Last year when I first got into blogging, one of the first books I did a tour for was Have A Little Faith in Me by Sonia Hartl. It was such an amazing feminist story that didn’t shy away from hard topics such as consent, religion and sex plus it made me laugh out loud quite a few times. Today I get to share an interview I got to do with Sonia Hartl for her upcoming novel Not Your #Lovestory!
Meet Sonia Hartl
Sonia Hartl is the author of Not Your #Lovestory and Have a Little Faith in Me (Page Street), which received a starred review in BookPage and earned nominations for the Georgia Peach Book Award, YALSA’s Quick Picks for Reluctant Readers, Bank Street College of Education’s Best Children’s Books of the Year, and ALA’s Rise: A Feminist Book Project List. When she’s not writing or reading, she’s enjoying pub trivia, marathoning Disney movies, or taking a walk outside in the fall. She’s a member of SCBWI and the Managing Director for Pitch Wars 2020. She lives in Grand Rapids with her husband and two daughters. Follow her on Twitter @SoniaHartl1.
All About Not Your #Lovestory
What inspired Not You #LoveStory?
I was inspired by the #PlaneBae story that took place on Twitter, when a woman live tweeted two strangers she didn’t know and created a whole relationship for them that didn’t exist. It made me think about all the people who had gone viral for doing everyday activities and what it would feel like to have that kind of unwanted attention.
Introduce us to your main character!
Macy Evans is my main character and she’s an aspiring YouTuber, a fierce friend, a little sarcastic, a little jaded, but has a whole lot of heart. She has big dreams to leave her tiny town, but also feels an enormous amount of guilt of for thinking the life her mom worked so hard to provide for her isn’t enough.
What is your favorite scene or chapter in the book and why?
I think my favorite chapter is the when Macy and her mom really have it out toward the end, where they say all the things they’ve carried in their hearts, but don’t say out loud. I love how it shows how strong the bonds are across three generations and what it means to really be family.
What message do you want readers to take away from your books?
The internet is quick to make snap judgments when they only have a tiny fraction of the whole picture and I wanted to show that people are so much more than what little is revealed about them online.
Your book has been selected to become a movie and they want you to cast your characters. Which actors/actresses make the cut?
This is always a tough one! I think I’d pick Olivia Holt for Macy and Dylan O’Brien for Paxton.
(AE: Let me just fangirl for a hot minute. I love Dylan O’Brien and he would be the most perfect Paxton)
All About Sonia Hartl!
Describe yourself in three words.
Funny, loyal, romantic.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
Reading! The first thing I do when I finish a manuscript is take two weeks to just devour books on my TBR pile. I also like taking my kids to the zoo or the park where we can be outside.
What is your most embarrassing memory?
When I was eight I had to explain to the ER doctor that I split my chin open because I tried to make a Slip ‘N Slide out of my bathtub.
In the book, Macy and her family bond over their love of 80’s/90’s movies and use them as a guide to tackle hard topics such as consent, female sexuality and classism. What are some of your favorite movies and do you dig out “nuggets of truth” from them like Macy does?
I think Dirty Dancing might have been the most impactful movie of my life. It was such a bold and honest look at classism, female sexuality, and reproductive rights. It was the first movie I watched as a teen that made me really think about the expectations placed on girls to always be the ‘good daughter.’
What’s next for you in life or with your career?
I have a YA book coming out with Page Street in 2021 called THE LOST GIRLS! It’s a brand new genre for me, paranormal romance, about a vampire who was turned for true love, but when her boyfriend ditches her, she teams up with his other exes to kill him, and ends up falling for the mortal girl they’re trying to protect in the process. It’s like JOHN TUCKER MUST DIE with vampires, but make it gay. I’m so excited to bring that book into the world!
About the Book
#PlaneBae meets Gilmore Girls in this hilarious and heartfelt story about the addictiveness of Internet fame and the harsh realities of going viral.
Macy Evans dreams of earning enough income from her YouTube channel, R3ntal Wor1d, to leave her small, Midwestern town. But when she meets a boy named Eric at a baseball game, and accidently dumps her hotdog in his lap, her disastrous “meet-cute” becomes the topic of a viral thread. Now it’s not loyal subscribers flocking to her channel, it’s Internet trolls. And they aren’t interested in her reviews of VHS tapes—they only care about her relationship with Eric.
Eric is overly eager to stretch out his fifteen minutes of fame, but Macy fears this unwanted attention could sabotage her “real-life” relationships—namely with the shy boy-next-door, Paxton, who she’s actually developing feelings for. Macy knows she should shut the lie down, though she can’t ignore the advertising money, or the spark she gets in her chest whenever someone clicks on her videos. Eric shouldn’t be the only one allowed to reap the viral benefits. But is faking a relationship for clicks and subscribers worth hurting actual people?
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