Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Author Interview: Courtney Summers (and giveaway!)

LOVELIES. I have just fulfilled something on my blogging bucket list. Thank you, Courtney, thank you.

It's one of the hugest honours ever to post my own interview with one of my absolute favourite authors, Courtney Summers (of Canada! huzzah!), as part of Raincoast Books' Canadian tour for her latest novel This is Not a Test (released today!! Congrats!). This is Not a Test is one of my favourite reads of the year (read my review) and I hope you enjoy the interview!

Courtney Summers is the author of four YA novels: Cracked Up to Be, Some Girls Are, Fall for Anything, and This is Not a Test

Welcome, Courtney! (and okay, I kind of cheated and asked her questions about all her books-- I couldn't resist)

1. In This is Not a Test, the characters don't really know the circumstances of the 'outside world' (ie: zombie apocalypse and the whole world spinning out of control… or is it?). When you were writing the novel, were you very aware of what and how things had escalated and what was happening to the world, or were you more concentrated on Sloane's story?

I know the whys of my zombie outbreak and I have a pretty clear idea of what's going on in Cortege, and beyond.  I won't say more than that at this point, though.  :)  Due to the character-driven nature of the story and because Sloane et al are extremely isolated during the duration of it, the most they can do is guess at what's going on.  I felt it wouldn't have been realistic for them to know what I know.

2. You've continuously dealt with dark, painful matters. In my opinion, I feel your last two books have been particularly angsty. There's so much grief in Fall for Anything and pain in This is Not a Test; did you find this progression to write more emotionally heavy stories a natural transition as a novelist, or did you set out to tackle these themes deliberately?

It has been deliberate.  Each of my books have been progressively darker than the last which is something I've intended to do since Cracked Up to Be.  At this point in my writing, I'm really interested in how far I can take a story and the extremely hard situations I can put my characters in while still making the emotional core of it resonate and feel real.  Which is not to say I'll never write a happy book, or lighten up a little.  That could happen.  Just not in the near future.  :)

3. I remember you mentioning that the name Regina, from Some Girls Are, was partially influenced by Regina Spektor (love her!). Sloane's such an uncommon name, was it inspired by anything or anyone?

 Regina Spektor is awesome!  Totally part of the reason why I loved the name.  Sloane's name wasn't inspired by anyone or anything.  It sort of popped into my head and I just felt it was perfect for her, it clicked.  It fits her personality, I think.

Audrey's personal favourite Regina Spektor song, what's yours? (and I love Samson too)

4. I've read and loved (and questioned your evil-ness) in every single one of your books, and I feel like they all feel complete yet open-ended in a way. However, I have to know: have you ever considered writing a sequel or companion novel? Are there any side characters scratching at your brain, demanding their story be told?

It's interesting, but I don't really consider sequels until someone asks me if there's going to be one and then I start wondering if there was a sequel to whichever book, what would it be about, and then I usually come to the conclusion that there probably shouldn't be one because most of my poor characters have been put through enough.  I think This is Not a Test lends itself most to the possibility of a sequel or a companion book, but right now it's not on the table.  I hope that's not too evil an answer.  :)

5. Lastly, I'm sure you're going to be asked plenty of "there's a zombie apocalypse, what do you do"-esque questions, but I can't resist. There's a zombie apocalypse! Which celebrity would you want to team up with to survive?

Ooh, I would totally team up with Ed Begley Jr.  I have no idea if he would be useful in a zombie apocalypse or if he would help me survive but if it is my only opportunity to meet him, I'll take it!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Audrey!

(And for your kind words.)  :)


Author website

Uhm, thank YOU for answering my questions and leaving me speechless-ly happy :)

In my delirious joy, I am giving away a copy of her most recent novel, This is Not a Test, as a celebration for its release today (go out an buy your copy now, like seriously!)

This is Not a Test: 
It’s the end of the world. Six students have taken cover in Cortege High but shelter is little comfort when the dead outside won’t stop pounding on the doors. One bite is all it takes to kill a person and bring them back as a monstrous version of their former self. To Sloane Price, that doesn’t sound so bad. Six months ago, her world collapsed and since then, she’s failed to find a reason to keep going. Now seems like the perfect time to give up. 
As Sloane eagerly waits for the barricades to fall, she’s forced to witness the apocalypse through the eyes of five people who actually want to live. But as the days crawl by, everyone’s motivations to survive begin to change in startling ways and soon the group’s fate is determined less and less by what’s happening outside and more and more by the unpredictable and violent bids for life–and death–inside. When everything is gone, what do you hold on to?


-Open internationally
-ends July 1st
-fill out the form below (yes, forms, not rafflecopter; I'm ancient)

Have a great day, everyone!


  1. AWESOME interview. I already have a copy of TINAT pre-ordered because I had to have a copy, and gosh, that book was amazing. Loved the questions, they were all very thoughtful and I have to say, I'm still curious about the zombie-ridden world that Sloane lives in... the thought of some sort of companion novel kills me, but at the same time I like the complete/incomplete feeling of a standalone. Argh!

    Anyways, this was definitely one of my (if not the) favorite reads this year, and I'm looking forward to being emotionally wrecked by her next book. I wonder if it can get any darker than this haha

  2. I really want to read one of her book.
    I loved the interview.

  3. So cool that Regina's name was somewhat inspired by Regina Spektor. It's not a name you see used in books too often...I'm so looking forward to reading TINAT! I've heard it's amazing.

    Great interview, and thank you for the giveaway :)

  4. have wanted to interview her forever. i'm kind of living it through you so i'm good for now. talk about awesome.

    and thanks hun for the giveaway. have wanted a copy for ages :)

  5. THANK YOU for not using Rafflecopter! It confuses me so much I won't even enter contests that use it.

    Awesome interview.

  6. Thanks a lot for the giveaway!

  7. So I had this nice comment all typed up for you, but then Blogger ATE IT!!! Lol. Anyways, what I was saying is that Courtney Summers is one of those authors that I've always wanted to read (at least, since I first heard of her), but that I've just never gotten around to. Hopefully that will change in the near future!

  8. Great interview Audrey! I really can't wait to read it, it's not out here until July :(

  9. Haha, great interview! I haven't read a book by Courtney Summers yet, but I've got them on my list. I'm not into zombies, but this is one book I'm really excited to read!!

  10. This Is Not a Test is an absolute must read for fans of zombie stories with a bit more depth, contemporary young adult fiction with a darker edge, and for readers who are simply looking for a brilliantly written, character-driven story of just what people will be willing to do to survive when the world falls down around them.


for those who are confused, it means "Don't forget to be AWESOME". *hugs*