I totally spaced out this past week, plus I was at BEA! So I kind of forgot that I had a tour stop this month for the anthology, Summer Days and Summer Nights, edited by Stephanie Perkins. Fortunately I can do my post now which is what I’m doing.
I’ll be sharing some questions and answers asked of Stephanie Perkins.
Summer Days and Summer Nights (edited by Stephanie Perkisn)
Published By: St. Martin’s Griffin on May 17th
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fantasy
Themes: Love, Hope
Maybe it’s the long, lazy days, or maybe it’s the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.
For these questions, people on the blog tour were able to send in various questions which were then combined with others if they were similar. We get to pick which questions to show on our blog. Questions from the other tour stops may be repeated.
- This is the second anthology you’ve edited. What was the inspiration? What did you give your contributing authors in the way of guidance or prompting as they began their stories?
The inspiration for the second anthology was . . . the first anthology. Working with my friends was such a joy, and I relished the opportunity to work with eleven new authors. All of them had so much to teach me both as an author and an editor. I’m always looking for opportunities to become better at my craft. Pulling apart these stories, inspecting their seams, digging in deeper—it’s a brilliant way to learn new tricks. And I’m a good editor, so I think/hope that my work was helpful for them, too.
I gave the authors only three guidelines: Their story had to take place during the summer, romantic love had to be involved, and—no matter how dark the situation got—it had to end on a note of hope.
- What was it like working at this project compared to the first one, My True Love Gave To Me? Is it easier to do the editing and collaborations with other authors now that you have experience from the first one?
This one was significantly harder. The first anthology felt like a fluke—something with my friends, just for fun! A lot more planning went into this one. I’d already been a critique partner to several of the authors in the holiday anthology, so they were used to working with me. I’d already earned their trust.
With the summer anthology, I reached out to a lot of authors whose work I admired, but I didn’t personally know them as well. Relationships had to be established. That takes time. But the work was great fun, and I loved getting to know them, and it was a tremendous honor for these incredibly talented authors to have trusted me with their work. I’m so, so grateful.
- Why did you decide to bring these particular authors together for this anthology?
I reached out to authors who are writing stories that I love. All of them have strong voices and—whether or not they primarily write romance—a kind and romantic heart.
The crazy and fantastic thing is that there are literally dozens of other YA authors who also fit this description. There are so many talented, inspiring writers in this industry! I had to make some tough decisions, and a lot of it just came down to keeping a balance between the genres..
- Your contribution to this collection is a new story featuring Marigold and North (previously seen in My True Love Gave to Me). What was it like revisiting these characters? Did you always know that there would be more to their story? Will there be more in the future?
I’m not sure if I always knew a continuation of their story was worth telling, but I did know where their future was headed. In the early days, I was working under the assumption that I wouldn’t HAVE another chance write about them, so I was trying not to think about it too much. If that makes sense.
But . . . I have a hard time letting go of characters. I always have. So when the summer anthology came to fruition, I knew immediately that I would continue their story. Now, I’m happy with how I’ve left them. In the first story, North helped to heal Marigold. This time, she helped to heal him. They’re good.
- How does editing a short story collection compare to writing a full-length novel? Did your process as an author influence your process as an editor?
It’s easier. A lot easier. I only had to come up with original content for 1/12th of the 400 pages! My writing process is slow and generally agonizing, so . . . yeah. It’s just not even close.
But it’s a huge part of the reason why I love to edit. I’m a slow drafter, and I prefer the tinkering, shimmering stages of editing and revising. It’s where a good story becomes great. My nitpicky brain loves working on that level—finding a better word, a tighter theme, a more developed character, a more textured setting. And I absolutely love helping other authors to find their own deeper, truer stories.
I think most authors become a better editor as they become a better writer. I’m the opposite. I started off with stronger editorial skills, and, as they improve, they’re helping me to become a better writer.
But, being an author, I will say that when I’m wearing my editorial hat, I heap a LOT of praise onto the other authors. I leave tons of notes for them in the margins and mark every single passage or phrase that I love. Writing is difficult work, and I always appreciate it when my own editors take the time to mark their favorite bits. Praise also shows me how to revise my work! It teaches me which parts are the good parts! And that’s revising in a nutshell: adding more good parts, removing the bad parts.
- What are your thoughts on summer romances?
Naturally juicy! When you’re a teenager, they’re often fleeting and filled with drama. So much can happen over a single summer. You can reinvent yourself. There’s magic in that.
- What are your favorite summer love stories?
Several of the authors in my two anthologies have written swoony summer romances. A few that immediately spring to mind: I’m pretty sure all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books take place over summer (The Geography of You and Me is a favorite), as well as Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments and Everything Leads to You, and Jenny Han’s Summer series, starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty.
- If you had to pair Summer Days and Summer Nights with a summer-y drink, what would it be?
Watermelon juice. It’s so simple—it’s just watermelon that’s been put into a blender, but it’s heaven.
- If readers could take away one thing from having read Summer Days And Summer Nights what would you hope it would be?
It always sounds corny, but . . . hope is the hope. No matter what’s going on in your life right now—and as teenagers, so much of your life is out of your own control—it will get better. You’ll get more control, you’ll get to make more choices. Make good choices. Learn from your mistakes. I promise—with every single fiber of my heart—that life gets better. There is always hope.
I loved a lot of Stephanie’s answers for these questions. Creating an anthology sounds like a lot of fun but a lot of hard work as well. I love the idea though! I can’t wait to read this. I am going to definitely have to try Watermelon juice because it sounds super simple and interesting.
Hmm, I think all of Jennifer’s books do take place in summer! My favorite (and the only one I’ve read) is The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight. ❤ I need to seriously read The Geography of You and Me as well as the rest. The other summer time books are also on my list of TBR.
Have you read My True Love Gave To Me? Are you planning on reading this? Have you read many anthologies?
For more information about Stephanie (from her website) :
Hi, there! I’m Stephanie Perkins, and I’m a New York Times and international bestselling author of books for teenagers and for adults with teenage hearts. I was born in South Carolina, raised in Arizona, and I attended universities in California and Georgia. Since 2004, I’ve lived in the mountains of Asheville, North Carolina.
I’ve always worked with books—first as a bookseller, then as a librarian, now as a novelist and editor. My best friend is my husband Jarrod. Every room of our house is painted a different color of the rainbow, and we share it with a feisty cat named Mr. Tumnus.
For more information, please check out my FAQ.