I'm so thrilled to be featuring Leah Konen, author of THE LAST TIME WE WERE US, for the 2016 YA Contemporary Scavenger Hunt hosted by The Book Belles! (follow the link for all the details!) Don't miss the giveaway at the bottom of the page!
1) What made you decide to write YA?
To be honest, I fell into it. When I was a senior in college, I signed up for a YA novel-writing class, mostly because this particular writing class didn’t require me to get up at seven a.m.—I found that I adored writing from a teen perspective. I really connected with the teen voice and loved how in high school even the smallest moments can carry such great weight. Not to mention how fun the romances are! I’ve been on the YA train ever since.
2) Has your writing process changed from your first book to this one?
Absolutely. I’ve gone from a writer who meandered through draft after draft to figure out the plot, to someone who lives for outlining, using beat sheets, and even tacking scenes up on my bulletin board. Writing is perhaps the one area of my life where I’m at least somewhat organized. Another big change—I now work with the best coworker of all time by my side: my adorable dog, Farley.
3) What is your favorite scene from The Last Time We Were Us?
When Liz and Jason first kiss. That may have something to do with the fact that I’ve been a huge fan of paint-streaked kisses ever since seeing the amazing Heath Ledger/Julia Stiles scene in 10 Things I Hate About You.
4) If you could meet any author (dead or alive), who would it be?
Jane Austen, without a doubt. I’d want to sit in her drawing room, drink tea, and listen to any gossip she’s collected about her day-to-day life. I’d also all but beg for an invite to one of the neighborhood balls.
5) Are you currently working on any new projects?
Yes! I can’t share firm details about my new project just yet, but let’s just say there’s a lot of romance and family drama, and I’m in love with the main character, who is far from perfect. I’m also wrapping up a fun YA rom-com called THE ROMANTICS, written under the name Leah Rowan—it’s coming out from Abrams in Fall 2016.
6) What’s your favorite book that you’ve read recently?
BIG LITTLE LIES by Liane Moriarty. In all her novels, she’s able to seamlessly interweave the lives of women in completely different situations. And her books keep getting better and better! She’s an absolute inspiration in the way she continually challenges herself to tackle difficult issues and create complex, nuanced characters.
THE LAST TIME WE WERE US
A passionate summer love story about a girl, her childhood best friend recently released from juvie, and the small-town lies that have kept them apart. A teen romance debut with a dark edge.
Liz Grant is about to have the summer of her life. She and her friend MacKenzie are getting invited to all the best parties, and with any luck, Innis Taylor, the most gorgeous guy in Bonneville, will be her boyfriend before the Fourth of July.
Local teen convict released early.
Jason Sullivan wasn’t supposed to come back from juvie. A million years ago, he was her best friend, but that was before he ditched her for a different crowd. Before he attacked Innis’s older brother, leaving Skip’s face burned and their town in shock.
“Everything is not what you think.”
Liz always found it hard to believe what they said about Jason, but all of Bonneville thinks he’s dangerous. If word gets out she’s seeing him, she could lose everything. But what if there’s more to that horrible night than she knows? And how many more people will get hurt when the truth finally comes out?
“You’re the one person who believes in me.”
Leah Konen’s southern romance swelters with passion as it explores the devastating crush of lies, the delicate balance of power and perception, and one girl’s journey to find herself while uncovering the secrets of so many others.
Leah Konen grew up in a two-stoplight farming town in Washington State before moving to suburban North Carolina, where there were many more stoplights and lots of sweet tea. After studying journalism at the University of North Carolina, she headed to New York City to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. When she’s not working on novels and articles or writing for fashion brands, she enjoys devouring new books, spoiling her dog, Farley, biking around Brooklyn, checking out live music, and binge-watching TV. Find her online at www.leahkonen.com.
Code word: when
Next Stop: To continue on with the scavenger hunt, head over to Anna Michels!