Molly Booth (she/her/hers) writes books about Shakespeare and feelings. She's the author of Young Adult novels SAVING HAMLET (2016) and NOTHING HAPPENED (5.15.2018), both published by Disney Hyperion. In high school, she was a stage manager for three different community theatres, which almost killed her. She graduated from Marlboro College and went onto study more Shakespeare (twist!) at University of Massachusetts Boston. Molly is a freelance writer and editor and has been published on TheMarySue.com, McSweeneys.net, HelloGiggles.com, and various other websites. She co-hosts a Bardcentric podcast, Party Bard, and directs a lovely, hilarious, and fierce group of homeschooling teen Shakespearean actors. She also speaks and teaches workshops at schools, colleges, bookstores, book fairs, camps, and libraries. Molly lives in Massachusetts, where she spends a lot of time with family and friends, and the rest attending to her queenly cat and loaf-of-bread-shaped dog.
Literary agent: Alex Slater at Trident Media Group.
This modern-day retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing takes place at the idyllic Camp Dogberry, where sisters Bee and Hana Leonato have grown up. Their parents own the place, and every summer they look forward to leading little campers in crafts, swimming in the lake, playing games of capture the flag and sproutball, and of course, the legendary counselor parties.
This year, the camp drama isn’t just on the improv stage. Bee and longtime counselor Ben have a will-they-or-won’t-they romance that’s complicated by events that happened—or didn’t happen—last summer. Meanwhile, Hana is falling hard for the kind but insecure Claudia, putting them both in the crosshairs of resident troublemaker John, who spreads a vicious rumor that could tear them apart.
As the counselors juggle their camp responsibilities with simmering drama that comes to a head at the Fourth of July sparkler party, they’ll have to swallow their pride and find the courage to untangle the truth, whether it leads to heartbreak or happily ever after.
~ Interview ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
I love its source material, MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING with all my heart! I am, like so many, particularly in love with Beatrice. I love how fiercely she protects those she loves. I love how she has to learn to be vulnerable. The more I read the play, the more I started being able to picture these characters as teenagers.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I can’t pick!! I love them all so dearly! Bee was definitely the impetus for me writing the book, Hana is my sweet baby angel, Ben is The Best Mom, John learns a lot, and Vanessa is totally me as a CIT. I love Margo and Donald too – they’re both super social people that have an unrequited crush situation. One character that I was really surprised that I loved writing is Claudia. She’s traditionally one of the villains in MUCH ADO, and getting inside her head, figuring out why she makes the mistakes she does, was challenging. Her voice ended up being so different from what I’ve written before, yet someone I found I could really understand.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
For my first book, SAVING HAMLET, I had no title till I finished! My fiction mentor/professor had to name it for me. But the idea and the title both came to me at the same time with NOTHING HAPPENED.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
There are a couple I really love, but one is when Hana’s sneaking out to the parking lot to leave camp. I have felt the things Hana’s feeling in that scene, so it was pretty emotional to write. I’m very happy with how it turned out, especially with the resolution being about sibling/friendship power.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
I really struggled with imposter syndrome while writing NOTHING HAPPENED. After I finished my first book, SAVING HAMLET, I naively thought writing another one would be easy! I figured I’d been through the process once, so obviously I could do it again, no problem. I’d never heard that your sophomore novel can be so much tougher! When I actually sat down to write, I realized I only knew how to write SAVING HAMLET, and I had no idea how to write NOTHING HAPPENED. It was (surprise) so different! I had to learn to beat back imposter syndrome and tell myself NOTHING HAPPENED would get there. My editor, Kieran Viola at Disney Hyperion, really helped with this.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the pinkies interlocked and the friendship bracelets and the little star in “Nothing” that’s a nod to Hana’s self care crafting. I also love the back of the book – that starry photo of all of the counselors around a fire is exactly how I picture them. Tyler Nevins at Disney Hyperion has designed all of my covers so far, and I love his extremely thoughtful and eye-catching work.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Argh SO MANY! I’m excited to share a pub day with Lygia Day Peñaflor’s ALL OF THIS IS TRUE, I’m super pumped for Stephanie Kate Strohm’s LOVE A LA MODE, and I can’t wait to read the OUR STORIES, OUR VOICES anthology.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2017?
Argh again SO MANY that I loved! SIREN SISTERS by Dana Langer, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, and PRINCE IN DISGUISE by Stephanie Kate Strohm were some of my favorites.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I have a couple of wips! I can’t say much yet, but they probably have something to do with Shakespeare :D In my non-writing life, this fall, I’m starting my own nonprofit Shakespeare theatre program. I’m creating a space where Shakespeare is inclusive for LGBTQIA+ young actors.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
When Claudia has her big emotional scene at the Sparkler Party. It was hard to be in her head and narrate when what she was doing was pretty terrible to Hana. Hana’s my baby and I love her and I want to protect her as much as Bee does.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Claudia, definitely. We’re not super similar people on the surface, so I had to figure out how to access her voice and thought processes. It just took time and getting to know her through multiple drafts! She ended up being one of my favorite characters, ever, to write too :) I think that all of that work brought her closer to my heart.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Oh revising, without a doubt! I get so intimidated by blank pages and not knowing exactly where I’m going. Once I have something to work with, even if it’s bad (read: terrible), I’m calmer, because I know I can shape and fix things.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
What a great question! I think my superpower is Feeling A Lot Of Things. I care very deeply and get really excited. I’m super sensitive. Growing up I used to desperately wish I wasn’t so emotional, so that I wouldn’t get made fun of, or so I could fit in better. I imagined people would like me better if I was a calmer, cooler person. But I think those many, many feelings are what make me a good writer. And I now have friends that love me for being emotional and excited and who are understanding when I’m sensitive. It’s a superpower I’ve had to grow into and learn to appreciate.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
There are many causes that are close to my heart, many problems in the United States that we have to work toward solving. A couple of organizations I have recently donated to are:
The Joyful Heart Foundation: http://www.joyfulheartfoundation.org/ and
Hispanic Federation: http://hispanicfederation.org/
By: Molly Booth
Publishing Date: May 15th, 2018
Three winners will receive a copy of Nothing Happened (Molly Booth) ~ US Only
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