Author Crush Friday: Suzanne Nelson
Glitter girls, you have pressing questions for your favorite authors and we have their answers. Welcome to our weekly segment, Author Crush Fridays.
We love asking questions and we love the answers from some of our favorite authors. Today we’re talking to Suzanne Nelson, the author of the MG novel, You’re Bacon Me Crazy, which is also part of Scholastic’s adorable WISH series (March 28, 2017; Scholastic Paperbacks). Thank you for talking to us today, Suzanne! We’re honored!
GLITTER: How would you describe your characters in You’re Bacon Me Crazy? Who is your favorite character and why?
SUZANNE: It’s my hope that all of the characters in this book are dynamic and unique (but since I’m clearly biased, I’ll leave it up to my readers to decide.). Tessa Kostas, the heroine of the story, is creative, stubborn, and has a flair for the culinary arts. She’s very close to her cooking mentor and eccentric aunt Cleo. Tessa’s best friend, Mei Kwan, is her sounding board for all things fashion and boy-related, and the two of them love to explore San Francisco together. Then there’s Asher Rivers, who is by turns Tessa’s archnemesis or crush. I have a weakness for writing brooding love interests for my heroines (probably because brooding heroes were always my favorites to read about as a teen). Asher is smart and outgoing, but also moody, and Tessa starts off believing he’s supremely snobbish. When Asher and Tessa work together in the food truck, it’s as likely that there will be a food fight as flirting. You’ll have to read the book to find out whether Tessa changes her mind (and heart) about Asher or not (cue romantic music in the background).
Tessa, the heroine of You’re Bacon Me Crazy, is my favorite character. I admire her bravery and single-mindedness when it comes to fighting for what’s important to her. She’s loyal to her family and is passionate about saving her family’s food truck and pursuing her dreams. My own grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles have run potato-farming businesses for many years, so I know first-hand how meaningful a family business can be. I also love that Tessa’s sometimes absentminded, because that’s basically me every day of my life (When I was learning how to bake cake pops for Cake Pop Crush, I set some candy melts on fire because I forgot to stir them in the microwave!)
GLITTER: For those who haven’t read your work yet, how would you describe your writing style?
SUZANNE: That’s a tough question, because I have more than one writing style. My “foodie” books (Cake Pop Crush, You’re Bacon Me Crazy, Macarons at Midnight, Hot Cocoa Hearts, and Donut Go Breaking My Heart) are light and fun with quick-moving plots, but they also touch on true-to-life school, crush, friendship, and family dilemmas. When writing these books, I draw a lot from the feelings and experiences I had as a teen. I kept all of my diaries from middle school and high school, and I reread them regularly to “relive” the thrills, crushes, and, yes, sometimes total humiliation and disasters of those years. But I have another more literary, more serious writing style, too. I wrote the YA novel Serendipity’s Footsteps in this style. My writing personalities reflect my real ones. I have a fun, singing-at-the-top-of-my-lungs, dancing-in-pajamas, scarfing-candy-like-there’s-no-tomorrow side, and a more introverted, introspective side. It depends on the day, and how much chocolate I’ve consumed.
GLITTER: Your titles are so clever and the covers are delicious. Tell us about how this process.
SUZANNE: I am so fortunate to work with a brilliant team of editors and designers at Scholastic who bring their creativity to my foodie covers. The process of choosing titles and cover designs is very collaborative. My editor and I toss around “punny” titles via email and phone chats until we hit on the right one. Sometimes, like in the cases of Cake Pop Crush and Macarons at Midnight, the story/plot idea is actually inspired by the title of the books. It’s so much fun playing with words that, honestly, it doesn’t feel like work at all! Sometimes we go through a few different versions of a book’s cover before a final decision is made, and that part of the process is always fascinating, too. In fact, for You’re Bacon Me Crazy, Scholastic Art Director Jennifer Rinaldi actually cooked about two pounds of bacon in order to create the picture-perfect heart-shaped bacon on the book’s cover! (Now that’s dedication!) Each book’s title, cover, colors–all of it has to be blended into the perfect “flavor.” I’m a former children’s book editor, so I understand and appreciate every minute of behind-the-scenes magic that publishers, editors, and designers work to turn my stories into finished books.
GLITTER: What one piece of advice could you give any teen going through difficult times now?
SUZANNE: BE BRAVE. You will survive this. Stay strong, stay true to yourself, and stand up for what you believe. Show kindness, empathy, and acceptance. For me, being a teenager wasn’t fun. I had some great friends, but I also had great insecurities. I was awkward; I was teased; I wasn’t sure of who I was yet, and I was afraid of not growing into the person I wanted to be. I very often felt lost as a teen, which is why I write books for you, my teen readers, now. In hopes of giving you something good, or hopeful, or relatable to cling to. If I’d known as a teen what I know now, that so many adventures and wonderful experiences lay beyond adolescence, it might have helped me get through it. Then again, if someone had told me that, maybe I wouldn’t have believed it. Still…I want to tell you now. Your teen years don’t define the rest of your life. They will mold and shape you, but you will have doors opening for you after they’re over, new relationships to discover, and countless chances to grow and change. Seize every opportunity.
GLITTER: What are you currently working on?
SUZANNE: I’m working on the sixth book in my “foodie romance” series for Scholastic right now. Are you ready for the scrumptious title? Sundae My Prince Will Come. I can’t give away all of the book’s secrets yet, but it’s a girl-meets-boy story sprinkled with ice cream fun and fairytale-style sweetness. I hope it will melt readers’ hearts! Stay tuned to my social media feeds (IG @suzannenelsonbooks, Twitter @snelsonbooks, Facebook @suzannenelsonbooks) for the full scoop on that book and more in the months to come!
Photo credit: Cynthia McIntyre Photography