Today I am so so excited to be hosting Kerry Kletter, author of one of my most anticipated debuts of 2016 – THE FIRST TIME SHE DROWNED, as well as her MC Cassie for an interview. I cannot wait to read her book, and this interview just made me even more excited for its publication date: March 15! Read the interview, learn more about the book and Kerry, and then add it to your Goodreads TBR/pre-order it!
ABOUT THE BOOK
Publisher: Philomel Books // March 15, 2016
The beautiful struggle of a girl desperate for the one relationship that has caused her the most pain
Cassie O’Malley has spent the past two and a half years in a mental institution—dumped there by her mother, against her will. Now, at 18, Cassie emancipates herself, determined to start over. She attends college, forms new friendships, and even attempts to start fresh with her mother. But before long, their unhealthy relationship threatens to pull Cassie under once again. As Cassie struggles to reclaim her life, childhood memories persist and confuse, and Cassie must consider whose version of history is real, and more important, whose life she must save.
A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.
Describe yourself in 6 words.
Cassie: Barbed wire & broken glass & love-seeking eyes
Kerry: loyal, cheerful, emotional, empathetic, determined, worrier
Describe where you live in 6 words.
Cassie: Trapped inside walls in every way
Kerry: In my bed writing, mostly. J
What is your greatest fear?
Cassie: That I am unlovable
Kerry: Losing someone I love
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Cassie: Salem witches
Kerry: You know, I think I feel entirely too ordinary to identify with any specifically! But more generally, the women I resonate most with in history were the rule-breakers. I’ve never been terribly good at following rules— particularly ones I find unfair, unjust or unnecessary.
What’s your favorite thing about yourself?
Cassie: I stand up for myself and my friends
What is your motto?
Cassie: The truth shall set you free
Kerry: Leap and the net will appear.
Name 3 of your favorite songs.
1) Someone Save My Life Tonight – Elton John
2) Freebird – Lynard Skynard
3) Try – Colbie Caillat
Hmm, how to choose?
1) In the Garden – Van Morrison
2) My Sweet Carolina – Ryan Adams
3) Jersey Girl – Bruce Springsteen (shout out to my roots!)
Who are your favorite writers?
Cassie: JD Salinger
Kerry: Well Cassie doesn’t read much but I do!
In adult literary fiction I love: Elizabeth Strout, Donna Tartt, Jo Ann Beard, Tobias Wolff, Mary Karr, Jennifer Egan, Jumpha Lahiri, Dave Eggers, Pat Conroy, Nicole Krauss, Emily St John Mandel etc.
In YA I love: Jennifer Niven, David Arnold, Nicola Yoon, Charlotte Huang, Sabaa Tahir, Stacey Lee, Becky Albertalli, Adam Silvera, Stephanie Kuehn, Lance Rubin, Moriah Mcstay, Laurie Halse Anderson, Marcus Zusak and Ruta Sepetys. That’s off the top of my head so I’m sure I will kick myself as soon as I hit send because I’ve forgotten ten people.
I’ve also been lucky enough to read some 2016 debuts as well that I’m so excited to talk about more during the year but for brevity’s sake I will say here that my number one new author obsession is Jeff Zentner whose The Serpent King (March 2016) is one of the most perfect books I’ve ever read.
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
Cassie: to feel different inside, to feel worthy of love.
Kerry: I’m not a big fan of anxiety so I’d probably nix that tendency in myself. Or maybe impatience.
Describe your book in 6 words:
Language, loss, hopefulness, courage, complexity, friendship
Kerry Kletter has had a lifelong passion for story. She holds a degree in literature and has an extensive background in theater, having appeared in film, television, and onstage. When not writing, Kerry can be found surfing, running, working with animals, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic. A native of Ridgewood, New Jersey, Kerry now lives in Santa Monica, California, with her partner, screenwriter David Zorn. The First Time She Drowned is her debut novel.
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