating best female friends,boyfriends, screwing up utterly, falling too hard and fast, and those raw, vulnerable, dead-of-embarrassment, super uncool, beautiful moments that define growing up.
- Describe the type of reader you hope picks up this book when it’s on the shelves.
ANY reader who picks this book up is the exact reader I *want* to pick it up. I’ll say, though, that I wrote this for teens. For teens who fall hard, and who fail, and who embarrass themselves, and who can’t quite seem to figure out if they love or hate who they are, and for the ones who are confident and aren’t, and the ones who are brave and afraid. That’s it. I hope a teenager picks this book up and realizes that maybe they aren’t alone in their weirdness.
- How to Make Out deals with a blogger’s life spiraling out of control. Are you a blogger as well? And if so, how did your experiences of being an author/blogger influence this story?
Not really! I do have a blog but I update it almost never. Alas; that is something I’ve got to get better at! I do watch a lot of Gossip Girl, though. And I like the internet. And blogs. So…
- If you could put together a playlist that represented How to Make Out, what are some of the songs you would choose?
Oh man. Oh man.
Daylight—Maroon 5 (THIS ONE FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER)
Give in To Me—Garrett Hedlund and Leighton Meester
I’ll Be There For You (The FRIENDS Theme song, because lady BFFs)—The Rembrandts
Kiss Me Slowly–Parachute
- Who is your favorite rogue character from a book, TV show, or movie?
Favorite rogue character. Let me pick 2. I’m picking 2. Loki, in the Avengers. He’s a rogue dude. ALSO Dr. Horrible.
Brianna Shrum lives in Colorado with her high-school-sweetheart turned husband and her two little boys. Brianna digs all things YA, all things geeky, superhero-y, gamery, magical, and strange. She is repped by Josh Adams at Adams Literary. Her debut YA, Never Never, releases in September of this year. Her second YA, How to Make Out, releases in Fall 2016.