Sweet Sixteener Sonya Mukherjee recently spoke to Fearless Fifteener Natasha Sinel about her debut contemporary YA novel, THE FIX (September 1, 2015 from Sky Pony Press).
About the Author:
Natasha Sinel grew up in Washington, D.C., received a B.A. in English from Yale University and an M.B.A. from the University of Michigan. After five years at Showtime Networks where she was Director of Marketing and Business Development, she left to begin her career writing young adult fiction. She lives in Northern Westchester, NY with her husband, three young sons and some fresh-water fish. She would like to have a dog and a cat, but she knows her limits, and can’t take care of another living thing. For now.
About THE FIX:
One conversation is all it takes to break a world wide open.
Seventeen-year-old Macy Lyons has been through something no one should ever have to experience. And she’s dealt with it entirely alone.
On the outside, she’s got it pretty good. Her family’s well-off, she’s dating the cute boy next door, she has plenty of friends, and although she long ago wrote her mother off as a superficial gym rat, she’s thankful to have allies in her loving, laid-back dad and her younger brother.
But a conversation with a boy at a party one night shakes Macy out of the carefully maintained complacency that has defined her life so far. The boy is Sebastian Ruiz, a recovering addict who recognizes that Macy is hardened by dark secrets. And as Macy falls for Sebastian, she realizes that, while revealing her secret could ruin her seemingly perfect family, keeping silent might just destroy her.
The Fix follows two good-hearted teenagers coming to terms with the cards they were dealt. It’s also about the fixes we rely on to cope with our most shameful secrets and the hope and fear that comes with meeting someone who challenges us to come clean.
Sonya: Are there any particular authors who you view as big influences or inspirations for your own writing?
Natasha: In addition to Judy Blume, whose books made me want to become a writer in the first place, I can think of two authors who inspired a-ha moments for me. One was Ann Brashares—THE SISTERHOOD OF THE TRAVELING PANTS was one of the first books classified as young adult that I could remember reading since Judy Blume’s FOREVER. At the time I was writing about a sixteen-year-old, but TRAVELING PANTS made me realize that the manuscript I was working on was actually YA.
The other author who has inspired me is Sara Zarr. I’d been on a kick of reading the YA National Book Award winners and honor books, and that’s how I found STORY OF A GIRL, which left its mark on me. It made me open my eyes and realize that I wanted to go deeper into my writing, my characters, my story, but that I’d been afraid. Because of Sara Zarr, I found a bit of courage to do it.
Sonya: How did you find your agent/editor?
Natasha: I met my agent, Linda Epstein, at the 2013 Writing Yoga Retreat that she and her friend Stephanie Lipsey organized. We got along so well, and she liked my writing, and the rest is history. (Actually, it’s a MUCH longer story than that, but I’ll save that for an ups-and-downs of publishing blog post.)
Lightning Round Questions
Favorite book when you were sixteen?
There wasn’t the YA category like there is today, so I was reading adult books. Despite my lean toward contemporary fiction, I think my favorite extracurricular book at the time was A HANDMAID’S TALE by Margaret Atwood.
E-books or printed books?
Both, but mostly printed.
Favorite place to write?
My office or on my deck if the temperature is less than eighty degrees—I don’t like to sweat while I write.
Favorite distractions when you need a break?
Twitter, blogs, YA books, chocolate.
For the first half, I’d people-watch in beautiful European cities. The second half I’d spend lounging on the beach with a book.
Favorite class in high school
About the Interviewer:
Sonya Mukherjee grew up in rural California sitting in trees, reading books, and writing stories in her head. She studied English and creative writing at Stanford and San Francisco State University, and went on to work as an editor for a variety of book publishers, magazines, and websites, from The Future of Children to Dirt Rider. Now she lives with her family in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she spends her time sitting in coffee shops, reading books, and writing stories on her laptop.
Her debut YA contemporary novel, GEMINI (coming 2016 from Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers) is about 17-year-old conjoined twins at a crossroads. Clara wants to stay close to home, avoid attention, and study the night sky. Her sister Hailey wants to travel the world, learn from great artists, and dance with mysterious boys. As high school graduation approaches, each twin must untangle her dreams from her sister’s and figure out what it means to be herself.