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)
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. :)
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.) :)
This is Not a Test on Goodreads / amazon.com / amazon.ca / barnes & noble / book depository / indiebound / Indigo.ca
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?
-ends July 1st
-fill out the form below (yes, forms, not rafflecopter; I'm ancient)
Have a great day, everyone!