At First Blush
It's time to kick off summer with debut author... Beth Ellyn Summer!
1- Did #TeamCoco ever say something funny to you, and would you share it with us please?
Conan was always funny and kind in every interaction I had with him. His mind is constantly going and spinning and thinking.
A few conversations that come to mind: after my first couple of weeks there, it was Valentine's Day and I was wearing a shirt covered in hearts (it was actually purely coincidence). He came up to me at rehearsal and asked if I ever wear the shirt when it's *not* Valentine's Day, and said it must be nice to have clothes in my closet that match every national holiday.
Another time, repairs were being done on some of the east elevator banks. After taping, some interns were hanging in reception and there was this awful burning smell. When Conan and his producers came off the elevator, he asked me what the smell was and I shrugged and said "elevator repairs" and he said "That. OR we're all having the exact same stroke."
One night we took our intern photos and we did it in groups of four, and me and my three girlfriends were checking back our photos and he said "Give this to TMZ. CONAN'S WILD WEEKEND." And he used to tease us a lot about being young and tech obsessed. He'd make a nerdy voice and talk about us always tapping on our newfangled iPhones with all of our apps.
2- What five words represent your most notable characteristics or values? #In5Words
Persistence, routine, cardio, weights, yoga
3- Can you share a story from your life that shows who you are as a person and why you are a writer?
So when I was maybe four or five I remember my mom and I going to pick up my brother from school. On the road outside the school I saw something weird in the street. My mom told me it was a newspaper but as we made the turn I could see it was clearly a run-over seagull. I LOST IT. I'd never seen a dead animal before. I love animals. I cried for days. No one could console me. My mom drove me to parking lots to see soaring, swooping, happy seagulls eating from dumpsters. Even my grandpa got on the phone with me to try to get me to understand the bird was fine and in heaven. Then my brother surprised me with a stuffed Scuttle plush (the seagull from the Little Mermaid). That made me so happy (I still have it!).
Not sure if that tells you why I'm a writer (though I do love writing about animals in my current WIP) but it probably tells you how ridiculously overly sensitive I am and how much I adore animals. 💕 animals mean the world to me, and it's my dream to start a special charity foundation for shelters someday.
4- What ignited your passion for writing?
Reading!! All the Babysitters Club and Sweet Valleys and Nancy Drews. :)
5- Would you share a picture with us of the must-have summer lip products?
The Bare Escentuals Buxom lip glosses are life! Mudslide is my favorite color.
6- What are you reading this summer?
Currently reading an ARC of Romancing the Throne by Nadine Jolie Courtney. It's such a fun beach read! I also plan on reading Emery Lord's, Jenny Han's, and Sarah Dessen's latest books.
7- What are some of your short and long term writing goals?
I usually set word count goals (1K a day) when drafting, or if I'm revising, I tell myself that by each week's end, I'll have revised x number of chapters.
For long term, that's usually where I'll pick a month I plan to get a MS to my agent. But I also try not to make myself crazy with setting goals only because it's easy to beat myself up if I miss a self-imposed deadline.
8- Who is currently your biggest fan? What does that person love most (or "ship") about your debut novel?
My parents and brother haha. They've read multiple versions of AT FIRST BLUSH along the road to publication. I think they love seeing all the internship stuff, since they heard so many of the stories when I was interning. They recognized a lot of that stuff.
9- What emotions do you hope your book will evoke for the reader, and is there a particular scene you hope will resonate with readers?
I want people to feel happy when they read my book. The world sucks sometimes, and I like escapes. I live for funny TV and happy books. I hope that AT FIRST BLUSH inspires people to think outside the box.
One of my favorite scenes (and one I hope resonates with readers) is where Lacey is helping with Tyler's photo shoot. Not just because of the flirtatious aspect (which I do love) but because it's the first time Lacey realizes that this internship isn't everything she dreamed it would be, and she finds herself craving the quiet of the makeup room. I want readers to know that it's ok for a dream to change!! And sometimes going through that realization and being open can lead you to a talent or dream you never knew you had.
I couldn't agree more! Dreams do change over time, and it's really important to realize that, especially when you're young.
10- What most helped you to improve your writing craft?
Writing! Practice makes, if not perfect, polished work. There are no shortcuts. And reading a ton.
11- Could you please share a pic of Penny Belle with a copy of your book?
Asking me to share a photo of my Penny Belle=
we are now officially best friends
12- What is the most memorable trait or visual oddity of one of your characters?
Lacey always swatches eyeshadows on the back of her hand, especially when nervous or contemplative. So she always has rainbow streaks of color on her hand.
13- #DiversityBingo2017 What's your favorite book that covers a square on the card?
POC on cover: When Dimple Met Rishi. Practicing Jewish MC: Josh from Stephanie Perkins' Isla and the Happily Ever After.
14- As a reader, what most motivates you to buy a new book to read?
Pretty much the idea I'll enter a new world. That's all I really need to know before I pick up a new book.
15- Which character has your favorite Personality Contradiction?
Cynthia!! I love her. She's chaotic and frenetic and dramatic but when she's interning in the most chaotic setting, she finds her zen and chills right out.
16- How will you measure your publishing performance?
I think just seeing the book out in the world and knowing it's resonating with readers tells me I've succeeded.
Having people take the time to review or tweet me telling me they enjoyed it is everything
17- What was the deciding factor in your publication route?
I chose traditional based solely on the fact that I NEED people around me to help me out! I love having a partnership with my agent, and knowing I have the support of such a wonderful house such as Bloomsbury makes it all that much better.
18- Any favorite summertime tip you can share?
Summer is my favorite season so I have lots! But the biggest thing I will say is find the highest SPF you can get your hands on! (I use 70+) reapply often, and wear a big, floppy hat. Protect your skin, people!! Also don't forget to put SPF balm on your lips. And of course enjoy every second outside, because summer goes WAY too fast.
19- What is one question which you would like the readers of this interview to answer or remark on in the comments?
I'd be interested to know what everyone is currently reading this summer
20- Anything else you would care to share about your book and yourself?
Bio:Beth Ellyn Summer writes contemporary young adult fiction that always includes the following elements: fame, makeup, and television. She graduated from Long Island University with a degree in print and electronic journalism, but the real highlight of her college years was interning for Conan O’Brien and Jimmy Fallon.
At First Blush