Friday, June 1, 2012
Blog Tour; A Long Way From You by Gwendolyn Heasley, review, interview and giveaway
Release Date: June 5 2012
Age Range: Young Adult
Texan born Kitsy is spending her summer in the city that never sleeps: New York. She is staying at the house of her best friend Corinne, who moved from their town Broken Spoke to New York. Unfortunately Corrine doesn't have much time to go into the city with Kitsy, as she will leave to work on a summer camp. Kitsy left for New York to take art classes at Parsons. And because she needs a break from her life at home. She got a loving boyfriend back there and awesome little brother Kiki, but since her dad left, her mom is not acting like a true parent. She is on alcohol sometimes and Kiki feels like she is acting like the responsible one at home.
But now she is in New York, and she wants to have fun. So how better to start your stay in New York with the best museums in the world, the Guggenheim and the Museum of Modern Art? It' in the Moma that she meets a guy named Tad, and by coincidence she meets him the same week again. This is the start of Tad, who is in a band, showing Kitsy all the best parts of New York and Brooklyn. At Parsons things are going well, she is a good photograpy student and in the running for a scholarship She also makes friends with a girl who is on the break of becoming the new It Girl, but when she discovers that she is also more than just friends with Tad, the friendship is over. But she also learns something from her: don't run away from your life back home, and maybe its time for Kitsy to face why she left her mom and Kiki and try to turn things for the better..
Wow, I have never been to New York myself, but after reading this book I felt I really have made a fun city trip criss-cross through the city! Gwendolyn Heasley lives in New York and knows a lot about the city, you can read her love and knowledge of the city between the lines.
I thought this book was excellent in any way. From the start, where we step on the plane from Texas to New York with Kitsy , till her time in New York and her sudden return to Texas.
I loved how the author dropped tiny hints of the reason why Kitsy left her mom and awesome little brother Kiki and her boyfriend Hands behind. Kitsy’s time in New York is just awesome to read, and Iliked how the side characters stepped into the story. Kitsy is a fun and spunky narrator with a great way of telling what she is doing from day to day in New York. It is sad for her that her best friend Corinne doesn’t have much time to spend with her in the city because she leaves to work on a summer camp. But Kitsy meets some great new friends and a maybe-boyfriend during her time at the arts school. Well, I won’t put any spoilers here about that part of the book. It was also great to read in the end that Kisty dared to face her problems at home, and that she had to act now to make it better for the future, and the author just made a fabulous conclusion to the story with that part. Overall, A Long Way is THE young adult novel to pick up this summer, A Long Way From You will hit bookstore from June 5, don’t miss out this fun bite out of the Big Apple!
Q and A with Gwendolyn Heasley
What inspired you to write A Long Way From You?
A LONG WAY FROM YOU is the companion novel to my first novel WHERE I BELONG. WHERE I BELONG is narrated by Corrinne Corcoran, a Manhattanite, who moves to Texas. A LONG WAY FROM YOU is narrated by Corrinne’s friend Kitsy Kidd, who comes to Manhattan to attend art school.
When writing WHERE I BELONG, I fell in love with Kitsy, who’s a minor character. I could “hear” her voice very clearly and I always wanted the chance to tell her story. I’m beyond thrilled about A LONG WAY FROM YOU.
What were the challenges (literary, research, psychological, and logistical) in bringing the book to life? How did you create Kitsy?
I’ve lived in Manhattan for about four years now. In order to write the book, I channeled my own early experiences with New York City. Now, Manhattan just feels like home, but I tried my best to remember the excitement (and fear) of living here for the first time.
As far as research, I’m lucky to live in Manhattan and have access to the web. I did online research but I also supplemented it with “field trips.” I spent a lot of time in museums. Being a writer is a great life!
As for creating Kitsy, she had been living in my head since I wrote the first drafts of WHERE I BELONG. Although she had a smaller role in WHERE I BELONG, I always knew her backstory and family situation. The tough part was writing Kitsy in New York, which is a new element that’s far from her hometown of Broken Spoke. I spent a lot of time thinking What Would Kitsy Do in New York? I think setting greatly affects character, so I wanted to make sure the novel took account that Kitsy would change in a new environment. I wanted her to be dynamic rather than static.
What was the timeline from spark to publication, and what were the significant highlights along the way?
I wrote the first draft of WHERE I BELONG in 2009 and it was published in 2011. I wrote a few chapters of A LONG WAY FROM YOU in 2010 and then put it away until 2011. Throughout 2011, I worked on drafts with my editor, and it went to the copyeditor in late 2011.
What did you read as a teen and which authors inspired you the most?
I loved series, most particularly The Baby-Sitters Club by Ann. Martin. I also loved Fear Street series by RL Stine and Sweet Valley High by Francine Pascal. There’s something great about returning to the same characters book after book
What are your favorite books and authors now?
I personally believe YA lit is currently producing its best works yet. I’m most inspired by other contemporary YA authors like Sarah Dessen, Jessi Kirby and Sarah Mlynowski. My all-time favorite YA book is ELSWHERE by Gabrielle Zevin.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I teach college in the fall at a New Jersey University. I’ve had the pleasure of teaching both Children’s Literature and Young Adult Literature. I honestly love teaching as much as writing and feel fortunate to have found a wonderful school to work at. And it’s great to spend time with actual teens, not just imaginary ones.
I’m also attending school and earning my MFA in Young Adult and Children’s writing through Vermont College of Fine Arts. It’s a low-residency program, which is perfect with my schedule. I love writing and feel like there’s so much I can still learn!
When I’m not teaching, writing, or studying, I love TV, skiing, running and being with friends. I’m also planning my wedding, so that takes up a lot of time.
A Long Way from You is set in New York City...What do you love most about NYC? What are your favorite spots in the city that never sleeps
I love New York’s diversity, both of its people and its setting. There’s a lot to do outside in New York, which I think people forget. We have tons of running paths and there are lots of little parks, not to mention Central Park.
I also love the food. You can have anything delivered to your door in 20 minutes. That said, there are so many adventures to be had in New York that I feel bad if I spend too much time in my apartment.
I’m happy to give any one suggestions on what to eat and do in New York. (There are a lot of ideas in the book too.) Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want any specific advice. But yes, the cupcakes at Magnolia’s are magical.
Win a copy of A Long Way From You. Fill in the contest form to be entered (one entry a person) Spread the word about this contest on FB, twitter or your blog and get extra entries The contest is US/Canada only and open till June 30
Go to the contest form