Why did you decide to have the full novel take place over seven days?
I’ve always adored stories that are set over a limited period of time. (Movies like Before Sunrise and books like Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist and The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight spring to mind as some of my all-time favorites!) There’s something so intriguing—and quite romantic—about the idea that everything that’s going to happen in a story has to happen within one night/24 hours/seven days. I chose a week specifically, because I’ve moved around a lot and that last week is always so messy and heartbreaking. During one move, I remember thinking, I wish I could read a book about an experience like this to make me feel better, and I’m a firm believer that when you have a thought like that, you should try to write that book!
You’ve lived all around the world! Was there any moment in Japan that sparked your inspiration for the book/a scene in the book?
I love Japan so much! I lived in Tokyo for seven years and moved away a year earlier than Sophia did (when I was sixteen) so I spent the the last two years of high school agonizing over how much I missed it—the trains and the konbinis and going to karaoke and eating in ramen shops. I included a lot those things in the book, but one that feels particularly personal is Sophia’s house, which is based on the house I lived in as a teenager. I traveled back to Tokyo the summer after I turned eighteen and went to visit that house again, but when I arrived, I found out it had been demolished! So it was nice to give it a second life of sorts in Seven Days.
Do you believe in second chances- or are they just for stories?
Oh man, yes, I definitely believe in them. That being said, I think self-care and self-forgiveness are the most important kinds of second chances. If I fail at something or get stuck in a crummy pattern, I remind myself that it doesn’t have to define me forever and that there’s always the opportunity for change. I’m in the middle of writing and editing my second book, so this philosophy has been particularly important to me recently.
Do you have a motto? What is it?
Hmmm, probably “there’s always room for dessert”. Because there is. Always.
Could we see one of your infamous lipstick skittle combinations?
I tried to find a picture of one in particular but couldn’t! It’s this mint green lipstick I used to wear all the time a few years ago. I worked at a library then, and my co-workers were very forgiving of—but also very alarmed by—my fashion choices. I’m not sure which skittle I would pair it with. Maybe a sweet pistachio macaron instead?
What are some of your favorite podcasts?
This American Life is, hands down, my ultimate and favorite podcast. It’s smart and interesting and such a great tool for aspiring storytellers. Listening to it is one of my favorite weekend rituals. I also really enjoy WTF with Marc Maron, because the interviews are usually about what it’s like to balance creative goals with leading an everyday life. How other people deal with that is a source of endless fascination to me. And I really, really love podcasts that make me laugh. It’s almost fall, so I tend to listen to Welcome to Nightvale a lot around this time of year. It’s so odd and spooky and funny. Three of my favorite things!
What was one of your favorite childhood books?
The first book I can remember really loving was The Witches by Roald Dahl. And by loving, I mean it terrified me. I used to read a few pages, throw it under my bed, run out of the room, and swear to myself that I was never picking it up ever again. Of course, a few hours later, I’d be back, cautiously plucking it out from under my bed and opening it to where I’d left off. That experience is so memorable to me, I think, because it was the first time I realized how powerful books could be. They could sweep you into these strange, scary, whimsical worlds and make you feel like you were right there, actually living in them. To this day, that’s my favorite thing about reading.
Who are your role models and/or who are people that inspire you?
I’m in awe of artists who manage to create distinct, beautiful worlds that you want to live in. I could probably write lists and lists of these artists, but directors like Richard Linklater, Sofia Coppola, and Hayao Miyazaki and authors like J. K. Rowling, Stephanie Perkins, and Maureen Johnson are a few who are close to my heart. I would never have sat down to write Seven Days of You if I’d never seen or read their work.
What’s your favorite food? Curious minds want to know 😉
The answer is: it depends on where I am! My family is French, so when I’m visiting them, I live off bread, cheese, fruit, and delicious yogurt. I daydream about the bagels I used to get near my old apartment in New York and the fish n’ chips I’d buy near my old house in Scotland. But I probably do miss Japanese food the most. I’m vegetarian now, but I still believe that nothing beats a bowl of really good, hot ramen on a cold winter day.
Are there any books by your fellow Swanky 17ers that you’d highly recommend?
Oh heavens, there are so many that sound fabulous! I recently started Caraval by Stephanie Garber, and it’s such a delight. Lush and romantic and completely absorbing. People are going to fall head over heels for this book!
*~~About the Author~~*