I am here to introduce to you the new segment in my blog which is the author interviews!
I am so excited and honored to have given the chance to conduct an interview via email with Robin Reul, the author of My Kind of Crazy which will be released on April 5. It is such a great opportunity to have her here.
So without further chit chat, let me introduce to you, Robin Reul!
Robin Reul has been writing stories since she was old enough to hold a pen. Though she grew up on movie sets and worked for years in the film and television industry, she ultimately decided to focus her attention on writing young adult novels. And unlike Hank, she does not know how to ride a bike. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, son and daughter. My Kind Of Crazy is her first novel.
1. Define Crazy in your own words.
This word has layered meanings for me in terms of this book. There’s crazy in terms of all the quirks and idiosyncrasies that make us who we are, an inherently chaotic cup of tea that may not be for everybody. In that sense, perhaps we’re all a little crazy. Every now and then, we may be lucky enough to encounter a kindred spirit – someone who sees all our nuances, flaws and vulnerabilities, celebrates them and trusts us enough to share his or her’s with us too. When you’re around each other you feel lighter, happier, hopeful – that’s someone getting your crazy. There’s also crazy meaning misunderstood. There’s crazy as in driven to a darker state of being by external circumstances. And there’s crazy in terms of things feeling surreal. This word and it’s evolved, varied meanings over the course of the novel are a central part of the story.
2. What was your inspiration in writing “My Kind of Crazy”?
I was actually working on a different novel at the time when Hank first showed up in my head. I stopped working on the other project and immediately wrote the first chapter, which remains largely intact. I’ve learned through my life experiences and personal losses that love and family and friendship can truly help carry you when you are unable to carry yourself. Also, things that happen to us are only a piece of our story, not our whole story, which is often so difficult to comprehend as a teen. I knew I wanted to find a way to share that reminder and instill hope. I’d lost a dear friend as a teen who was really there for me when I needed someone most, and for years I’ve carried a story in my heart but not knowing how I wanted to tell it. I didn’t want it to be a book about the circumstances of her death, letting that be the focus. Instead, I wanted to focus on what she brought to my life, how she helped change the way in which I move forward in the world simply because I knew her. The idea found its voice in Hank and Peyton.
3. In the story, Peyton Breedlove is the most interesting character of them all. What inspired you to create such an extraordinary character?
I love Peyton too. I knew she needed to be complex and interesting in order for the reader to want to take her journey. When I read, the characters that stay with me the most are the ones who have the most layers and eccentricities. They’re the most fascinating. I had a great time writing her because she’s got so much going on from her unkempt physical appearance, to her pyromaniac tendencies and food quirks. I wanted her to feel real though, because in real life how we present ourselves to the world may not be an accurate representation of who we really are. I spent much of my teens feeling that way, and I wanted to create a character that embodied that in a unique way.
4. You have written the novel based on Hank Kirby’s perspective. What challenges have you faced while writing in a perspective of a male character rather than a female and how did you face them?
I tend to write more naturally in the voice of a boy vs. a girl, I’ve found. I prefer it. Nailing that voice, however, is key. Teens are smart – they see through it if you don’t do your homework. In earlier drafts, I think Hank felt like more of a “stereotypical” boy. A lot more swearing and sexual awareness, and early feedback from those who’d read it told me that was taking away from his authenticity. But all boys aren’t like that, and I didn’t want Hank to be. The fact that he isn’t is part of why I think readers seem to like him so much so far. Sometimes it takes stepping back and looking at all the places that are distinctly “boy” in the book and making sure they feel organic. Plus, it also helps that my son was a teenager at the time I wrote it and was able to look at things and say “No guy would ever say this/do this/etc.” Ha!
5. If you are to create a book playlist, what songs would you like to put into your “My Kind of Crazy” Playlist?
I did make a playlist for MKOC and it probably has at least 75-80 songs on it. I’d keep adding to it as I’d hear something that just fit and inspired me as I made my way through writing the book. Here’s a highlight of a few of my favorites:
Let’s Get It Started (The Black Eyed Peas) – The opening scene. This song perfectly captures the soundtrack of the moment Hank sees his plan has backfired and things are about to go terribly, terribly wrong. I just imagine his eyes widening in horror as he quickly jumps on his bike pedaling like a madman away from the scene of his latest screw-up.
Elastic Heart (Sia) – Peyton. She is such a resilient character, vulnerable yet tough as nails, a survivor. The moment I first heard this song it became my go-to when I wanted to get into the heart of her character.
World Spins Madly On (The Weepies) – Hank. This song is just the essence of Hank to me. Gentle, poignant, introspective and hopeful.
Gloria (Umberto Tozzi) – Nick. Nick is such a character, from his physical features to his colorful family life, that whenever I wrote him I couldn’t help but smile every time he found his way on to the page. This song echoes that kind of can’t-help-but-smile feeling.
Ça Plane Pour Moi (Plastic Bertrand) – The scene where Hank comes up with a plan to find Peyton, and it’s so crazy it just might work. Can’t say much more than that without spoilers as far as a description. The fast-paced upbeat energy of this song created a montage in my mind as I was writing this scene of Hank on a mission. And even if he screws up (and the odds are with him on that one) it still promises to be entertaining.
Bitter Sweet Symphony (The Verve) – The ending. This song has resonated with me for decades, and it’s title really just says it all. It encapsulates the energy of that poignant moment in life where you’re no longer who you’ve been but are still figuring out who you are going to be.
6. If your novel is to become a movie, who would your dream cast be?
Hank – Logan Lehrman
Peyton – Halle Eisenberg
Nick – David Henrie
Hank’s Dad – Ethan Hawke
Monica – Jennifer Lawrence
I dream big.
7. What should the readers expect from your upcoming novel?
I can’t say much about it yet, but it will be another stand alone contemporary with humor and heart and quirky characters!
Despite the best of intentions, seventeen-year old, wisecracking Hank Kirby can’t quite seem to catch a break. It’s not that he means to screw things up all the time, it just happens. A lot. Case in point: his attempt to ask out the girl he likes literally goes up in flames when he spells “Prom” in sparklers on her lawn…and nearly burns down her house.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, Peyton Breedlove, a brooding loner and budding pyromaniac, witnesses the whole thing. Much to Hank’s dismay, Peyton takes an interest in him—and his “work.” The two are thrust into an unusual friendship, but their boundaries are tested when Hank learns that Peyton is hiding some dark secrets, secrets that may change everything he thought he knew about Peyton.