Monday, July 24, 2017

Sweet Summertime Reads with Katy Upperman + GIVEAWAY

It's hard to believe that my summer is winding down. How did it all go by so fast?! In just a few weeks I'll be back in the classroom, preparing for a new school year of teaching. But before that begins, I have one last Sweet Summertime Reads post...

Debut author Katy Upperman is stopping by the blog today to answer some interview questions, as well as to celebrate her novel KISSING MAX HOLDEN, which pubs next week (August 1, 2017)!

I had the honor of reading an ARC of this book way back in January and I knew immediately it was a story I would feature on my blog this summer. It encompasses everything I love in a YA contemporary: from the emotional story about first love, family dynamics, to a strong young heroine navigating life with all its obstacles. Katy Upperman is an author to keep an eye on. Please welcome her to the blog & don't miss out on the giveaway at the bottom to win a signed copy of KISSING MAX HOLDEN (open to US only).

About the book: Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea...

After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn't himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn't know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn't let him kiss her. But she can't resist, and when they're caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it'll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.

With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all? [goodreads]

Author Interview with Katy Upperman

1. Please tell us a bit about your debut novel KISSING MAX HOLDEN.

KISSING MAX HOLDEN is about a baker girl named Jill who, against her better judgment, kisses her troubled childhood friend, Max, setting a whole series of problems in motion. Along with plenty of romantic angst, Jill’s facing a host of other challenges. She’s about to become the world’s most reluctant big sister, her dad’s pulling away from the family, and her dream of culinary school is suddenly up in the air. Plus, she just can’t make herself stay away from Max, even though he’s got a girlfriend.

My goal in writing KISSING MAX HOLDEN was to tell an entertaining and romantic story about longtime friends whose feelings develop into more, but also to explore loyalty and fidelity, and the way families and friendships can either strengthen or weaken under stressful situations.

2. I've followed your publishing career since you announced your book deal. I think it's so inspiring! Please share with us how you came about as a writer.

Thank you! I started writing back in 2008. I’d recently quit my teaching job to be a stay at home mama, and I was desperate for a creative outlet and a project all my own. Plus, I’d just read TWILIGHT, which I found compulsively readable and incredibly entertaining. I’ve always been a reader, so I thought I might try my hand at writing, too. Turns out getting a book published isn’t as easy as I’d assumed. I wrote (and rewrote) a lot of manuscripts before signing with my agent. And then I wrote even more manuscripts, because submissions dragged on, and heartbreaking close call after heartbreaking close call rolled in. It was a frustrating and discouraging time, and I definitely thought about calling it quits.

But then I came across Swoon Reads, Macmillan’s crowd-sourced YA imprint, and thought it might be what I needed to get my foot in the proverbial door. I researched the imprint and the process and the team, and read several of Swoon’s already published books. It became pretty clear that KISSING MAX HOLDEN could fit in among their list. And so, with my agent’s blessing, I submitted my manuscript to the site, where members proceeded to read, rate, and comment on it. (You can learn more about Swoon Reads and the process here.) Eventually, after weeks of bouncing between hopeful and doubtful, the Swoon Team emailed to let me know that they wanted to publish KISSING MAX HOLDEN. After so many years of work and waiting, I was ecstatic!

3. Which authors/books are your go-to Summertime Reads?

Oh, gosh – so many! Miranda Kenneally, Jessi Kirby, Emery Lord, Trish Doller, Jenny Han, Sarah Ockler, Morgan Matson, Siobhan Vivian… Can you tell I love contemporary YA? I especially love to read romances during the summer. Bonus points for beachy settings and/or road trips!

4. What are your plans for release day?

I’m celebrating KISSING MAX HOLDEN’s release with my family. My mom and dad are coming for a visit so, along with my husband and girls, we’re planning to drop in on Jilly and Max at some local bookstores, followed by lunch at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants. I’m a frozen yogurt junkie, so I’m sure we’ll indulge in a treat, too.

I’m also doing some exciting events in the days following the book’s release. On August 5th, I’ll be hosting KISSING MAX HOLDEN’s Launch Party at my favorite local indie, One More Page Books, and then I’m heading out on a five city book tour, with stops in Richmond VA, Charlotte NC, Asheville NC, Atlanta GA, and Greenville SC. My tour buddy Christina June and I are so looking forward to meeting lots of fellow YA lovers!

5. When you started writing KISSING MAX HOLDEN, did your brain begin at the first chapter? Or was there a different scene that came about first & you wrote the story from there?

I always draft linearly because I have a hard time writing the in-between parts if I jump around. So, yes, I started at the beginning with KISSING MAX HOLDEN, though I’ve rewritten the story completely from what it was in its original version. All that earliest draft and the book that will soon be published have in common are a few character names, and the longtime-friends-turned-sweethearts trope. The first time I drafted KISSING MAX HOLDEN, the opening chapter was one that still exists in the finished book (the scene where Max drives Jill to school), but the circumstances and the conversation are entirely different now. I like the opening chapter of what the book eventually became so much more – obviously, because there’s kissing!

6. When you're not writing, what occupies your time?

I spend a lot of time adventuring with my family; since we’re currently living in the D.C. area, there’s plenty to see. I also love to bake (much like Jilly!) and I read whenever I get the chance

7. What are you working on next? Can you share anything with us about your 2018 release?

I can! My 2018 release is called THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US. It’s a young adult romance about Elise, an aspiring photojournalist, and Mati, an Afghan poet. They meet by chance on a California beach and, as their friendship blossoms into more, find themselves struggling to keep their relationship secret from their disapproving families. I think of it as a fairy tale set in the real world, plus it features bits of verse, a really cute dog, and, of course, cookies. It’ll be out next summer. Aside from THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US, I’m also working on a project I’m still holding close – a potential Book 3. :-)


How great does KISSING MAX HOLDEN sound?! Y'all, I LOVED this book & now here's your chance to fall in love with it, too. Please enter the giveaway below to win a signed copy from the author (open to US only).

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. I love baking! My favorite thing to bake is pumpkin pie on Thanksgiving! 😀

  2. I adore baking! My favourite thing to bake is giant custard creams! :D Thank you for the giveaway! <3
    Megan S.

  3. I love baking (and consuming lol) pecan tarts!

  4. I don't bake so much as I make a lot of crepes -- requested a lot by my best friends (whom I love <3)

  5. I LOVE baking. It's a stress relief thing for me. I just baked some brownies on Saturday, but I love baking anything. I guess my love of baking also come from the fact that my dad was a chef & my aunt owns a bakery. I spent every summer working there from age 11-18. :)

  6. I'm the worst baker ever, but I love making brownies. :)

  7. I'm not good at baking, but I do love to eat cheesecake that my husband bakes.


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