Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Interview with Jessica Cunsolo for She's With Me

She's With Me (She's With Me #1)

by Ava Violet
Publisher: Wattpad Books
Release Date: January 7th, 2020
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
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When Amelia Collins moves to a new town to escape her dark past, she just wants to keep her head down and finish her senior year.

Her plans change drastically when she runs- literally- into the school's hottest badass and number one person on the 'don't mess with' list, Aiden Parker.

Amelia needs to find a way to survive senior year while she tries not to fall for the annoyingly handsome Aiden, or his mischievous, cocky player of a best friend, Mason.

With new friends, fun pranks, bitchy queen bees, old rivalries, and a haunting past, Amelia's senior year is destined to be filled with some drama.

Can you briefly describe SHE’S WITH ME and its characters?

She’s With Me is a young adult novel full of romance, suspense, drama, and excitement. It follows Amelia, the fierce female lead, and her experience as the new girl in school. She just wants to keep a low profile, but that plan is ruined on the first day when she crashes into the school’s most notorious senior, Aiden Parker. She’s drawn into a new group of friends as well as all the drama that comes with being on Aiden’s radar, all the while trying to keep her secrets from being revealed, or risk losing it all.

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

I love all of my characters, even the villains, but I think my favourite character is Noah. He’s the goofy, lovable character who often serves as the comedic relief. Since there’s so many tense moments throughout the story, he plays such an important role. Plus he makes me laugh and is so fun to write!

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

When I started writing I really didn’t have a clear direction. I only had a vague idea of what the major conflict would be and a general sense of how I wanted to portray my main character, Amelia. The only thing I knew for sure, was that I wanted to write a dynamic story that could pull readers out of their everyday lives into a wild and drama filled high school fantasy. As I wrote and my characters began to come to life and their personalities became more layered with dimension, I realized that I was writing a character who inspired me. I was creating Amelia to be more like the girl I wish I was in high school; a girl who was confident and strong and refuses to let people walk all over her, even when the stakes are extremely high. 

There are aspects of the She’s With Me plot that have been pulled from my personal life and the lives of my friends, but it’s definitely more elevated than the real life events. I really wanted to envision a crazy world where these dramatic events and scenarios existed through the eyes of someone as determined, confident and tenacious as Amelia. 

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

This is a hard question, but I think one of my all-time favourite songs can work to describe “She’s With Me”, which is “Sippin’ on Fire” by Florida Georgia Line. Obviously it doesn’t fit perfectly, but if you bend the meaning a bit I think it’s great.

“Why should we go round and round the truth, Like we been doin'? Every time we lie girl we're losing…” 

This describes how Amelia is trying to hide not only her own secrets from everyone, but she’s also trying to convince herself not to fall for Aiden because of those secrets, which ends up hurting her in the long run.

“You act like you don't know what you're missing, Every time you end up back with him, 'Cause it's safe, and you're scared. Of everything you're feeling when, we’re burning the midnight down again,” 

This line relates to how Amelia can sometimes deny how she feels and retreats to what she knows is safe, which is keeping to herself, but of course there’s always this push and pull because she can’t seem to stay away from Aiden. 

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

It’s hard to pick an actor for Aiden, since I’ve always just pictured him as an imaginary being in my head. But when I started writing “She’s With Me”, I always imagined Holland Roden as Amelia, and more recently Maddison Brown, who I feel would play a great Amelia.

What drink and place do you think will go with your book to have a perfect book date?

I think any cozy, quiet place where you can binge this book undisturbed is an ideal spot, maybe with either a warm tea or a light, yummy milkshake. 

Can you recommend your readers any other books in case they are left hungry for more once they finish SHE’S WITH ME?

One of my all-time favourite books is Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick. I think readers craving more She’s With Me would love this book since they both have high levels of romance, suspense, and excitement.

What would you say is the most difficult part of writing a book?

The hardest part of writing a book for me is just finishing it. I’m a terrible planner. I find the process of outlining and planning difficult because most of the time my ideas come to me in the moment and I don’t always have a clear idea of how it will all be wrapped up in the end. So for me, sitting down and figuring out where the characters and the plot will end up is the hardest part, but once I have that down and push past writers block, it all works out. 

What’s next for you?

I’m going to continue working on stories I love and creating memorable characters and storylines… and hopefully some exciting announcements in the new year!

Jessica is an indecisive university student from a small town near Toronto, Canada. She published her first young adult novel She’s With Me, on Wattpad under the name “AvaViolet” when she was 17 years old. In just over 2 years, her story has amassed over 61 million reads and has reached the number one spot in teen fiction more times than she can count. Her story She’s With Me won the 2016 Wattys “Talk of the Town” award, as well as The 2016 Fiction Awards “Best Teen Fiction.” She also won The 2016 Writer Awards for Novelist of the Year and Wattpad Writer of the Year.

Jessica enjoys hiking, the outdoors, and trying to sneak her way out of inevitable awkward situations. She can often be found daydreaming about scenarios which have a 5% chance of actually happening to her. But she doesn’t mind, since she can transform them into awesome stories which she can vicariously live through.

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