Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Interview with Sonia Hartl for Have a Little Faith in Me

Have a Little Faith in Me

by Sonia Hartl
Publisher: Page Street Kids
Release Date: September 3rd 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Fiction, Romance, Religion, Realistic Fiction
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"Saved!" meets To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before in this laugh-out-loud romantic comedy that takes a meaningful look at consent and what it means to give it.

When CeCe’s born-again ex-boyfriend dumps her after they have sex, she follows him to Jesus camp in order to win him back. Problem: She knows nothing about Jesus. But her best friend Paul does. He accompanies CeCe to camp, and the plan—God’s or CeCe’s—goes immediately awry when her ex shows up with a new girlfriend, a True Believer at that.

Scrambling to save face, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship. But as deceptions stack up, she questions whether her ex is really the nice guy he seemed. And what about her strange new feelings for Paul—is this love, lust, or an illusion born of heartbreak? To figure it out, she’ll have to confront the reasons she chased her ex to camp in the first place, including the truth about the night she lost her virginity.

Can you briefly describe HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME and the characters? 

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME is about a girl named CeCe who comes up with a plan to win back her born-again ex by pretending to be a Christian. With the help of her BFF, Paul, she enrols in a Christian summer camp, despite knowing nothing about it. When her ex shows up to camp with a new girlfriend, CeCe ropes Paul into faking a relationship to save face, and ends up confronting all the reasons why she chased her ex to camp in the first place. 

Who would you say is your favourite character from the story and why? 

I would have to say my favorite character is my main character, CeCe. She has a lot of heart, and makes a lot of mistakes, but she’s also incredibly vulnerable and open to viewing herself through an honest lens. She confronts a lot of things I wish I’d been brave enough to tackle as a teen, and she has one of the most rewarding character arcs I’ve ever written. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere? 

I tend to spend most Decembers elbow deep in cake and Hallmark movies, and one thing that always stuck out to me in these ‘wholesome’ Hallmark movies was how much girl-hate they have going on. The ex is always the evil roadblock on the path to ‘true love’, and I really wanted to flip that outdated notion on its head. I wanted to write a story where girls are supportive of each other, where they can share their fears and their hopes with each other without judgement, where they can lean on each other when things get hard. Girls who are like the ones I know in real life. This story became my love letter to female friendship. 

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be? 

Is it too on-the-nose to pick HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME by John Hiatt? I’m going to pick it anyway, the lyrics fit well with the romance. 

If your book was going to be made into a movie, who would play your characters?

I’ve always pictured CeCe to look a bit like Joey King and I think Noah Centineo would be the perfect Paul. 

Summer is still here and we love to go out and enjoy the sun. What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date? 

HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME is very much a beach read, and since it’s set at a summer camp, next to a bonfire would also be ideal. To be enjoyed with a tall glass of homemade lemonade. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME? 

What’s next for you? 

My next book, still untitled, will be coming out in Fall 2020 with Page Street! It’s about a YouTuber named Macy Evans who is doxed after the woman sitting behind her at a baseball game tweets about her supposed romance with a boy she stumbled into, vaulting her into a whirlwind fake relationship and driving a wedge between her and the quiet, small-town boy she really likes.

Sonia Hartl is a YA author who calls Michigan home, even though she’s lived in several different states. Her debut novel, HAVE A LITTLE FAITH IN ME is forthcoming from Page Street Publishing. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. She’s a member of SCBWI and the communications director for Pitch Wars. She has been published in The Writers Post Journal and Boston Literary Magazine. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters.

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