Katie Van Ark is a fellow VCFA student and the author of brand new YA romance The Boy Next Door! To celebrate the release of The Boy Next Door, out TODAY (!), Katie answered three questions for me to share with you fantastic blog readers. (Only three because we're also both busy packing and getting ready to fly out to Vermont for another VCFA residency on Friday! But they're three extra good, extra juicy questions, promise!)
TCR: What are your favorite swoon-worthy YA romances?
KVA: I'm so glad this question is pluralized, because I have a lot of favorites. I love Miranda Kenneally's Catching Jordan because: Sam Henry! Sam is almost enough to earn favorite status just by himself but Kenneally ups things even further with a perfect voice for heroine Jordan Woods. If I'm in the mood for a bad boy romance, then Simone Elkeles's Perfect Chemistry trilogy tops the list. Elkeles rocks dual POV like no one else but really any of the Fuentes brothers and I'm good. :-) And I also adored Anna and the French Kiss, by Stephanie Perkins. Since I spent time living in Paris, I especially appreciate how Perkins makes the city a character in the novel. Plus, Etienne! Really, I'm all about the book boyfriends.
TCR: What ingredients do you think make a great YA romance novel?
KVA: The essence of a romance plot is always the same, right? Somebody has to fall in love. So I love to see romances with really well-developed characters that keep me on my toes wondering how they're going to find happily-ever-after. (And they better find happily-ever-after. I'm a romance purist – please don't give me any of that happily-for-now nonsense.) Since there's more to life than love, I also like these characters to have something else that they want and are actively pursuing. Finally, even if there's more to life than falling in love, a romance is about falling in love so good kissing scenes are a must. Rainbow Rowell tops my list for this so far with Eleanor & Park - even when her characters are only touching hands, Rowell's scenes are still epically romantic!
TCR: What was the hardest part about writing The Boy Next Door? The easiest?
KVA: The hardest part was stopping writing. Because when your novel is being published, eventually you get to that copy-edit stage where your editor just says stop and you have to be done. I'm a revision-ista – it's my passion – so I could just go on tweaking one sentence or even a word forever. The easiest part? Honestly, none of it was easy. A lot of it was fun and there were many times when I got into a good groove with the project and accomplished a lot, but none of it was easy. And that's one of the things I enjoy most about writing, because I like a challenge.
Thanks so much, Katie! The Boy Next Door is out today in paperback, and you should definitely pick up a copy!
About The Boy Next Door:
Maddy Spier's been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls. How can she make him realize that they can be partners off the ice as well?Learn more by visiting Katie's website or checking out SwoonReads.com!
Gabe’s relationship with Maddy is vital. He can’t imagine skating with anyone else, and together they have a real chance at gold–maybe even making it to the Olympics! So he’s decided to think of her as a sister. After all, family is forever, but he’s never dated anyone for more than two weeks.
Then their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, and everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big break-up that Gabe has always feared?