I am so thrilled to have this special post – a while back, I reviewed Kate Scelsa’s upcoming book ‘Fans of the Impossible Life’, and since I loved it so much, I got into touch with the author herself, and she agreed to do this Q&A with me! Yay! Check out the questions and her answers below:
- What was the inspiration for ‘Fans of The Impossible Life’? What do you think was the jumping-off point for the writing?
It was a few different things, and I really circled around all of them while I was working on it. My original inspiration was the book and the BBC miniseries of “Brideshead Revisited” by Evelyn Waugh. I had a dream about Waugh’s character Sebastian, and in my dream he liked to steal things. Then as I worked on the book I started to understand why that character was so important to me – the ways in which he reminded me of people from my own adolescence, of parts of myself, and of some old emotions that I needed to work through. As I revised I found that each of the characters and their struggles took on very different meanings for me depending on what was going on in my own life in that moment.
- When you were writing this, did you have any particular songs that you listened to? A ‘Fans’ playlist, so to speak?
Yes yes yes! I used music to get into the right mindset almost every day when I sat down to write FANS. And different drafts of the book had different albums that helped me. The first couple of drafts it was Orba Squara’s album “The Trouble with Flying.” Then it was the Diamond Rings album “Special Affections.” Fiona Apple’s “The Idler Wheel…” got me through those final re-writes. And Tegan and Sara’s song “Closer” is the unofficial theme song of FANS.
3) If your characters from the novel all came to life, which would you be most excited to meet and which would you not want to meet?
Oooh I like this question. I would be pretty excited to meet Mira, since I put a lot of myself into her. I would want to sit down and have a heart to heart. I’d love to hang out with any of main my characters. But if I had to pick, I would probably rather not meet Talia. I have a lot of love for her, but she’s definitely exhausting.
4) Which of your characters do you identify most with, on a personal level?
Mira, for sure. And she was the hardest for me to write for a long time, because I think I was avoiding facing what I was really meant to face with her. I had so many drafts where she was coming off as unlikeable and I couldn’t figure it out. I had to go pretty deep and dredge some stuff up to get her to open up to me. But all three of them definitely have parts of me in them.
5) ‘Fans of The Impossible Life’ deals with a lot of serious issues like sexuality, drugs, and depression. Was it hard for you to write any part of the novel?
I think writing about depression is very tricky. It’s a hard thing to describe because it’s so internal, and it doesn’t always have a clear cause and effect. So I would say that I found it challenging to find a way to write about depression that felt authentic and really communicated what I was trying to say about it.
In writing about sexuality, it was just important to me to really look at how each character felt about their own sexuality and what their journey was with that. But I love writing about that kind of thing.
6) If the book was to be a movie, who would be your celebrity choices to play the three main characters?
They’re so young! I wouldn’t even know who actors that young are! (I guess I’m showing my age here.)
7) Has writing always been something you’ve wanted to do?
Writing has always been a part of my life in some way, but it was only about ten years ago, when I was struggling with my own sense of self and direction and finding my own voice, that I came to understand how important it is to me. Writing has saved me in moments when it literally felt like nothing else could. To me it is magic.
8) What would you say is your favourite genre to read?
This is a tough one. I don’t think I could pick! When I’m not in the middle of writing my own stuff I like to catch up on YA. But when I’m writing I tend to stick to non-fiction and essays so I don’t distract myself with other people’s stories. I’ll even avoid movies sometimes when I’m really in the middle of something, because I’m trying to stay in the flow of my own work and to always be listening to what’s coming next, and I find other fiction can really disrupt that.
9) Reading ‘Fans’, I was heavily reminded of books like John Green’s ‘Looking For Alaska’ and Stephen Chbosky’s ‘Perks Of Being A Wallflower’ – What are your favourite YA books right now?
I loved Sarah McCarry’s “About A Girl” which just came out this summer. “I’ll Give You the Sun” by Jandy Nelson is a truly remarkable book. I also loved “The Distance Between Lost and Found” by my fellow ’15 debut Kathryn Holmes. And I can’t wait for Julie Murphy’s “Dumplin’!”
10) If all fictional characters in the world came to life for just one day, who would you want to go on a date with?
11) Aside from writing, what else do you like to do in your free time?
I go to a lot of theater. I was in a theater company for eleven years, and a lot of my friends make very cool theater in New York.
12) What would you say is your ultimate guilty pleasure?
Shopping in thrift stores. I have a very large, very full closet. This does not stop me from buying more things.
Now, I decided to have a game of Would You Rather, but with questions more geared for book lovers.
- WYR read only trilogies OR just stand-alones?
- WYR only have paperback books OR only hardbacks?
- WYR read only five pages a day OR 5 books a week?
Five pages a day
- WYR live in a world with only e-books OR only audiobooks?
- WYR read only the first page of a book OR only the last page?
- WYR get locked in a library OR a bookstore?
- WYR love a book that everyone hates OR hate a book everyone loves?
Love a book that everyone hates.
Thank you so much, Kate, for taking the time to do this with me. For all you book lovers out there, ‘Fans of the Impossible Life’ comes out September 8, so you better put it in your calendars, because this book is seriously a must-read this year.
- WYR bring only 1 book on a 12-hour flight OR bring an e-reader with only 10% battery life left?