Welcome to my stop on the Irish Banana Tours of Lucky Few.
Today, I'm excited to have Kathryn Ormsbee, the author of Lucky Few here to chat with us!
Author: Kathryn Ormsbee
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: June 7, 2016
Genre: Young Adult
Genre: Young Adult
In the tradition of Me and Earl and the Dying Girl comes a hilarious, madcap, and quirky debut novel about a group of oddball teens struggling to find themselves when facing their own mortality.
The life of homeschooler Stevie Hart gets all shook up when she meets a strange boy, Max, who survived a freak near-fatal accident and is now obsessed with death. He enlists her and her best friend, Sanger, to help him complete his absurd “23 Ways to Fake My Death Without Dying” checklist. What starts off as fun begins spiraling downward when Stevie’s diabetes sabotages her fumbling romance with Max, Sanger announces she’s moving out of state, and then death—real death—cuts close to home.
JC: Just Commonly
KO: Kathryn Ormsbee
JC: Give us 5 words about you.
KO: Ginger, retro, opinionated, introverted, goofy.
JC: Now, give us 5 words spiel on Lucky Few.
KO: Mortality, homeschooling, activism, kissy face.
JC: Ooo, did you just say kissy face?! Where did you get the idea for Lucky Few?
KO: I was homeschooled from kindergarten straight through high school graduation. I loved my experience, but I never saw it represented in the books I read or movies I watched. Or if it did come up, it was associated with a very close-minded, sheltered point of view. I wanted to write a YA for teens who, like me, haven’t gotten to see their educational experience on the page.
Harold and Maude is one of my favorite movies of all time. I’m a big fan of dark and irreverent humor, so it’s only natural that I would infuse that into my first YA. Max has a different motivation and execution than Harold for faking his death, but I wanted to capture some of the movie’s wacky, life-loving tone in my own book.
Lastly, I lived in Austin, TX for a year and fell in love with the city during that time. It is such a thriving, quirky place, and I wanted to write a book where the city itself featured as its own kind of character.
JC: Ok, I won't ask you for "23 Ways to Fake Your Death Without Dying", just 3. How would you do it?
KO: Ha! If I were going to fake my own death? I’d choose 22. Plague, so I could reenact the “Bring out your dead!” scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Also 6. Animal Attack, which would naturally be at the hands—or should I say, paws—of my roommate’s fluffy cat, Sophie. And for 13. Killed in battle, it would definitely be the battle for Helm’s Deep. “Now for wrath! Now for ruin! And the red daaawn! FORTH, EORLINGAS.” What a way to go. And no, what? You like LOTR too much.
JC: I'm not so sure of your first 2 choices - first because it's the plague. Second, cats and I are not at all on friendly terms, but I do agree with the battle for Helm's Deep! And to answer your question, who doesn't like LOTR?!!
How do you do your research?
KO: Depends on the book! Research for my MG fantasy novels definitely looks very different from research for my YA contemporaries. For Lucky Few in particular, I drew on a lot of life experience—both my time being homeschooled and living in Austin. I also did a ton of online searches that probably put me on the NSA watch list. I mean, it’s bound to happen when you’re writing a book about twenty-three different ways to die, right?
JC: Why YA and how is it different from MG?
KO: Growing up, I was a huge bookworm. Books transported me and opened my mind and let me know I wasn’t alone. Some of my very favorite books to this day are children’s and young adult novels, and I wanted to write books that I would’ve loved growing up.
Switching from MG to YA manuscripts comes pretty easily to me, but that may have something to do with the fact that, to-date, I’ve written all my MGs in third person and all my YAs in first. Also, all three of my MGs are fantastical, while my YAs are contemporaries, so that creates an even more distinct line in my head.
The writing process is certainly different, because I’m coming at my story from an older frame of mind, and I’ll add more mature content in my YA than I would in an MG, depending on the story.
KO: I know this is a cop-out, but I really do love writing for both age groups! All of my MG and YA manuscripts present their own unique perks and challenges.
JC: What do you have in store for us after Lucky Few?
KO: Many a thing! The Doorway and the Deep—the sequel to my MG fantasy The Water and the Wild—comes out this October. Next summer, my second YA, Tash Hearts Tolstoy, will be hitting shelves. It’s about an aspiring filmmaker named Tash Zelenka who identifies as asexual. After her Tolstoy-inspired web series goes viral, she has to deal with internet fame and all the craziness that comes with it. And in Fall 2018, you can read my MG standalone, The House in Poplar Wood—a magical realism about a rural mountain town, secret agreements, and Death incarnate.
KO: Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Persuasion by Jane Austen
The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky
The collected poems of W.H. Auden.
And I have a GIANT space in my heart for all books by Roald Dahl and Louis Sachar.
JC: Great choices there!!! And, what are you reading now?
KO: I’m currently reading Rooms by Lauren Oliver, which is creeping me out in all the best ways. Also reading The Only Thing Worse Than Me Is You by Lily Anderson, which is deliciously geeky and all-around ah-maz-ing. And I’m making my way through Carl Sagan’s Cosmos because a) I’m an unashamed space nerd and b) it maaay be for book research.
Thank you so much for having me on the blog! <3
JC: Thank YOU, Kathryn for dropping in!
Hello! I am a ginger girl who writes stories. My debut novel, THE WATER AND THE WILD, is a Middle Grade fantasy out now from Chronicle Books, with a sequel to follow in Fall 2016. My YA debut, LUCKY FEW, will be published by Simon & Schuster in Summer 2016. THE HOUSE IN POPLAR WOOD, a standalone MG fantasy, comes out in 2017.
I was born and raised in the Bluegrass State. Then I went off and lived in places across the pond, like England and Spain, where I pretended I was a French ingénue. Just kidding! That only happened once. I also lived in some hotter nooks of the USA, like Austin, TX. Now I'm back in the land of Proper Autumn.
In my wild, early years, I taught English as a Foreign Language, interned with a film society, and did a lot of irresponsible road tripping. My crowning achievement is that the back of my head was in an iPhone commercial, and people actually paid me money for it.
Nowadays, I teach piano lessons, play in a band you've never heard of, and run races that I never win. I likes clothes from the 60s, music from the 70s, and movies from the 80s. I am from the 90s.
Are you still reading? Then you are a phenomenal human being and deserve a great big virtual HUG. Thanks for visiting, and enjoy your stay!
Check out the full tour schedule for more reviews, guest posts and interviews!
6/13: Live to Read - Review
6/14: Just Commonly - Q&A
6/15: The Book Return - Review
6/16: Arctic Books - Q&A