Title: The Impossibility of Us
Author: Katy Upperman
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: July 31st 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
The last thing Elise wants is to start her senior year in a new town. But after her brother’s death in Afghanistan, she and her mother move from San Francisco to a sleepy coastal village.
When Elise meets Mati, they quickly discover how much they have in common. Mati is new to town too, visiting the U.S. with his family. Over the course of the summer, their relationship begins to blossom, and what starts out as a friendship becomes so much more.
But as Elise and Mati grow closer, her family becomes more and more uncomfortable with their relationship, and their concerns all center on one fact—Mati is Afghan.
Beautifully written, utterly compelling, and ultimately hopeful, THE IMPOSSIBILITY OF US asks—how brave can you be when your relationship is questioned by everyone you love?
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1. How important are names in your books? Do you choose the names based on liking the way it sounds, or the meaning? Do you have any name choosing resources you recommend?
I put a lot of thought into names, especially those of my main characters. I don’t consider the meaning of names as much as I think about their sound, and whether they’re fitting to the characters’ ages and backgrounds and dispositions. I’ve loved the name Elise for ages; it was on my short list way back when I was pregnant with my daughter. When I was thinking about and researching Mati’s name, I knew I wanted something serious-sounding and distinctly Afghan, a name that would have significance to Mati and his family (Matihullah), but one I could shorten to fit the more lighthearted side of his personality. My very favorite naming resource is The Baby Name Wizard. I have a physical copy of the book (it’s literally falling apart!), but you can find all of its awesomeness online, too. It’s great for finding out in what regions and periods names have been most popular, as well as finding names that share a certain vibe, like “light and lithesome” or “Shakespearean” or “little darlings”.
2. Do you always know how the story will end when you start?
No, and that’s a big problem for me – ha! I often start with characters and situations, then end up having to spend a long time working out a plot with a satisfying conclusion. I’ve found that if I don’t have a solid ending in mind when I start drafting, I’m unable to finish the story. Often my endings change during drafting, though; without getting too spoilery, The Impossibility of Us’s ending was originally the opposite of what it is now. Honestly, I’m so glad I took the extra time to reconsider what I’d planned initially so that I could ultimately write a conclusion that will (hopefully!) be most fulfilling for readers.
3. Where is your ideal place to write? Do you have an office, or do you like to go sit in a coffee shop/library, etc.?
I do have an office at home which I use fairly often, and I end up in coffee shops from time to time, but more often than not, I write on the couch in our family room with my kitties. For me, location doesn’t matter as much as atmosphere. I like a really quiet space, or one with a din that becomes white noise. I also like to light candles and have plenty of coffee available. I do best when my phone isn’t nearby, and when I lack wi-fi. ;-)
4. Do you edit as you go, or wait till you're finished before you edit? How many times would you say you go over it yourself before having another set of eyes look it over?
I definitely edit as I go. For me, the best way to start a writing session is to read over what I worked on the day before. That’s when I go about making tweaks to improve story and character. If at some point during the drafting process I discover that I’ve made a wrong turn, I pause to go back and fix it before carrying on. It’s too hard for me to move forward knowing that I’ve made a misstep previously.
I much prefer revising and editing to drafting, and I end up making many passes through the manuscript before anyone else reads it. Probably eight or ten, as it’s very important to me to make the manuscript as strong as possible before seeking outside help. And then, of course, I go over the story many more times after I get feedback from my critique partners, agent, and editor.
5. Are you part of a writers group that gets together and helps each other with their writing?
You know that saying about how it takes a village? Yes, that! I feel really lucky to belong to an amazing community of writers who not only help me with craft, but also help me to stay mentally happy and healthy when it comes to all the things that go along with writing and publishing. Most of my writing friends live far away; we get together via Facebook groups or Skype or Twitter or text, and trade work through email. I also have a few local friends who are kind enough to meet up with me for writing dates, or to chat about our WiPs and the industry. Honestly, I think I would have given up on writing years ago if not for the endless encouragement of my writing community.
6. What are your favorite romantic movies, books, tv shows? Do you have an all time favorite romantic couple?
I have so many! My favorite romantic movies are Dirty Dancing, The Princess Bride, Walk the Line, Love & Basketball, Moulin Rouge, The Notebook, and, most recently, Love, Simon. My favorite TV shows with lots of romance are Dawson’s Creek, Friday Night Lights, and Sex and the City (that’s romance, right?!). As far as novels, oh gosh… there are dozens. How to Love, Alex, Approximately, My Life Next Door, The Last Thing You Said, In Honor, The Sky is Everywhere, The Hating Game, The Game Can’t Love You Back, The Scorpio Races, Love Songs & Other Lies, The Love That Split the World, The Winner’s Trilogy, Jellicoe Road, Jesse’s Girl, Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour, Emmy & Oliver, The Kiss Quotient, and Chasing Brooklyn. If I have to choose an all-time favorite romantic couple… probably Westley and Buttercup. Or Joey and Pacey.