Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Celebrating Debutantes 2017: How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (Interview + Giveaway)

Hi guys! #CelebratingDebutantes2017 continues with an interview with Laurie Devore about her writing and How to Break a Boy, her debut. It has been a while since I read a good contemporary. I've been on a fantasy roll for months now! Laurie's debut deals with pranks, teen social hierarchy and power. Are you interested? If yes, stick around for the giveaway - a signed Hardcover. Let's start the interview!

What was it like writing a story with a generally unlikeable character? How did it affect your writing?
I think the interesting thing for me is that I never really find the character unlikeable when I’m writing. I’ve always found myself drawn to characters others find difficult, trying to take them apart, see what makes them tick. Once I’m in a character’s head, the process becomes much more of trying to figure out how a specific type of person would react in a situation versus me as an author making any kind of moral judgement on their actions. I find that’s what it takes to build empathy with characters others find unlikeable.

Which part was the hardest to write? Why did you struggle with it?
I found with both How to Break a Boy and my upcoming novel, Winner Take All, that nailing down characters’ parents and family history is so difficult. Especially as teenagers, each character’s family and upbringing affects so much of their lives and sometimes it can be difficult working backwards. Essentially, I have to look at the character I’ve created and understand what kind of familial circumstances would’ve built them into this person. It’s definitely a challenge but I also find it deeply interesting.

What is your favourite scene and why?
In How to Break a Boy, there’s a scene with Olivia and Whit – who has been posing as Olivia’s boyfriend and whose relationship with Olivia has gotten quite complicated – right after Olivia is brought to arguably her lowest point in the book by her ex-best friend Adrienne. For both Olivia and the reader, the scene is destructive and cathartic but ultimately, draining. I love Olivia’s anger in the scene because it’s as much at herself as Adrienne, and also ties into her conflicting feelings about Whit and not wanting to let him go. I love the depth of Olivia’s pain in that scene and then her desperation to hold onto one last good thing. I still remember writing that scene which might be why I love it so much!

Which element of toxic friendships did you enjoy tackling the most? Building up the symbiotic relationship between Olivia and Adrienne was probably the most interesting part of writing this book for me. I definitely wanted the book to have this pervasive idea that while their friendship was deeply problematic, they really felt like they had needed each other up to this point in their lives, which is how their relationship became so tangled and all those layers are what make untangling it so difficult for the two of them.

If you could pull a prank on someone, who would you do it to and how would you do it?
I like really elaborate (but harmless!) pranks. I think it’d be really fun to replace all the family pictures in my mom’s house with pictures of dogs or something like that, though she would probably find it less amusing.

It seems that your next book, Winner Take All, is about love and toxic competition. I can see that you like tackling relationship issues. Is there a reason behind this?
I like thinking about morally complicated people a lot. People go out into the world every day and do terrible things! Things that seem objectively terrible, but there has to be some reason why. So I think most of my interest in these relationships stems from that. How relationships can change a person, really set them on a path. Mostly I like deconstructing stereotypes we have of different people and, excuse the cover-related reference, seeing the fireworks that go off when they collide.

Thank you, Laurie!

Guys, you have to check out Laurie's upcoming book. Here's a little teaser about Winner Take All:

About the Author:

Laurie Devore was born and raised in small town South Carolina and graduated from Clemson University. She now lives and works in Chicago, where she misses the charms and contradictions of the south every day. In her spare time, she reluctantly runs marathons, watches too much TV, and works a “y’all” into every conversation. How to Break a Boy is her first novel.

Find Laurie: Website | Blog | Twitter | Instagram

Book Description:

Hardcover, 342 pages
Published January 31st 2017 by Imprint

Keep your enemies close, but your friends closer.

Olivia Clayton has mastered the art of tearing others down to stay on top. She and her best friend, Adrienne, rule their small southern town like all good mean girls do--through intimidation and manipulation.

After Olivia suffers a family tragedy and catches Adrienne sleeping with her boyfriend, Olivia is over it. She decides to make a change--but it's impossible to resist taking Adrienne down one last time. Up to her old tricks, Olivia convinces golden boy Whit DuRant to be her SAT tutor and her fake boyfriend. But when it starts to feel real, Whit gets caught up in Olivia and Adrienne's war.

Olivia may ruin everything she touches, but this time she won't go down without a fight--not if it means losing Whit.

And definitely not if it means losing what's left of herself.


Thanks to Laurie for sponsoring this giveaway!
What's up for grabs: Signed Hardcover of How to Break a Boy
Scope: US

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  1. Love to play jokes on my family lol

  2. I would pull a prank on my sister, which I do all the time anyway because it is fun

  3. I would prank my husband by telling him we are having twins. I am 49. Lol