NOTE:  This post first appeared on MacTeenBooks on May 6th. Since then, Jennifer Ann Mann, a fellow author and “Jen,” hooked me up with a way better title!

I’m less than twenty four hours away from the publication of my first young adult novel, HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES (Simon Pulse), and right now, to quote Christ Martin, I feel like I’m in the gap between the two trapezes. The past eighteen months have been a crazy, wonderful ride as I concurrently worked on edits for two books. FAMOUS LAST WORDS (Christy Ottaviano Books) will be published on July 2nd. I’ve gotten in the habit of pinching myself daily.

How My Summer

FLW small

So, recently it occurred to me that while I’ve spent all this time with my two main characters, they’ve never met even though they hail from the same fictional town of Chestnutville, New Jersey. I thought it was time to change that. Sam from FAMOUS LAST WORDS is spending her summer writing obits for a local paper. Rosie from HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES has just returned from a cross-country road trip with three guys. Today Sam is interviewing Rosie about her trip over coffee at Bargain Books & Beans.

SAM: Thanks for agreeing to do this interview. I haven’t exactly launched my blog yet, I’m still in the brainstorming stages, but a road trip with three guys sounded like something worth writing about.

ROSIE: Hey, is that a real reporter’s notebook?

SAM: What? Oh yeah. I work at The Herald Tribune. I got it there.

ROSIE: Are you a reporter?

SAM: Nope. Intern scum. I write obits, fetch coffee, sort mail.

ROSIE: I never knew people wrote obits. Is it weird?

SAM: It’s not so bad actually. I like it at The Herald.

ROSIE: I see that smile. Who’s the guy?
SAM: What? What guy?

ROSIE: Spill.

SAM:  AJ’s just a friend. He’s in college and anyway I think he has a girlfriend, or something, I’m not exactly clear about who this Jessica person is to him.

ROSIE: Ask him straight out. Just say “Is Jessica your girlfriend?”
SAM: I did. He said “I don’t know”. What’s that supposed to mean? How could he not know?

ROSIE: Such a guy thing to say.

SAM: Speaking of which, I’ll bet you have some real insights about that. What was it like being on the road with three of them?

ROSIE: Interesting. Infuriating. Amazing. Slightly smelly. But I’m not sure Matty, Logan, and Spencer count as typical guys, if you know what I mean.

SAM: How so?

ROSIE: Well, for starters. They had plans. Detailed plans. Spencer and Matty had these trip itineraries that they kept in folders. You know the ones with two pockets?

SAM: Did you know there’s an APP for itineraries?

ROSIE: No. No I didn’t.

SAM: What was on the itinerary? Where did you go? What did you see?

ROSIE: We went to Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, New Mexico and California. Oh, and Pennsylvania. I almost forgot about the Waffle House in Pennsylvania. I saw the Grand Canyon, the Pacific Ocean, a cowboy who made me appreciate Wranglers.

SAM: I can’t imagine my parents letting me go away with three guys. How did you get them to let you go?

ROSIE: The truth? I didn’t want to go. It was all Matty. He convinced my parents I needed to get out of town because of all the trouble with my ex-boyfriend.

SAM: What kind of trouble? Was he harassing you?

ROSIE: Well, more like the other way around. But I swear, I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong. He served me with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation.

SAM: Wow! You don’t seem the kind of girl who would find herself on the receiving end of a restraining order.

ROSIE: Tell me about it. He cheated on me and when I saw him with her, I guess I sort of lost it.

SAM: Lost it how?

ROSIE: Hey, have ever considered using liquid eyeliner? It would really make your brown eyes pop.

SAM: Thanks. Now back to my question. Lost it how?

ROSIE: I accidentally set his car on fire.
SAM: WHAT?! How does a girl accidentally set her ex-boyfriend’s car on fire?

ROSIE: That’s a looong story

SAM: I’ve got time. Buy you another latte?

ROSIE: Okay, why not. Hey, and if things don’t pan out with your AJ, I think I have just the guy for you. And before you ask, it’s not the cowboy.