Today we are very excited to share an interview with the Author Kate Stollenwerck (Hello, Goodbye)
Meet: Kate Stollenwerck
About the Book: Hello, Goodbye
Fifteen-year-old Hailey Rogers is sure her summer is ruined when her parents tell her she has to spend a few days a week, every week, helping her grandmother, Gigi. Although Gigi only lives across town, Hailey never sees her and knows little about her. But Gigi is full of surprises—and family secrets. Throw in the gorgeous boy down the street, and Hailey’s ruined summer might just be the best of her life.
Then tragedy strikes, lies are uncovered, and Hailey’s life suddenly falls apart. After unearthing clues in an old letter written by her great-grandfather, she takes off on a road trip to solve the family mystery with the only person she can trust. In a forgotten Texas town, the past and the present collide—and Hailey is forced to choose what she truly values in life.
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
My grandmothers. They were well-read, intelligent, feminine, tough, and funny. They had a profound impact on my life and I wanted to capture the unconditional love of the grandparent/grandchild relationship. We were six months into COVID lockdowns when I wrote this novel. I was missing my parents so much; my kids were missing their grandparents and I was very reflective on the value of family.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Gigi, of course! She’s witty, compassionate, fun, and very flawed. She makes a wonderful heroine.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
Really just minutes apart! The plot and the title came to me during a beach walk while listening to This Is The Beatles on Spotify. The basic plot came and then the song Hello, Goodbye started playing, and I had my title!
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
That’s a great question. Probably the final scene. It was emotional for me to write the last page, to close the story and say goodbye to characters I love, but I very clearly had a vision that the last scene would go back to the core relationship of the novel: the love between Hailey and Gigi. I wanted readers to feel sublime when they read the last line.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you’ve learned as a writer from then to now?
I think it’s important to just sit down and write. Don’t let the insecurities or feelings of imposter syndrome overwhelm you and dissuade you from putting in the work.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The vibrant colors! I love the different shades of green with the orange.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2022?
The next book in the Inheritance Games trilogy from Jennifer Lynn Barnes for sure. Both my daughter and I can’t wait for that one. I’m also looking forward to Taylor Jenkins Reid’s Carrie Soto Is Back because I love tennis and she writes such rich and layered female characters.
YABC: What’s a book you’ve recently read and loved?
All My Rage by Saaba Tahir. I read that book and thought about never writing again! She’s so amazing and it’s such a powerful story.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I’m starting to write another YA contemporary that’s been stewing in my brain for the past year.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
SPOILER ALERT: Hands down Gigi’s death scene.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Hailey’s mother. I was trying to illuminate the generational differences in parenting – the hands-off approach of Gigi vs. the helicopter, micro-manage approach of this generation of parents. You’re not supposed to like her (because our narrator is her 15-year-old daughter), but I did want to humanize her.
YABC: What is the main message or lesson you would like your reader to remember from this book?
The importance of family and knowing where you come from and the stories of those that came before you. Family is the true treasure in life.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Spreadsheets. I’m so good at them, it’s scary.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes, the American Heart Association. I had open heart surgery at age 39 and I’m so thankful for the amazing advances in technology and skilled surgeons that save lives every day.
YABC: What advice do you have for new writers?
Write, write, write! The more you write, the better you become at it. And then read, read, read! Pay attention when reading to the fundamentals of good storytelling: world building, character development, plot, voice, and themes. Learn from your favorites.
YABC: Is there anything that you would like to add?
Thanks for having me!!
Title: Hello, Goodbye
Author: Kate Stollenwerck
Release Date: August 2, 2022