Title: Kissing Max Holden
Author: Katy Upperman
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Release Date: August 1, 2017
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Kissing Max Holden was a terrible idea…
After his father has a life-altering stroke, Max Holden isn’t himself. As his long-time friend, Jillian Eldridge only wants to help him, but she doesn’t know how. When Max climbs through her window one night, Jill knows that she shouldn’t let him kiss her. But she can’t resist, and when they’re caught in the act by her dad, Jill swears it’ll never happen again. Because kissing Max Holden is a terrible idea.
With a new baby sibling on the way, her parents fighting all the time, and her dream of culinary school up in the air, Jill starts spending more and more time with Max. And even though her father disapproves and Max still has a girlfriend, not kissing Max is easier said than done. Will Jill follow her heart and allow their friendship to blossom into something more, or will she listen to her head and stop kissing Max Holden once and for all?
I have always been a fan of stories about real life people that take place in real world settings. My favorite movies growing up were Troop Beverly Hills and Dirty Dancing, and I loved to read about The Baby-Sitters Club and The Sweet Valley Twins and all of Judy Blume’s awesome characters. While I enjoy a good fantasy every now and then (The Princess Bride is another favorite!), I’m drawn to contemporary stories, particularly if they’re character-driven, because I relate to them best. And I adore romance – see my above mention of Dirty Dancing! I’m fascinated by the different ways love stories play out, and I enjoy nothing more than reading about a couple with super intense chemistry. So, when I decided to try my hand at writing, contemporary romance was where I started, and I haven’t looked back.
When writing a book, what is your favorite part of the creative process (outline, plot, character names, editing, etc)?
While the actual drafting of a book is my least favorite part of the process, I do love to outline. I’m very Type A, so I spend a lot of time mapping out a story’s structure and making sure I’m hitting the right highs and lows long before I start actually writing. And I totally get lost in the details: character names and what they mean, sketches of settings, pinning inspirational images to storyboards on Pinterest, and brainstorming my characters’ passions. I like revising, too – digging into a messy first draft and making sense of the story hidden underneath. For me, the writing process is often a “the grass is always green” situation; I always want to be doing what I don’t actually *need* to be doing.
When reading a book, what genre do you find most interesting/intriguing?
I definitely read more contemporary books than any other genre, but I mostly just want to get lost in a story that makes me feel. I’m bound to love an intense, complicated romance whether it’s set on the moon, or in Michigan.
If you could co-author with any author, past or present, who would you choose?
Oh, Judy Blume – easy. I’ve been obsessed with her books since I was eight – they’ve been incredibly formative – and I think she’s brilliant. I had the privilege of meeting her at an author talk a few years ago, and she was smart and funny and insightful – an utter delight.
Have you always wanted to write or did it come to you "later in life"?
Later in life… That makes me feel about a hundred – ha! Though I’ve been an avid reader for as long as I can remember, it never occurred to me that writing was something real people did as an actual job. It just seemed so glamorous and unreachable. I went to school to become a teacher; I spent a few fulfilling years in a fifth grade classroom, and then when my daughter was born, I quit to stay home with her. Writing was something I picked up mostly to fill a creative void, but the more I did it, the more I loved it, and the more I wanted to make a career of it. Fast-forward nearly a decade, and my debut novel is on its way into the world!
Katy Upperman is a graduate of Washington State University, a former elementary school teacher, and an insatiable reader. When not writing for young adults, Katy can be found whipping up batches of chocolate chip cookies, or exploring the country with her husband and daughter. Kissing Max Holden is her debut novel.