May 15, 2014

Nantucket Red Blog Tour: Author Interview + Giveaway

Welcome to my stop on the Nantucket Red blog tour! Today I have an interview with the author to share and don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end of the post! To follow along with the rest of the tour, click on the banner above.

Nantucket Red (Nantucket #2)
Author: Leila Howland
Genre: YA Contemporary Romance
Release Date: May 13, 2014
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion


Cricket Thompson's lifetime of overachieving has paid off: she's headed to Brown University in the fall, with a spot on the lacrosse team and a scholarship that covers almost everything. Who knew living in the dorm cost money? An Ivy League education seems to mean living at home for the next four years.

When Cricket is offered the chance to earn enough cash to afford a real college experience, she heads back to Nantucket for the summer. But the faraway island challenges Cricket in ways she hadn't anticipated. It's hard to focus on earning money for next year, when she finds her world opening up in entirely new ways-to art, to travel, and, most unexpectedly, to a future completely different from the one she has been working toward her whole life. A friendship blossoms with Ben, the gorgeous surfer and bartender who encourages Cricket to be free, even as she smarts at the pain of seeing Zack, her first love, falling for her worst enemy.

But one night, when Cricket finally lets herself break all her own rules, she realizes she may have ruined her carefully constructed future with one impulsive decision. Cricket must dig deep to fight for her future, discovering that success isn't just about reaching goals, but also about listening to what she's been trying to ignore-her own heart.
1. What inspired you to write the series?
A few things. First, I'd experienced a bad falling out with my best friend and I wanted to write about what that felt like. There are few things in my life that have been as painful as losing a best friend. Second, I always thought that Nantucket is such a unique environment and a perfect place to set a YA book because teenagers there tend to have a lot of freedom. And it's gorgeous. I mean STUNNING.  Third, I wanted to write about an unexpected love.  I put those three ideas together and I was off! 

2. What kind of research did you do for the books?

I had lived on Nantucket for a summer when I was eighteen, and I remembered quite a bit from my time there. But that was a while ago! I made several trips back to the island, staying in places that were similar to the Cranberry Inn. I talked to chambermaids, waitresses, bartenders, and taxi drivers, as well as people who were around Cricket's age and knew the party scene. I talked to just about anyone who would have a conversation with me! One of my favorite sources is a 90 year-old woman who was born on the island. She knows the best spots for star gazing. I explored the island by foot, bike, and shuttle bus. I even took a surfing lesson!

3. Are any of your characters based on people you know or even yourself?
There are parts of me in all of my characters, I think. I definitely share some of Cricket's qualities, both good and bad. I find, however, that if I base a character too closely on a real person, including myself, he/she comes across flat on the page. Ironically, a character needs to be her own person or he/she feels fake or off to the reader. That being said, I usually have someone I know, sometimes a combination of people, somewhere in the back of my mind when I envision a character.

4. How many books do you have planned for the series?
Right now this is a duology. But you never know!

5. What made you want to become a writer? Was there a specific person or situation that motivated you to write?

I have always wanted to be a writer. Always. So I can't pinpoint a specific event or person that motivated me to write. I have worked in many different fields to support myself as a writer, and a motivating factor that has kept me going and urged me to finish projects has been the idea of being able to write full time.

6. What's up next for you?
Next summer I have a Middle Grade book coming out that I'm really excited about. It's called The Forget-Me-Not Summer. Keep a look out! And I've just started on a new YA idea, too!
A huge thanks to Leila for stopping by the blog today and answering my questions!
Leila Howland was born and raised in Providence, Rhode Island. A graduate of Georgetown University, Leila spent five years acting in New York where she was a company member of the award-winning Flea Theater in Tribeca. Nantucket Blue, for which she was named a Publisher's Weekly Flying Start Author, was her first novel. Leila now lives in Los Angeles with her husband and dogs. Visit her online at and at

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  1. Christina R. in the rafflecopter

    LOVE that she spent time in Nantucket as a teen and then went back to interview people in hospitality to get everything right.

    She's a wonderful author!

    The books sounds like it's got depth and drama and romance!!

    Lovely interview :)

    Thank you :)

  2. Great interview. Leila's awesome!

    Thanks for participating.