by Emily Martin
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: January 26th 2016
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Realistic Fiction
Rate: 4.5 out of 5 Stars
In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.
Hi Emily, I am so excited to have you on the blog. I loved The Year We Fell Apart.
Can you tell us what inspired this heartfelt Contemporary YA?
The Year We Fell Apart was inspired first by these two characters in my head. The first scene I wrote was what turned out to be the climax, and I had to know how two people who cared so much for each other could end up in such a messy, painful place. As the story developed, it was really inspired by the social pressure we all face in high school–whether it’s to fit in with your friends, or to fit with the picture someone else has of you. Harper deals with some tough issues like slut-shaming and underage drinking, which were important for me to explore, as these issues are present in the lives of so many teen girls.
What was the hardest scene to write, and the scene that gave you the most joy when writing?
The hardest scenes were toward the end, when Harper is finally facing some of the consequences of her actions head on. My instinct was always to protect Harper, so it was difficult to let go and allow her to make her own mistakes, and to watch her get hurt. But the scenes that I had a lot of fun with are any between Harper and Declan, where I got to explore their dynamic and the long history between them. In particular, a scene where they climb on top of a water tower in Chapter 6 was one of my favorites to write.
The Year We Fell Apart is your debut novel. What can we expect next from you next? Will you write in the same genre or venture into a new one?
My current project is another contemporary YA, this time set in my home state of Michigan. It focuses on complicated family dynamics, and the question of whether family trauma can be inherited, from the point of view of a young girl just starting to navigate relationships and boys.
I adored this book as I said. I thought some of the friends were amazing, and I loved how perfectly flawed Harper was. Do you plan on writing another book on any of these characters from this story?
Right now, I don’t have any plans to write another book featuring any of the characters from The Year We Fell Apart. For me, one of the most exciting parts of drafting is getting to know a whole new cast of characters, and exploring a fresh setting. But I do have a soft spot for Cory and Mackenzie, so never say never. 🙂
What do you want people to take away from this book when they have finished it? (I can say I took away so much)
I’m so happy to hear that! Harper makes a lot of questionable choices throughout the story, and has a very hard time seeing past her own mistakes (which sometimes leads her to repeat them). She is a deeply flawed character, but it is the labeling and pressures from others that truly make her feel trapped on her current path. So what I hoped she would eventually learn, and what I hope readers will take away from this story, is that your mistakes don’t have to define you. There is always room to grow.
Thank you so much for stopping by and doing this interview!
Thank you for having me!