I was beyond excited when Macmillan wrote to me and asked me to be their designated blogger for Sandy Hall’s A Little Something Different signing and book talk at The King’s English bookstore in Salt Lake City, UT on September 13th. I got to the bookstore about a half hour early so that I could meet Sandy and Nicole (a publicist at Macmillan), and ask Sandy some questions before her event started.
Jana: What inspired you to write A Little Something Different?
Sandy: “The site itself.” I heard about the site and thought, “Oh, that’s really cool. I’m going to tell the kids at work about it. Go read free books online.” They love being involved in stuff, and online is just natural. Then I said to myself, “No. I’m not going to tell them. I’m going to write a book. And I don’t want them to find it.”
Jana: Why the 14 points of view?
Sandy: “I wanted to write a pretty generic story. One of my friends had given me this idea: boy/girl, parallel lives.” Essentially, this story has been done before, but why not read it from everyone else’s point of view? I wanted to give this plot we have seen before a completely different edge.
Jana: Two of the narrators are non-conventional book characters: a squirrel and a bench. What was it like trying to jump into their minds?
Sandy: “The whole point of them was so that there did not have to be someone lurking in the bushes listening to Gabe and Lea’s conversations. I had to come up with some other way to give them private time, since they are not two of the narrators themselves. I really wanted to pick something quirky. I liked the idea of the bench because there’s benches everywhere. And there’s squirrels everywhere. So it’s not that far-fetched.
When we were doing some of the edits, my editor Holly said we needed to make the squirrel more like Doug from Up. That’s why he has the exclamation mark after his name in the book.
Jana: How have your library patrons reacted to your book deal and all this excitement?
Sandy: “We had my launch event at the library, and we had like 100 people show up, which is a really big deal. They are very excited.”
Jana: I co-host the Debut Author Challenge, which is a challenge where people are supposed to read as many MG/YA/NA debuts each year, and I always ask the authors these five questions when I highlight them on my blog. I thought I should include you as well!
Sandy: “Oh yeah, sure!”
Jana: Describe your book in five words or less.
Sandy: “A quirky, quick little story.”
Sandy: “Because it’s definitely not just for girls, and it’s definitely not just a romance. I also think it would make a pretty decent book report book. There’s a lot going on to talk about.”
Jana: What’s the best thing about being a debut author?
Sandy: “It’s so sad, but the first thing that came to mind is: the food! But no, I’m getting to meet so many people and I’m getting to learn so much. It’s almost everything you would expect it to be, but it’s cooler, weirder, and more tiring. I can tell you, touring will get old. I don’t even know what day it is. I can’t wait to go home on Monday. My body rejects being on a plane, so flying every day is really hard.”
Jana: What’s your favorite movie theater candy?
Sandy: “Oooo. Ummm. Strawberry Twizzlers.”
Jana: What’s the oddest thing on your desk right now?
Sandy: “At home I have a Magic 8 ball. I know I have something extra crazy on my desk right now. I remember when I left I was going to come home and wonder what that’s doing there, but I can’t remember what it is! At work I have a graffitti Justin Bieber Valentine from one of the kids, and I love it.”
Jana: What do you think of the book cover?
Sandy: “I love it. I love the color, I love how it feels, I love the quality. And I think a great looking paperback draws people in.”
Jana: And those are the Debut Dish questions! One more question for you: what was your favorite scene to write?
Sandy: I love the midnight breakfast scene. It was a tradition at Rutgers, so it’s near and dear to my heart. I also love the fight scenes, and both of them were Victor scenes.
Jana: I really loved the end, but we can’t just go and spoil that for everyone. And I found myself relating to Lea and her awkwardness in relationships.
Other things discussed: Allergic reactions to mosquitoes, how even people who aren’t shy can relate to being weird in relationships, unofficial plans for Sandy’s next book (she’s not wanting anyone to know until it’s done.), Master’s degrees in library and information science, how there’s a pretty great interview of Sandy at the end of the book for more information, and how Sandy is quitting her full time job to write more.
The Book Talk
The book talk was fun! We had a small group of people, so we basically just chatted about all kinds of things like we were friends. There was no need for a moderator, and nobody had to raise their hands. We just kind of threw everything out there. We all sat in chairs outside on the back patio. It was a nice, intimate setting. It was so intimate, actually, that I felt weird taking pictures! I learned a few more things about Sandy and her book, which I will just lay out right here.
- Sandy tends to like reading contemporary novels with some romance in them, but not necessarily romance novels.
- Sandy would really like to write a bit of everything. Big Foot even came up as a possible story line!
- When asked about the book cover she responded with, “I feel like it would taste good if you could lick it.” That was probably the highlight of the evening for me!
- When asked about the 14 different viewpoints, she informed us that the book started out with 23! Holy cow!
- “Buttprint”, which is used to describe someone (like jerk, punk, or meanie head) in the book was pulled from her group of guy friends.
- We talked about a lot of other books like Code Name Verity, Outlander, Isla and the Hppily Ever After, Zac & Mia, and Scott Westerfield’s new book. Sandy recommends Love is the Higher Law.
- We talked a little bit about where we were on September 11th, how old we were, what we were doing.
It was such a fun evening, and I was so happy Macmillan wanted me there! It was nice to meet Sandy and to learn more about her book. I’ve also never been to The King’s English Bookshop before, so it was fun to see a new place! Thanks to Sandy for the interview!
So, have you read A Little Something Different? What did you think? I was finally able to read it myself, and it’s a fun little romance! Definitely quirky, just as Sandy said. :)