When I got the invite to be part of the blog tour for Not Now, Not Ever by Lily Anderson, I couldn’t type back a response fast enough. I knew I would love Lily’s words when I read the synopsis for her first book, The Only Thing Worse than Me is You and both of her books have become instant favorites of mine. And since she nicely did an interview with me for TOTWtMiY, I couldn’t wait to have her on the blog again.
Before we get to Lily’s interview, let’s check out the book.
The sequel to The Only Thing Worse than Me Is You, inspired by The Importance of Being Earnest.
Elliot Gabaroche is very clear on what she isn’t going to do this summer.
1. She isn’t going to stay home in Sacramento, where she’d have to sit through her stepmother’s sixth community theater production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
2. She isn’t going to mock trial camp at UCLA.
3. And she certainly isn’t going to the Air Force summer program on her mother’s base in Colorado Springs. As cool as it would be to live-action-role-play Ender’s Game, Ellie’s seen three generations of her family go through USAF boot camp up close, and she knows that it’s much less Luke/Yoda/”feel the force,” and much more one hundred push-ups on three days of no sleep. And that just isn’t appealing, no matter how many Xenomorphs from Alien she’d be able to defeat afterwards.
What she is going to do is pack up her attitude, her favorite Octavia Butler novels, and her Jordans, and go to summer camp. Specifically, a cutthroat academic-decathlon-like competition for a full scholarship to Rayevich College, the only college with a Science Fiction Literature program. And she’s going to start over as Ever Lawrence, on her own terms, without the shadow of all her family’s expectations. Because why do what’s expected of you when you can fight other genius nerds to the death for a shot at the dream you’re sure your family will consider a complete waste of time?
This summer’s going to be great.
Sounds good, right?
What sparked the idea for Not Now, Not Ever?
My editor asked for a companion book the THE ONLY THING and I fell into a brief, but deep despair because I really didn’t want to follow the gang from that book to college. I was satisfied with where we left them and didn’t want to put them into new jeopardy. But my agent sent me an email that said, “What about Brandon?” Brandon was sort of a sidekick in THE ONLY THING and I didn’t think he’d like being the star of his own book, but that made him even more interesting as a shy love interest. So I just had to find a place for him to meet a super cool girl. That’s when I came up with the concept of a college scholarship competition and the girl who needed to win a scholarship to get her dream.
Why do you love Elliot and why should we root for her?
Elliot is just wholly unlike any character I’ve ever written. She grew up idolizing the heroines of science fiction—Ellen Ripley from Alien and Sarah Connor from Terminator—as well as her own Air Force mother. She’s tough and nerdy in equal measure.
You have a pretty large cast of characters here. Who was the easiest and hardest to work with? Did anyone want to take over?
Elliot’s teammates at camp were so much fun to write. They all arrived with full personalities, particularly Perla, the most prickly of the group. The hardest part of having a cast this big is trying to balance everyone’s wants and needs with the story at hand. There were so many times where I wished we could follow Jams’ or Leigh’s solo adventures but couldn’t because I was limited to Elliot’s point of view.
What was the weirdest thing you googled while researching?
Basically all of the trivia questions the characters answer in this book were the result of some weird Google deep-dives. I think the weirdest thing was trying to figure out how often someone could expect to poop their pants at boot camp. The answers were… unnerving.
What was your last 5 star read?
SIX OF CROWS by Leigh Bardugo (I know; I’m the last person in the world to read it)
Is there any music/tv/movie you’re currently obsessed with?
WESTWORLD. I need season 2 like yesterday.
Are you a pantser or a plotter?
Hardcore plotter. My outlines are getting ridiculous.
Do you have a go-to snack or drink you need while writing?
The biggest bottle of Evian I can find.
What are you working on now?
I’m writing a new YA novel that’s a bit of a departure from my previous books. It’s serious and political and not even close to done yet.
Huge thanks to Wednesday Books for the invite and to Lily for taking the time! Not Now, Not Ever is out now and I highly recommend buying it!