Published by St. Martin's Griffin
Published on January 5th 2016
Genres: Coming of Age, Dating & Sex, Young Adult
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Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.
Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.
When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.
Which do you find the hardest to write, the first or the last line of your novels? Why?
What a great question! I find both equally tough since they’re both equally important, but in different ways. The first line has to grab a reader’s attention and set the tone for the book. The last line has to wrap things up and do justice to the story. With Firsts, the first (no pun intended!) line came to me right away, but the last line took some revising to get right.
Which comes first in your writing process, the title, or the content of you story? (Do you always know what your book’s title is going to be?)
The main character’s name and the hook always come to me first. I usually settle on a title early on, but I never get too attached to it, since titles can change.
Let’s talk character names. How do you go about selecting names for characters in your book? Do the names you pick have any significance to you, or do you ever feel inspired by a name?
I don’t generally pick names for any particular reason. Usually, it’s just this instinct that the name fits the character. If it doesn’t feel right, I have this nagging sense that something is wrong. I like to think my characters pick their own names!
How do you plot your books, do you write it down on paper/index cards/etc, or do you write on the fly? Do you ever find that your plot changes as you write, or does it stay pretty close to how you planned it?
I’m not a plotter, so when I write, I have my main Word document up and a separate Word document where I can record any notes or ideas or random thoughts or plot points I want to touch on later. My favorite thing about pantsing is that the story can go absolutely anywhere and it’s not veering away from a predetermined plot.
What’s in your “Author Survival Kit”? (Pens, Caffeine, iPods, Prozac?)
My tablet, a notebook, pajamas, fuzzy socks, the American Beauty soundtrack, my dog (she’s my little lap warmer!) and lots of strong black coffee.
Do you have a favorite place to write? Tell us about it!
I adore my office, but I tend to write all over the place. In the summer, I love writing on my back deck with a glass of wine. I also like to sit in a coffee shop from time to time for a change of scenery.
If you could use 3 words to describe your books, what would they be?
Bold, daring, surprising.
What are the top 3 things on your bucket list?
Oooh, great question! I want to go skydiving and cage dive with Great Whites. I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. On a softer note, I’d love to hug a sloth.
If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Nachos, washed down by wine. It’s a great combination.
What is something you never leave home without?
My iPod. I always like to have music in my ears!
What are the last 3 books you enjoyed reading?
Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie, The First Time She Drowned by Kerry Kletter, and The Girl Who Fell by Shannon Parker. They’re all brilliant!
What are 3 words you’d use to describe yourself?
Ambitious, passionate, curious.
Do you have a favorite hobby/pastime?
I love thrift store shopping, hot yoga, long walks, and painting or drawing.
Do you have a hidden talent? If so, what is it?
I wish! Sadly, I am talent-free. I sing karaoke very, very badly, but with much gusto.
This or That?
Sunrise or Sunset? I’m definitely not up early enough to see the sunrise… so sunset!
Coffee or Tea? Lots and lots of strong black coffee.
Hot or Cold? Hot! I’m always cold.
PC or Mac? I write on a Windows Surface tablet, so I guess PC! But I used to have a MacBook and loved it.
By Land, or by sea? Both! I love traveling. I want to see as much of the world as I can.
Half-empty or Half-full? If it’s my morning coffee, it’s probably half-empty already and I need a refill!
Autumn or Spring? Autumn. The air is so electric and there’s this sense of possibility, like anything could happen.
Summer or Winter? Summer. I despise winter because it means snow. (I know, I’m a bad Canadian!)
E-book or Print Book? (Preferred reading) I love my Kobo, but nothing beats holding a physical copy of a book you love (and getting the author to sign it)!
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