Contributed by Joanne Mumley
Greetings, YABC! Today we are pleased to welcome Lauren Morrill, author of The Trouble With Destiny. Lauren was kind enough to answer a few questions about her book!
Lauren Morrill is the author of Meant to Be, Being Sloane Jacobs, and the forthcoming The Trouble With Destiny. She lives in Macon, Georgia with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she spends a lot of hours on the track getting knocked around playing roller derby. Follow Lauren on Twitter at @laurenemorrill.
With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm—the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.
Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.
But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.
With introductions in order, it's time to CHAT!!
Joanne Mumley: As a proud former HS concert band member, I was impressed with the voice you gave your characters. It definitely brought me back to high school. What did you do to help keep that Liza’s voice authentic throughout the story?
Lauren Morrill: I’m so glad you think so! This book was inspired by my own experiences in high school marching and concert band, so I definitely thought back to high school Lauren and my fellow bandmates to try to nail the voice. While the book is 100% fiction, there’s a lot of callbacks to my my time playing flute for the Maryville High School Red Rebel Marching Band. I’m expecting to get a few emails from my old classmates after this one!
JM: What is one thing you want your readers to take away from The Trouble with Destiny?
LM: What I love about Liza and Huck and the rest of the band kids is how unabashedly in love they are with their nerdy band selves. While Destiny is a romance, it’s also about finding your people, having their back and knowing they have yours. You don’t ever have to be ashamed of your tribe.
JM: Who are some of the authors that inspire you?
LM: Sarah Dessen is probably my biggest inspiration, and not just her writing, either (though her books are among my very favorite YA novels of all time). I love how honest she is about how scary/difficult/wonderful writing can be. Her tweets and blog posts have really helped get me through some rough writing days. I’ve had the privilege of meeting and get to know her over the last couple of years, and she is absolutely one of the kindest, most generous people in the YA community. I’ll read anything she writes (but my favorites are The Truth About Forever and Along for the Ride!).
JM: There are tons of music competitions around the country, what made you decide to choose a cruise ship as the major setting of The Trouble with Destiny as opposed to music competitions that happen on the main land?
LM: Remember how I said the book is 100% fiction? Ok, so maybe it’s more like 99%, because when I was in high school my band took our annual spring trip on a cruise ship to Nassau, where we played in a competition (and that’s where the similarities end, I promise!). Setting the novel aboard a cruise ship might have been more fun than taking the actual cruise. As a writer, it’s fun to put your characters in inescapable situations, and what’s more inescapable than being trapped on a boat in the middle of the ocean with your closest friends, your biggest enemies, and your ultimate crush? Cruise ships may be huge, but they start feeling a lot smaller when the stakes get raised!
JM: What are some of your current favorite books? Do any of them influence your writing?
LM: This is a throwback, I just finished binging the Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter. I checked out all six books from the library and read them in under two weeks (which is pretty fast for me these days, what with chasing a toddler around). They’re shippy and funny, which is my favorite kind of read, while also totally thrilling. They made me want to write a teen spy novel for sure. I’m also always trying to get people to read Vivian Apple at the End of the World by Katie Coyle and its sequel, Vivian Apple Needs A Miracle. Those books are so funny and so subversive and so unlike anything else on the shelves right now. I’m always here for a book with some seriously witty snark (so if anyone has any recs, please let me know!).
JM: I hear you are active in roller derby. Could there be a story surrounding roller derby in the future?
LM: Funny you should ask that, because I *might* be writing a roller derby novel as we speak … we’ll see if it ever sees the light of day, but I’m having so much fun writing about a world I’ve spent the last eight years immersed in as a player, a coach, and a league owner (I was a co-owner of the Boston Derby Dames for 3 years before I moved to Georgia). I love writing tough female characters (like the Sloanes from Being Sloane Jacobs), and you’ll find no one tougher than the girls and women who strap on skates and play one of the most intense contact sports out there.
JM: Do you have any current book projects you can tell us about?
LM: I’ve got a 4th YA contemporary romance coming out in October 2016 called My Unscripted Life that’s inspired by my time working as an extra on The Vampire Diaries and The Originals. It’s really swoony and fun, and I can’t wait for everyone to read it. I’m hoping I’ll get to reveal the cover soon!
A big thank you to Lauren Morrill and Joanne Mumley for this enlightening interview! Now read on for the latest giveaway below!
By: Lauren Morrill
Release Date: December 8, 2015
One winner will receive a signed copy of The Trouble With Destiny plus swag, US only.
Entering is simple, just fill out the entry form below. During this giveaway, Lauren has a question for you to answer in the comments below for more chances to win her book! In The Trouble With Destiny, the band kids love a good round of karaoke. What’s your karaoke song of choice?
*Click the Rafflecopter link to enter the giveaway*
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Joanne Mumley is a middle school Language Arts teacher, who loves tweeting about the things she loves; books, Doctor Who, Star Wars, Marvel movies, and Pop Culture, and how to make reading a passion not something tedious you do in school. Back in high school, Joanne loved going to sports events, being a percussionist in the school concert band, and making memories with friends. Now, outside of work, she loves performing music, playing video games, and archery. Joanne especially loves having the opportunity to go to San Diego Comic Con this year and finding out more about favorite authors and sharing all the cool information with my students!