I recently read an ARC of Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny and I loved it so much I had to make sure as many people as possible know about this young adult novel. So I reached out to her and got an interview.
Your new novel, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS, releases on May 1st from KCP Loft. Tell me how you first got the idea for the book.
As a writer we are always pulling bits and pieces from our lives and this book is very close to home. I grew up in a large family in a pretty remote part of Canadian wilderness. My parents couldn’t afford to fly us all out for family vacations every year so we did a lot of camping. I remember lots of road trips all over the countryside, alternately reading books in the back seat (didn’t get car sick back then) and scrapping with my sisters and brother in our massive suburban. “She’s on my side of the seat!” 😉
How long did it take you to write the first draft?
I’m a pretty slow writer and the first draft took a while. It’s hard to say because I’m one of those people who goes back and fixes things up as they write so by the time they’re done they have a pretty polished first draft (the con side being that it takes FOREVER). Maybe a year or two?
I absolutely love the campground setting. Where did you get the inspiration for it?
The campground is based on one just outside my hometown. The Pacific West Coast is magical and something everyone should check out once in their lives. The trees there are enormous old growth temperate rainforest and it’s very wild and rugged, but stunning.
Do you have any songs or playlists that remind you of the book?
I actually made a playlist for this book which I am putting on Spotify (once I figure out how). I tried to include songs that bring back those warm summer nights, swimming under the stars and first love…
How long have you been writing, and when did you first know you wanted to be a writer?
I used to write poetry then stopped once I got to university and learned how bad it was. I started up again after I had my first baby. I wrote my first book, KISSING FROGS, on paternity leave which we took in Panama (where the book is set) where I was inspired by local culture and myths. Canadians get one year off and my husband’s work topped up his salary so we were very lucky to do that. SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS was started after we took our second paternity leave in San Jose Del Cabo (we only have children so we can travel ;). There will be no more babies but hopefully lots more books!
If you could only take three books with you to a deserted island, what would they be?
Hmmm. Probably the first three of Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series (Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and Voyager). I’ve read it over and over and find something new in it each time. She’s one of the best writers out there.
Where’s your favorite place to write?
I write anywhere, usually in the middle of chaos, but my favourite place is preferably on a balcony in a tropical country, where I can see or hear the ocean. We are an urban family in a big city and don’t own a house OR car which we make up for by trying to travel a bit more. I grew up surrounded by ocean and mountains and I really miss it and find nature stimulates my creativity.
If you could steal a fictional character and put them in one of your novels, who would it be?
Hmm, this is tough. I do have a MG series set in Ancient Egypt I’m working on and the main character Sesha, daughter to the Pharaoh’s royal physician, is a bit how I’d imagine Claire from Outlander would be (if she were a young girl who growing up in Ancient Egypt).
What’s next for you?
I’m also trying to finish my next YA contemporary called Palm of My Hand, about an intuitive palm reader and her mother, who’s a tarot-reading fortune teller. I’m pitching it as a pinch of Jane the Virgin meets Practical Magic.
Want to know more about Summer Constellations? You can find it on Goodreads, or pre-order it on Amazon. I’m also giving away an advanced reading copy! Use the link below to enter by April 29th. Open internationally!