Friday, June 5, 2015

Interview with Gina Ciocca!

Raise your hand if you're excited for Last Year's Mistake's release on Tuesday!

I'm so incredibly excited for this book! It sounds like a book that I devour in one sitting because I can't pull myself away from it. The friendship, romance, before/after aspect, summery feel, and (as I learned from this interview) a kiss in the rain--it all makes me look forward to getting my hands on a copy of this one!

Title: Last Year's Mistake
Author: Gina Ciocca
Release Date: June 9th, 2015
Publisher: Simon Pulse
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Kelsey and David became best friends the summer before freshman year and were inseparable ever after. Until the night a misunderstanding turned Kelsey into the school joke, and everything around her crumbled—including her friendship with David. So when Kelsey's parents decided to move away, she couldn't wait to start over and leave the past behind. Except, David wasn't ready to let her go...

Now it's senior year and Kelsey has a new group of friends, genuine popularity, and a hot boyfriend. Her life is perfect. That is, until David's family moves to town and he shakes up everything. Soon old feelings bubble to the surface and threaten to destroy Kelsey's second chance at happiness. The more time she spends with David, the more she realizes she never truly let him go. And maybe she never wants to.

Told in alternating sections, LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE is a charming and romantic debut about loving, leaving, and letting go.

Hi Gina! Welcome to Reading is My Treasure.☺

Thank you so much for having me, Kaitlin! I'm happy to be here.

First, what is your favorite quote from Last Year's Mistake (that's not spoilery, of course)?

Ooh, can I do two? It's so hard to pick! I really love the opening lines: "The first day of senior year, he came back. I should've known it wasn't over. Nothing ever is." My agent and I came up with that together, right before the book went out on sub. It survived many rounds of edits, and I think it sets the stage for the whole theme of the story.

Another one of my favorites is the moment when Kelsey realizes her feelings for David might be starting to change. This about sums it up: (image attached)


I love your book's cover! Does the car have any significance?

I love it too! There are actually two pivotal scenes that involve Kelsey and David and the hood of a car, and the cover is sort of a mash-up of both of them.  But that particular car was totally the brainchild of the designers at Simon Pulse. It's summery and sexy, which fits the book perfectly.

(I'll keep my eye out for those scenes, then.)

Tell me five things readers can expect from your book that isn't in its description. (This can be anything from hints to fun scenes to an inside joke some characters have.)

- The town where Kelsey lives in Connecticut is not a real town, but it's very much based on the town where I went to high school, and I even used some of the real street names.

- Ryan and David are both on the baseball team, so there's an extra layer of competition between them aside from each having a piece of Kelsey's heart.

- There's more to the story than romance: Kelsey learns a lot about what it means to be herself, and how to be okay with it.

- There's a kiss in the rain

- Taffy and chocolate chip cookies are both important plot devices, and I plan to have both at my launch parties :)

(A kiss in the rain? I feel like I should listen to "Sparks Fly" by Taylor Swift when I read that. And ooh! I love taffy!)

Besides Kelsey and David, who are some of the significant characters? What are their personalities like?

Miranda, Kelsey's sister, is a small but important character. They bicker and get on each other's nerves, but in the end, they always have each other's backs, and I love that type of sister dynamic. Kelsey's best friend, Candy, is another one of my favorites. She's outgoing, outspoken, and has plenty of self-confidence. Kelsey went through some tough stuff, and Candy helped bring her out of her shell when she needed it.

What is Kelsey's biggest flaw? How about David's? How do they react to each other's flaws?

Kelsey and David definitely both have their flaws, and this was a hundred percent intentional, because I wanted them to feel real. Kelsey is introverted and it doesn't take much to make her feel inferior, so she keeps people at arms' length and makes snap judgments as means of self-protection. David is a much more outgoing personality, but doesn't let many people see what's under the surface. He also tends to miss kind of important opportunities to say how he's feeling. The differences in their personalities complement each other, and it's a big part of why they become friends in the first place.

(They sound like great characters.☺)

Are there any songs that you think go well with your book or certain scenes inside it?

Absolutely. I often call this "the book that Back to December Wrote," because the song by Taylor Swift could easily be LYM's theme. I'd already written most of the story when I heard the song, so the similarities are a coincidence, but it really hits the emotional nail on the head. Paradise by Coldplay is another, because there's a point where Kelsey becomes very disillusioned with her life. And Come Back to Me by David Cook, if we look at the story from David's perspective.

(Oh my god, I need this book.)

Lastly, what contemporaries besides your own do you highly recommend reading?

I recently read and loved Becky Albertalli's SIMON VS THE HOMO SAPIENS AGENDA - such a great story. And I'd recommend anything by Cynthia Hand, because I love her books and her writing style, and the same goes for Gayle Foreman. 

(I really liked Simon! It's a lot of fun.)

Thanks for answering my questions, Gina!

Author of LAST YEAR'S MISTAKE (Simon Pulse, 2015) Respecter of the Fluff. Lover of love. I am represented by John M. Cusick at Greenhouse Literary.

Gina offered to give away signed bookmarks and saltwater taffy to a couple people (2) in the US! This giveaway will end on June 14th @ midnight PST. Please no entering with giveaway Twitter/other social media accounts and please be familiar with my giveaway policy before entering.

Good luck!
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