Sweet Sixteener Erin L. Schneider recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Kelly Loy Gilbert about her YA contemporary debut novel, CONVICTION (May 19, 2015 from Disney-Hyperion).
Kelly Loy Gilbert is the author of CONVICTION (Disney-Hyperion, 2015) and NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY (2016). She serves on the NaNoWriMo Associate Board, is a fan of diverse books, and lives in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared. But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial. Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.
Erin: How did you come up with the idea for your novel? Did you know this was “the one”?
Kelly: Many things that were haunting me all coalesced into the novel–questions I had about family and faith and loyalty, and about the state of the country after a few deeply polarizing high-profile killings; a desire to write about characters in search of redemption. Also, I was interested in the different ways people bury themselves when they can’t face who they believe they’ve become.
Erin: How did you find your agent/editor?
I was a slush pile find–I queried the old-fashioned way.
Erin: What was your revision process like for this book?
Kelly: I did one major rewrite for my agent (I started over completely, and almost nothing stayed the same except the character names) and then one more pretty big one, then one big revision for my editor and one more lighter one. The book has felt, in a lot of ways, like a quest–a long excavation to uncover the very best story these characters can tell.
Erin: What’s next in the works for you as an author?
Kelly: My next standalone is about an Asian American high school student whose parents are undocumented, and who begins to suspect his parents are hiding something much bigger than he ever knew.
Lightning Round Questions:
Favorite writing snack?
Lately I’m obsessed with olive tapenade as a dip for carrots or celery.
Oddest job you ever had?
I used to teach scrapbooking classes (and it was awesome).
Music to write by?
Third Eye Blind, forever.
Do you write longhand or type?
What were you reading when you were sixteen?
THE GREAT GATSBY, THE THINGS THEY CARRIED, and WHAT’S EATING GILBERT GRAPE were books that really stayed with me from high school.
What is a band you loved when you were sixteen that you still listen to?
Third Eye Blind, forever!
About the Interviewer:
Erin L. Schneider is native to the Pacific Northwest, attended college in Honolulu, and although Hawaiian, should never be allowed on a surfboard. After twenty years in corporate merchandising – marketing everything from fashion apparel to technology – she’s now a full-time writer living in Seattle with her husband, Neal, a rowdy German Shepard, two crazy cats, and a baby boy on the way! She’s a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and SCBWI, and is also co-founder of the YA Buccaneers (yabuccaneers.com).
Her debut YA contemporary novel, SUMMER OF SLOANE (May 3, 2016 from Disney-Hyperion), focuses on seventeen-year-old Sloane McIntyre and her discovery around her boyfriend and best friend’s ultimate betrayal just before leaving to spend the summer in Hawaii; while nursing a broken heart, she meets a boy who is equally troubled, but just might be the key to learning how to forgive — and live.