Hi, Emery! Congratulations on the release of Open Road Summer – I love your book and it’s a big hit amongst my blogger friends too! What inspired you to write Open Road Summer?
Thanks! I passed a few country music tour caravans on the highway--once while listening to the Mike Posner song "Cooler Than Me." That planted the first seed.
Can you tell me the journey you took with Open Road Summer from ‘initial ideas’ to the day when you received ‘The Call’ telling you your book was going to be published?
I actually wrote and sold Open Road Summer pretty quickly compared to...um...everything else I've written before or since? Haha. Everything locked into place fast: I knew I wanted abandonment and grief and heartache, devoted friendship and a "mean girl" narrator with no moralistic plotting from me as the writer. And I knew I wanted to balance all of that summer and music and falling in love.
What are your top tips for any aspiring writers out there who would like to one day see their work published?
Typical but vital tip: read widely, in your genre and outside of it. Write at the intersection of a good story and what matters to your soul. So...kind of what I described in my last answer! In any given book, I have things that are weighing on my heart, issues I want to explore in a story, moments I want to place in front of readers for consideration. Those will be the things that keep you at your desk. Those will be the things that keep you fighting past rejection. Yes, it's important to tell a compelling story. But it's just as important to press your fingerprints into the pages, the way only you can.
I love a good romance, and the romance between Reagan and Matt in Open Road Summer is sweet, relatable and all kinds of adorable. What are some of your favourite YA romantic couplings?
Thank you! Ella & Char from Ella Enchanted, Finnikin & Someone (I don't want to spoil it!) in Melina Marchetta's Lumatere Chronicles series, and Jessica Darling & Marcus Flutie FOREVER.
I also love a good road trip –and if it’s with my BFF, then, even better. If you could go on a road trip (anywhere in the world!) where would you go – and why? Oh, and who would you take along with you?
Nashville with my girl friends, always. (We're only 4 hours from Nashville, so it's a perfect drive without getting sick of being in the car.)
Five Things readers might not know about Open Road Summer:
- The couple on the front cover is actually married in real life.
- They just had a baby boy this past spring.
- The musical inspiration for Dee was one part Taylor Swift, one part Mindy Smith, one part Patty Griffin, and about 7 parts Nashville songwriter Nicolle Galyon. Love her music, so perfect for Dee.
- Matt's songwriting style is based on Mat Kearney, Matt Wertz, Matt Nathanson, Ben Rector, and Andy Grammer.
- Yes, I very briefly considered naming him Ben or Andy ;)
Four Books you recommend to anyone who loved Open Road Summer:
For the BFF factor...Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
For the celeb factor...Behind the Scenes by Dahlia Adler
For the summer lovin'...My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
For the musical element...This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales
Three Actors to play the parts of Reagan, Dee and Matt in the movie of Open Road Summer:
Matt Lauria as Matt Finch (also why Matt Finch is named Matt! ;))
As for Reagan and Dee, I've never really found actors who look like them to me! I've seen a few pictures of Ashley Benson and Lucy Hale from Pretty Little Liars that are kind of Reagan-and-Dee-ish, with different styling maybe!
Two Books you can’t wait to read this summer:
Ruin & Rising by Leigh Bardugo and Isla & the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins!
One all time favourite author of yours:
Finally, can you tell me anything about your next book? I can’t wait to read it!
It's called The Start of Me & You. And it's about a girl named Paige who is trying to start over in her junior year of high school, after the guy she was dating died in an accident the year before. (...that makes it sounds sad. Which it is. But it's happy too. Like life ;))
Thanks so much for the great Q&A, Emery! Open Road Summer is a new favourite of mine and is THE perfect summer read! You can read my review here.
To keep up to date with all things Emery Lord follow her on Twitter: @emerylord