How did you get started writing?
I’ve written since I could read, basically. I wrote my first short story when I was six. It was about ghosts and very spooky if I do say so myself. In seventh grade I made all my friends work on a fanfiction of our lives in which my name was Skye and my crush liked me back. As you can see I was something of a child genius.
How did you publish your first book?
I wrote the first draft of HOW TO LOVE as my senior thesis in undergrad at Emerson College, and Alloy Entertainment liked it enough to help me polish it up and sell it to Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins. They also told me gently and lovingly that the book’s love interest, Sawyer LeGrande, should not have a man bun.
Where do you get your ideas?
All over the place! TV! News articles! Listening to regrettable acoustic covers of great hip-hop songs of our time! Looking creepily at other people on the subway! Your mom’s house!
Is there going to be a sequel to 99 DAYS?
There is no plan for a sequel to 99 DAYS right now, but I’d never say never!
Sawyer is a huge jerk in HOW TO LOVE.
This is not, strictly speaking, a question. But I hear you and I see you, Sawyer-haters, and I totally agree with you at times. Still, I like to allow for the possibility of change in people, both in fiction and in real life. Also, jerks need love too.
Are your characters based on your or people you know?
Yes and no. Never wholesale. Definitely not the moms, who are either dead or not very nice. My mom is alive and very nice.
Are there going to be movies of your books? Can I be in them?
There are no plans for a HOW TO LOVE movie right now, but MTV has put into development a half-hour dramedy based on 99 DAYS! I would love for you to be in it, personally, but I get zero percent say in that kind of thing. I think your hair looks great today though.
Can you send me copies of your books in exchange for a review?
I would love to do this! I love when people read and review my books. But unfortunately I just don’t have enough copies of the books themselves to send them out to everyone who asks. I bet your library has ‘em, though—and on the off-chance they don’t, a lot of times they will order stuff if you ask nicely.
What are your favorite YA books?
Everything Leads to You! Pointe! The Truth About Forever! Simon Vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda!
When is your next book coming out? What’s it about?
My next book is coming out in early 2017. It’s about pop stars and friendships and the 90s and saving your own soul. Watch this space.
What do you do when you’re not writing?
I read a lot. I like to cook and host parties and try new restaurants. My husband and I are renovating a townhouse in Boston so I spend a lot of time clicking through home tours on the internet and saying things like “THAT TILE IS EVERYTHING TO ME.” I also love television of the romantic variety an untoward amount, which is only one of many reasons I will never be cool.
What advice would you give to young writers?
Write everything. Read everything. Don’t let anyone make you feel weird about the weird stuff you like, even if you like it a weird amount. Just keep on keeping on, a little bit at a time.
How can I get even MORE of you, Katie Cotugno?