What goes around doesn’t really come around in high school. It’s like this alternate dimension where the rules of the natural world get all warped and twisted. Even in the real world, it’s true that bad things happen to good people. Life is unfair. That is a harsh reality. But for the most part, karma applies out here in Reality Land.
Mean people suck. From my experiences, I have come to the conclusion that people are their meanest in high school (middle school is also horrendous, but everyone knows this). We hope these mean people grow out of their evil ways, like tormenting anyone who’s even the slightest bit different because they think it’s fun or something. Mean people tend to be golden kids (the ones who are beautiful and rich and know how to either throw or kick a ball around) who feel entitled to treat everyone else like crap.* They’re getting away with a lot of evil stuff now, which totally sucks. All of it will have consequences at some point.
*Note that while mean people are usually golden kids, not all golden kids are mean people. If you are golden with an actual heart of gold, thank you.
1. I'm a huge music fan and I love finding songs that remind me of books. As such, I really enjoy checking out playlists that authors make themselves for their own novels. For Waiting for You, did you come up with the songs after writing the book or are these ones that you listened too while writing? How do they relate to the story (same themes, character's favorite songs, songs that fit scenes, etc.)?
Creating playlists for each of my books is super fun! I compile the playlists as I’m writing each book, including songs I’m listening to on heavy rotation during the writing process or ones with lyrics that directly apply to the story. All of the songs on each playlist are related to the book in some way.
Here’s the Waiting for You playlist:
1. “Clarity” – John Mayer
2. “Nothing Left to Lose” – Mat Kearney
3. “These Are Days” – 10,000 Maniacs
4. “Treasure” – The Cure
5. “Wave of Mutilation” – Pixies
6. “Shiver” – Coldplay
7. “I Just Don’t Think I’ll Ever Get Over You” – Colin Hay
8. “Orange Sky” – Alexi Murdoch
9. “Passenger Seat” – Death Cab for Cutie
10. “Magic’s in the Makeup” – No Doubt
11. “Sad Eyes” – Bruce Springsteen
12. “When I’m With You” – Sheriff
13. “Wheel” – John Mayer
The main character in Waiting for You, Marisa, believes that the answers to all of life’s problems can be found in a John Mayer song. That’s why I wanted to start and end with John Mayer songs. I am pretty much obsessed with his music and am always listening to John Mayer during the writing process of every book. His lyrics apply to my stories in so many ways.
A few songs on the playlist were inspired by specific scenes. “Orange Sky” was selected to enhance the last scene, in which Marisa and Nash are sitting on their dock, watching the sunset. I included “These Are Days” because Marisa is trying to live in the Now. Living in the moment is a huge challenge for her. This song is all about absorbing the overwhelming quality of this time in your life, the way it never will be again.
Several of the other songs on this playlist, like “Treasure” and “Sad Eyes,” speak to Marisa’s struggle with depression, which she wants desperately to overcome. It’s actually a very melancholy, bittersweet, reflective playlist. Definitely good to hear when you want to mellow out.
2. All three of your book covers include a boy and a girl's back or side (hiding behind books, behind a tree, facing out at a lake). Do the covers truly relate to the story inside? What are your thoughts about the similar photos?
I love how all of my covers share this motif of a girl and a boy without revealing their faces. It’s cool when readers get to create their own images of how they envision the characters to look. Melissa Walker just did a Cover Story comparing my covers, saying that the signature look of my covers is a light, airy feel, with a blue sky or natural light. I love that! The big window on the cover of Take Me There with all of that gorgeous natural light is breathtaking.
The covers totally tell the story of each book. I have an excellent cover designer who is able to reflect the tone of my books with amazing accuracy. The cover of Waiting for You is my favorite. I was so excited when I first saw it. I’m able to provide feedback for each of my covers, but the Waiting for You cover is so perfect that I didn’t suggest any changes. I love the characters, the water, the fonts, and the colors. The hues are so peaceful, which is the sort of feeling I was trying to capture in the book.
3. Finally, I have to ask: If you could wish on a real shooting star, what would you wish for and why?
Actually, I’ve seen several meteors. Usually their flash of light comes and goes too quickly for me to make a wish and I’m always like, “Dude, come back!” If I could make a wish, it would be for everyone to respect the Earth and its living things. If we continue to treat this planet like a giant garbage dump slash war zone, humans will not be here for much longer.