Interview With Serena Kaylor (The Calculation of You and Me)

Today we are very excited to share an interview with Author Serena Kaylor (The Calculation of You and Me)!




Meet the Author: Serena Kaylor

Serena Kaylor is a neurodiverse, romcom super-fan, who is always moments away from cornering you and outlining all her favorite ships. Her books are stuffed with awkward moments, angsty kisses, and jokes that at least she finds funny. Her debut novel, LONG STORY SHORT, was published by Wednesday Books 07/2022, and her next novel THE CALCULATION OF YOU AND ME comes out June 2024.

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About the Book: The Calculation of You and Me

A calculus nerd enlists her surly classmate’s help to win back her ex-boyfriend, but when sparks start to fly, she realizes there’s no algorithm for falling in love.

Marlowe Meadows understands a lot of things. She understands that calculus isn’t overwhelmingly beautiful to everyone, and that it typically kills the mood when you try to talk Python coding over beer pong. She understands people were surprised when golden boy Josh asked her out and she went from weird, math-obsessed Marlowe to half of their school’s couple goals. Unfortunately, Marlowe was surprised when Josh dumped her because he’d prefer a girlfriend who was more romantic. One with emotional depth.

But Marlowe has never failed anything in her life, and she isn’t about to start now. When she’s paired with Ashton Hayes for an English project, his black clothing and moody eyeliner cause a bit of a systems overload, and the dissonant sounds of his rock band make her brain itch. But when she discovers Ash’s hidden stash of love songs, Marlowe makes a desperate deal to unleash her inner romantic heroine: if Ash will agree to help her write some love letters to win back Josh, she’ll calculate the perfect data analytics formula to make Ash’s band go viral.

As the semester heats up with yearning love notes, a syllabus of romance novels, and late nights spent with a boy who escapes any box her brain tries to put him in, Marlowe starts to question if there’s really a set solution to love. Could a girl who has never met a problem she couldn’t solve have gotten the math so massively wrong?

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~Author Chat~


YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?

This is, by far, the hardest question. It’s not always the main character for me (it was Nolan in LONG STORY SHORT), but I’m going to have to go with Marlowe Meadows this time. She’s so earnest in everything she does, and I found so much strength in her vulnerability. I had this idea of her, and her character ARC, but when my fingers hit the keys she ended up surprising me. When she internalized society (and this boy she loved) telling her something was wrong with her, I wanted her to be angry and get revenge, but instead she tried to approach it like she was a problem to solve. She believed them, and in hindsight, I also believed something was “wrong” with me when I was her age too. There was something personally healing in writing her journey, so I’ll always be partial to her for that reason.

Runner up is Poppy because robots are awesome.

YABC: What research did you do to write this book?

I was lucky in the way that this did not require a ton of research beyond my own lived experience of growing up with autism/ADD in a small, southern town. Most of my secondary characters are melting pots of people I knew as a kid, and poor Marlowe’s attempts to learn about love through romance novels are basically plagiarized from my inconsistent girlhood journals. Shout out to fifteen-year-old Serena who was convinced Nora Roberts would teach her everything she needed to learn about being a romance heroine. Spoilers: it did not, but that is no reflection on Nora Robert’s excellent body of work.

YABC: When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

 Embarrassingly late in the game. I wrote a ton of fanfic growing up, and I would devour books like it was my job, but I never considered I could do it for work until I was over thirty. I was the first in my immediate family to go to college and held this very limited worldview that a career isn’t something you love. It must be serious, like business. So, I dutifully got two business degrees that I hated, and then pivoted towards medicine. It wasn’t until I was through my training and spending all my free time writing my first book (LONG STORY SHORT) that I realized there was a reason I was up at midnight typing out a story I wasn’t sure anyone would ever read. I started prioritizing things that made me happy, and not what I assumed other people wanted from me. Now I’m about to send my second book out into the world!

YABC:   How do you keep your ‘voice’ true to the age category you are writing within?

Nailing that authenticity is always tricky, but one of the most prevalent things I remember about that period of my life, is that I felt everything so much. Every fight, every kiss, every day was the most exciting thing to happen to anybody and bringing that energy to the page is what keeps me coming back to YA. Bless my editor, though, because my neurodiverse brain does not instinctively use contractions, and I always have to go through and fix dialogue so my teens don’t sound extremely formal.

YABC: What type of scene do you love to write the most?

If it was up to me my entire book would be three-hundred pages of banter. Plot? Who’s she? What location are they in? A school, a movie theater, an empty room? That’s just none of my business.

YABC:   What is your favorite writing space?

Panera Bread (sponsor me, y’all!). Mainly because it forces me to sit somewhere with none of my stuff. I have an office in my house, but my chair is too comfy, and I don’t always remember to take my meds, and then five hours have gone by, and I’ve done nothing. I now have a solid Panera routine that helps notify my brain that it’s time to work. I get my tea and bread bowl, I turn on my playlist, take my meds, and then I can’t leave until I finish my chapter.

YABC: How do you plan to celebrate the launch of your book?

I possess zero self-regulatory mechanisms, so probably in a dramatic way. I’m very grateful for the YA community, and all the amazing authors I’ve met over the past few years, and I’ll likely do a tour so I can visit my friends and readers and talk about books in a ballgown. Also, champagne.

YABC:   What do you do when you procrastinate?

I’ve been on a DIY kick with my house the past few years. My poor partner will come home, and I’ve demolished something or wallpapered another surface. I’m starting another book right now, and I texted my friend group that I just watched a tutorial and convinced myself I should rip out my laundry room and try building my own cabinets. They all responded “no.”

YABC: What kind of animal would your main character be and why?

This question made me laugh, because Marlowe does mention what animal she sees herself as in the book. Her baby sister is neurotypical and your quintessential southern girl, and Marlowe refers to her as a peacock, or swan, or unicorn. As for herself she says:

I, on the other hand, am solidly in badger territory. There’s a lot to be said for that, though. I’m smart, efficient, and reliable. Usually solitary but can work with a group in a pinch. The type of River Haven girl who was happily on the sidelines, quietly winning medals in math and spending all her time with her two badger best friends, until another peacock pulled her into the spotlight with him.

YABC:   What’s up next for you?

True to form, I have several little projects happening right now, where I’m trying on new genres and ideas. Nothing to announce just yet, but I’m forever grateful for this outlet and this community and can’t wait to show you all what’s next!




Title: The Calculation of You and Me

Author: Serena Kaylor

Release Date: 6/18/24

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA romcom

Age Range: 14-18

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