Good morning, Knights! Today kicks off the start of the FRESHMEN blog and bookstagram tour and I have an exclusive author interview with Tom Ellen and Lucy Ivison (the minds behind this upcoming NA contemporary) to share with you! Check out how these two writers would describe each other, what it’s like to be in an author’s shoes for today, and the ULTIMATE question: tea or coffee.
Don’t forget to then head on over to my bookstagram page to enter to win a copy of FRESHMEN for yourself!
All About Tom and Lucy
You wrote a book! That’s pretty awesome. Why don’t you tell us a bit about what inspired Freshmen?
Our first book, A Totally Awkward Love Story, is about the summer just before going to college, when everything is about to change. So, with Freshmen, it felt natural to write a book about what that change actually looks like. Going to college is a bit like falling in love… masses is written about the good bits, but not as much about the bad bits. We wanted to explore what going to college is actually like, warts and all.
Introduce us to your main character!
We have two main characters – Lucy writes the girl’s voice and Tom the boy’s! Our female protagonist, Phoebe, is ready for college and wants the rest of her life to really begin. Our male protagonist, Luke, feels confused about leaving his girlfriend behind and lost without his mates from home.
Walk us through a day in the life of an author.
Well, being part of a writing team is very different to writing alone. We do a lot of our thinking whilst walking. We will walk endlessly round parks talking about what we want our book to be. We have known each other since we were sixteen, and went to high school and college together, so a lot of those chats involve discussing who we were at a certain time in our lives. How did we feel the first day of uni, how did we feel when missing home, how did it change us etc? We are lucky that we kind of act as each others portkeys to another time. We also listen to songs we liked at that time in our lives and re-read our diaries to really try and access the exact thoughts and feelings we had. After our walk, we go home and get our lap-tops out and actually read aloud every scene. We can spend ages deciding on whether one word is funnier than another. We think reading the scenes together is the best way of knowing if they work or not. We usually end when we are stuck, and either go for another walk or separate to try and experiment with solutions alone. Our writing is fuelled by cups of tea, chocolate biscuits and Haribo!
Lots of aspiring authors out there. Any advice for them?
Everyone says be a reader, which is true. But also – be a gossip. Listen to people on the bus, listen to people at work or at school… be a good listener. It will give you a sharp ear for dialogue and help you understand what makes people tick. Also: enter competitions! This is a great way to impose deadlines and force yourself to finish your book.
I know asking someone’s all-time favorite book is a loaded question so what’s your current favorite read?
Tom: I am reading Carson McCullers’ ‘The Mortgaged Heart’ – she’s so, so great.
Lucy: I am reading ‘Circe’ by Madeline Miller at the moment… I loved ‘The Song of Achilles’, and this is even more breathtaking.
Alright, the ultimate question: why should we read your book?
Because it will make you laugh!
Describe yourself in 3 words.
Tom (by Lucy) – Punctual, Hilarious, Kind.
Lucy (by Tom) – Funny, pragmatic, UNpunctual (not sure if that last one technically IS a word, but it definitely describes Lucy)
What is your Hogwarts house?
Lucy – Hufflepuff FOREVER
Tom – I was OFFICIALLY sorted into Slytherin. But I’ve always felt more Ravenclaw, to be honest.
Your characters are sent into the Hunger Games. Who wins?
There is a character in Freshmen called Negin – she’s cool in a crisis, clever and fearless… so I think we’ll have to go with her. Although we’re not sure Freshmen is the right time in your life to fight a battle till the death…
A famous movie producer wants to make your books into movies and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?
Phoebe: Young Molly Ringwald
Luke: Tom Holland or maybe Nick Robinson from Love, Simon
You just won America’s Got Talent. What’s your talent?
Book recommendations – tell me your favourite book and I will tell you what to read next! (Lucy is a school librarian)
This morning you woke up with the ability to time travel to only one time period. Where (or more accurately “when”) would you go?
Lucy – 1920’s London – for the parties and the fashion!
Tom – Late 1970s New York: punk and hip-hop both being created in the same city at the same time!
Coffee or tea?
Tea – we’re British!
Best ice cream flavor ever?
Your theme song/personal anthem?
For Freshmen, it’s got to be Going Away To College by Blink 182.
“Flora knew that she did not look so beautiful as Elfine, but, then, she did not want to. She knew that she looked distinguished, elegant and interesting. She asked for nothing more.”
Stella Gibbon – Cold Comfort Farm.
LUCY: I read Cold Comfort Farm when I was about seventeen and I remember it really changing how I viewed my appearance. I stopped wanting to be look pretty and started wanting to look interesting… I have it framed on my dressing table.
What is one piece of advice you would tell everyone?
Don’t look sideways! Comparing yourself to other people just breeds insecurity (it’s hard not to, though!)
About the Book
by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison
Published on June 12, 2018 by Delacorte Press
Genres: Contemporary, Contemporary Romance, New Adult, Young Adult
Getting in is just the beginning.
Phoebe can’t wait to get to college. On her own, discovering new things, no curfew…she’ll be free. And she’ll be totally different: cooler, prettier, smarter…the perfect potential girlfriend. Convenient: the only person from her high school also going to York is her longtime crush, Luke.
Luke didn’t set out to redefine himself, but as soon as he arrives on campus, he finds himself dumping his long-term long-distance girlfriend. And the changes don’t stop there. In fact, being on a soccer team is the only thing that stays the same.
Just when things start looking up (and Phoebe and Luke start hooking up), drama looms on the horizon. Rumors swirl about the Wall of Shame, a secret text chain run by Luke’s soccer team, filled with compromising photos of girls. As the women on campus determine to expose the team and shut down the account, Luke and Phoebe find themselves grappling with confusing feelings and wondering how they’ll ever make it through freshman year.
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