Sunday, June 30, 2013

My Conversation with YA Author Sydney Salter


Today I am honored to welcome my friend, Sydney Salter, author of YA novels, My Big Nose and Other Natural Disasters and Swoon at Your Own Risk to talk about summer romances and reading, not necessarily in that order.

Debby: Both My Big Nose and Swoon take place during the summer—and both main characters have summer jobs that allow you to really work your comedic skills. Did you plot these books with summer settings from the beginning or did they evolve?

Sydney: Summer always meant freedom for me as a teen. No homework. More time with friends. Lounging in the sun with a trashy novel. And the possibility for romance… possibly inspired by those, um, novels.

I figure that hasn’t changed much over the years.

Debby: I think all of us love the idea of summer romances, real or imagined. Now, of course, I have to ask about summer romances. What do you think makes them ideal for YA novels?

Sydney: Because everyone wants one!

Debby: So true. Any favorite summer romance stories you want to share?

Sydney: I wish. The closest I ever came to a great summer romance were the couple of days I spent sweeping around my house imagining that I possessed Scarlett O’Hara’s charm while reading Gone With The Wind.

Not that I didn’t try for the real thing. I spent far more time than I should admit showing up, oh, at the end of summer football practice wearing a cute little outfit, driving through certain neighborhoods at the “right” time and shopping and eating where certain people worked.

Romance seems to be one of those areas in which trying hard doesn’t work, however.

Debby: I remember lots of days spent driving around certain neighborhoods with my best friend the summer between junior and senior year. I thought we were the only ones who did that!
I was wondering if you ever worked as a lifeguard when you were a teenager? What summer jobs did you have?

Sydney: I’ve never been a lifeguard, but it always seemed like the dream job to have as a teen—working on your tan with cute lifeguards AND getting paid.

I put my actual summer job into My Big Nose, maybe to reset my karma or something? All the things that go wrong for Jory went wrong for me. Except it only took me four days to wreak that kind of havoc on my employer! One of my favorite author moments was meeting my old boss again and handing her a copy of the book. We had a really good laugh about my status as worst employee ever. That’s one of the best things about writing. I can turn my worst, most embarrassing moments into something funny.

Debby: I’m sorry that was your embarrassing moment! But I have to say it did work really well in the book—I laughed so hard I cried. As we head into the first weeks of summer break, what is your favorite thing about summer?

Sydney: Warm weather! I also love the quiet mornings while my teenagers sleep late. I still feel like the summer is full of possibilities. Learning new things. Going new places. Slowing down. Hanging out with favorite people. Reading good books!

Oh, and I still like wearing cute outfits, but I no longer stalk boys. Everyone can be grateful for that!

Debby: Your books are perfect summer reading—so I am re-reading both on the beach. What are you reading now?

Sydney: Oh, I would love to read on the beach. Sigh. I’m reading The Temple of the Golden Pavilion by Yukio Mishima. It’s a classic Japanese novel, gorgeously written, but without a smidgen of romance. Seventeen-year-old me is shaking her head with disgust, I’m sure!

Debby: Sydney, I’ll send you a good romance to read when you are finished. Thanks so much for being here today! I hope you have a wonderful summer filled with lots of cute outfits and reading good books.

Sydney: You too. I’m still jealous that you get to read at the beach!

For more information about Sydney and to read her blog, visit

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