Lovin' los libros

A book blog dedicated to young adult and new adult novels

A Night with Courtney Stevens and Emery Lord {+Giveaway}

By 8:11 AM

I had the pleasure of meeting and chatting with Courtney Stevens and Emery Lord a few weeks ago at Parnassus Books here in Nashville, Tennessee. I had been contacted by Lizzy Mason of Bloomsbury asking if I would like the chance to meet and greet Courtney and Emery and of course I said yes! I got to chat with the both of them prior to their Q&A and signing session and they are both a lot of fun!
From fangirling over Judy Blume and Megan Mcafferty to trying to convince Emery to move to Nashville, it was fun listening to the two chat before they went out to greet their fans.
Parnassus is always such a great environment for these signings. It's an adorable, cozy bookstore in Nashville that just exudes charm and has a smaller, more intimate setting. Stephanie Appell, of Parnassus Books, hosted the Q&A session and asked the two some really great questions about themselves and their books!
Q&A with Courtney and Emery:
Questions by: Stephanie Appell
1. If someone were to write a biography of you, but solely about you in high school, what would it be called and why?
EL: "Stop Overreacting Emery Lord" or "Please Relax Joey Potter Wannabe" (Yay for a Dawson's Creek fan!)
CS: Life is (not) a sport.

 2. Tell us about your book.
EL describes Open Road Summer as a sisterhood book and a road trip book.
CS describes Faking Normal as Melinda from Speak meets Peeta from The Hunger Games.

 3. It's really common for musicians and bands to be asked about their "influences." What authors or books do you consider to be your influences, as writers generally and/or on these books specifically?
EL: Megan Mcafferty, Margaret Atwood- she changed the way Emery thought about language. Sarah Dessen, Deb Caletti...

CS: Remembers her elementary years, being read "A Wrinkle in Time, Mouse and Motorcycle", also grew up reading and loving mysteries. Listened to Harry Potter in the car for 6 straight years. "I'm pretty sure I'll be able to apparate." Also is a fan of Markus Zusak's "I am the Messenger" and Ruta Sepetys.

 4. One of the things I really enjoyed about both of your books was how central female friendships are to the protagonists. Talk a little bit about that, and why you feel like that's an important thing to have in contemporary YA.
EL: Open Road Summer is dedicated to her best friend. High school was all about friends. What do you have to have in common, really? Not much. At this point in time it's all blind love and loyalty.
CS: In high school it's hard to know what it's like to be friends with a boy. She wanted her characters to have a long friendship first then decide if romance will play a part. Triangle friendships are difficult to deal with.

 5. Music plays a significant role in both of your books. Are either of you musicians? How did music influence you as you were writing? What was it like to write lyrics from the perspective of two different characters, as each of you did?
EL: It was a challenge- different scenes and different characters required different music. Dee is very folk inspired- Patty Griffin, Dolly Parton, Kim Richie. Matt was influenced by Matt Kearney, Matt Nathanson, Ben Rector, Matt Wertz. Fun fact: Matt from the book was almost named Ben, because of Ben Rector.

Songwriting for the characters was also challenging, as Dee and Matt are completely different. Dee is 17 years old and still has an earnest, young voice- Matt is 19 and is more joking and confident.

CS: Like in Faking Normal, Courtney also shared lyrics with a guy on their 4th period desk in high school. Because FN  had such a hard storyline, she needed something light. Music is a universal language and it helped the main character, Alexi, as it brought her joy.

 6. Summer is a "popular" time for book challenges, and I've been reading about a lot of them recently. Contemporary YA is one of the more commonly challenged genres. As you were writing, how did you think about the content you were writing about and the audience you were writing for?
EL: researched photography and songwriting. Came to Nashville with girlfriends, toured the Ryman, etc.
CS: has a background in counseling and was a youth minister. 

 7. You're both debut authors, but your books have both been available and "out in the world" for some time now. Tell us about a cool or awesome or unexpected experience you've had as an author since your book came out.
EL: Ohio has been in need of a YA festival. Never dreamed that it would be this year. 11 authors at hometown library- happened this year and was fortunate to be a part of it.

CS: Standing with editor when book came in was a huge moment, as well as launching at her home library. The slogan from Faking Normal is Channel Your Brave. Courtney was walking around Opry Mills and a reader friend had tattooed that mantra on their arm, as they have struggled with self harm. This is when it stops being a book and someone's life has been changed even a tiny bit makes all the difference. Amazed at the outpouring of feedback from readers. 


A big thank you again to Courtney, Emery, Stephanie Appell, Parnassus Books, and Lizzy Mason for organizing such a great event for these two debut authors! I personally cannot wait for more from these two talented women!

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  1. This was a fun post and it seems like you had a great time at the event! I need to read Open Road Summer soon- that pretty is staring at me from my shelf =]

  2. I absolutely love Sarah Dessen. I look forward to each of her books and rereading the ones I have. Just amazing. Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. I don't know if I'd say a certain author has influenced me; I just write how I write. But some of my favorites and ones I look up to are Nora Roberts and Colleen Hoover. :)

  4. Neil Gaiman is the most influential author in my life. Along with some authors like: Laini Taylor, Margaret Atwood and Leah Raeder.


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