Here's the lowdown on Casey V:
On the bus, on her way to her first-ever summer job, Casey V is totally excited. And scared to death. First-time jobs are intimidating enough, but she'll be spending the whole summer out of state. Living in a cabin in the woods in charge of the safety and well-being of a bunch of homesick little girls. Yikes! Will this be the most awesome summer of her life or the biggest mistake in her entire sixteen years?
Sounds fab, doesn't it? And now, here's the lowdown on Laurie:
So, Laurie, can you tell us about your heroine, Casey?
Sure! Casey is a 16-year-old girl who loves to read, write, play volleyball and hang out with her friends. Her mom was a camp counselor as a teen, so as she’s scanning the paper one day she sees an ad for camp counselors at Camp Gitchy Goo Moo on the lovely shores of Lake Michigan, and convinces Casey to go for it. One relatively painless phone interview later and Casey’s gainfully employed, away from home for the whole summer! Casey has a hilarious take on life, is always up for a challenge, is a little bit of a perfectionist and has just a wee bit of self esteem issues. She knows this summer will either be the worst experience of her life, or the most awesome summer she can imagine. She’s hoping it’s the latter!
Your book is dedicated to your two nieces--how much is Casey like them?
Both my nieces Brianna and Christina are fun-loving girls with tons of friends and packed social schedules, and also excellent and dedicated students. In those ways they are very much like Casey. It was so much fun for me as an author to collaborate with my nieces in writing this book. I remember taking Brianna out for a coffee drink and brainstorming plot ideas before I started writing. Then, as I wrote each chapter, they read for me. I mainly wanted to know: a) does the dialogue sound like real teens talking, b) does anything strike you as “old-fashioned” or out of date, and c) does the action keep you interested and tuned in? By using them as my test readers, and changing things around as suggested, I ended up with a book that teen-aged girls should really enjoy.
Did you ever go away to a summer camp like the one in your book? Did you have fun?
I did – just once! It was a church camp, and it was only about 40 minutes from home, but it was my first camping experience, living with a group of girls in a cabin away from home and parents. I was about 13. We did all kinds of fun activities all day, and the big finale at the end was a dance, my first one ever. I remember a cute boy named Bruce asked me to dance, and we ended up keeping in touch for the rest of the summer. That was certainly a highlight!
Why do you write YA?
Young adult fiction is just so fun! I love the casual, almost conversational tone of YA, and I especially enjoyed writing this book in journal format. The whole story is told through Casey’s journal, emails and IM’s. When you’re a teen, you see the world around you with a fresher viewpoint. As someone who’s been out of her teens for awhile (understatement of the year!!) it was fun to reconnect with my younger self and bring back all the angst and excitement of growing up.
What kind of books did you like reading when you were Casey's age?
I was horse crazy. I had my own horse and did a lot of riding, so almost all my reading involved horses. In my local library and bookmobile, I knew exactly where the rows of horse books were, and I always headed there immediately. I’d run my finger along the spines of the books, whispering, “Read it, read it, read it,” and then I’d run across one I hadn’t read and whip it out and set it aside to check out! I also liked Christian fiction and mysteries –Nancy Drew was a particular favorite. Note: Casey has a horse experience in the book – unfortunately, things do not end up that well for her!
When a reader finishes a book by Laurie Larsen, what do you hope she takes away from it?
I have a couple tag lines that you’ll see listed on my website. One is: “Everyday situations, with just a twist of worst-case scenario.” I don’t write fantasy – you’ll never find vampires, werewolves, witches, wizards or time travel in my books. I’m grounded in reality, and that’s what I write about. But I always ask myself, “What if …?” What if things didn’t go well? What if every time that cute boy counselor is around, something happens to make Casey feel like a total idiot? Hmmm… Another tagline is, “Do you believe in happy endings?” No matter what happens in my books, no matter how far the characters stray, the reader can rest assured there will be a happy ending. Everything ends right.
Thanks for having me this week! I’m looking forward to blogging this week so stay tuned and visit back often!
Thanks for chatting with me, Laurie! Can't wait to read your posts this week.