Q&A- Kelly Fiore

Young Adult Book Author

Posted on 07.14.14 – Insider, People & Places, Q&A

You taught for 10 years at Frederick High School until last year. Was it scary to leave your job for the writing life full-time?
It was a little scary, but it was really time for me to take the plunge. I realized in 2012 that I was teaching seven hours a day and writing five to six hours a night and my family was suffering by not having me fully present. The majority of authors never go full-time, and that is perfectly OK—this is a really hard, stressful business that doesn’t guarantee a paycheck every two weeks. All writers should do what makes sense for them.

What are the books you have published and what’s on the horizon?
My first book, Taste Test (Bloomsbury USA), came out last summer. My second book, Just Like the Movies (Bloomsbury USA), comes out July 22. Then, I have two books forthcoming from Harper Collins; the first is The People vs. Cecelia Price, which comes out in summer/fall of 2015. My Bloomsbury books are light contemporary romance, whereas my Harper books are more of a gritty life study. I’m incredibly fortunate to get to write such vastly different types of books. It really allows me to continue to challenge myself.

Where do you get inspiration for your plots and characters? Will any of your former students recognize themselves in your books?
Teaching high school reminded me most about why the teenage years are formative—I’ve witnessed a lot of proms and graduations and I’ve watched a lot of kids grow up, so I’ve certainly tapped into that. When you’re a teenager, there is a lot of optimism about the future. I love that sense of possibility and used that a lot.

Is it difficult to put yourself into the world of teenagers?
I actually think that putting myself into a teenage frame of mind is one of the easiest parts of writing for me. One of
the aspects of young adult fiction that I love the most is how intensely it feels things. Remembering how strongly I felt about friendship or the future or first love—that takes me right back to being 16 and I’m able to translate that into my work.

Some say writing a book is the easy part, getting published is the real chore—did you find this to be true?
Yes and no. Anyone can write a book. Writing a good book? That’s really hard because it takes something that frustrates a lot of people—time. The same with traditional publishing. It’s a slow business. It took Taste Test 26 months to come out from when it was purchased by my publisher. You learn to be a patient—or at least learn to try to be patient.

What advice do you have for aspiring writers?
Read good books, especially good books in the genre you write. Don’t write for trends—write what you love. Most of all, decide why you’re writing. If it’s to be published, fantastic, but expect a long and competitive haul. If it’s not to be published, that is perfectly fine, too! Writing is a form of expression —it certainly doesn’t have to be public to be important to you.