Q & A with the author of The Boy Next Door–Katie Van Ark!
Growing up less than a block from the public library, Katie has always loved books and admits to crossing the street while reading. She learned to skate as an adult and to write after that and is a firm believer that it’s never too late to follow your dreams. A former teacher, she now writes full-time and still skates weekends with her synchronized skating team. She lives in Michigan with two daughters, two cats, and one very patient husband (her high school sweetheart). She is a member of the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators and of Romance Writers of America. The Boy Next Door is her first novel.
(Bio from Katie’s website, photo from Katie’s author page on Facebook.)
Now, I am given another chance to get to know Katie more! Which is so cool, because I really like her and she plays a great part in my writing career. (So much love for you, Katie!)
Why contemporary YA?
I really love most genres of YA, everything from vampire romances (I can’t wait to read the final version of Temple West’s Velvet) to dystopian (I’m a Hunger Games/Matched/Divergent fan girl in that order). Contemporary YA is what I write because so far that’s where the character and plot muses have graced me, and of course my background in skating was helpful with The Boy Next Door. Somehow I have trouble envisioning a post-apocalyptic figure skating novel but who knows? Now that I’ve said that, I might have to write a dystopian set in the future Netherlands where there’s no power or fuel and everyone travels on skates. Which they maybe also use as weapons. Then again, maybe I’d better stick to writing contemporary and enjoying reading the rest.
What makes The Boy Next Door special?
You always hear the story about the pairs skaters who started out hating each other and fell in love–like all three Cutting Edge movies. Jennifer Comeaux’s figure skating novels have some great variations like falling in love with the coach or with someone on a different team, but I’d never seen a skating romance where the characters were already friends. And to me, that’s a lot harder. If you break up with someone you hated anyway, so what If you break up with a friend, can you come back to being friends again? I wanted to take that should-I-date-my-best-friend dilemma that a lot of teens face and elevate it to an Olympic level.
How close are you to your characters?
Very close. This is the awesome-and-win thing about being an author. You get to have imaginary friends and it’s cool instead of crazy. 🙂
If The Boy Next Door would become a movie, whom would you want to see as Maddy? As Gabe?
To be honest, to me it would be most important that the actors and actresses really wanted the roles. I don’t think anything can create onscreen magic the way that true passion for a project does. I think it’s a lot of work being a casting director and finding not just the right look for the part but also the right personality, and I’m definitely not an expert here. But I would love to hear other people’s opinions!
What’s next for Katie Van Ark?
I’m working on additional novels for other characters from Maddy and Gabe’s hometown of Riverview and at the moment I’m specifically revising my NaNoWriMo novel, French Lessons, in which Gabe attempts to fix his French friend Jonah up.
(Photo from Katie’s author page on Facebook–the cover may be temporary, but at least we have something gorgeous to look at!)
What would you like to say to your readers?
First, thanks to all the Swoon Readers for their initial support of and helpful comments about The Boy Next Door. Also thanks to the many readers who’ve championed the book on social media sites and helped spread the word. You are awesome and I wish all of you your own Disney-ever-after ending like Maddy and Gabe.
Thank you so much to Swoon Reads, Macmillan Teen, and to Katie for making this Q & A possible! You are all awesome. More power and much love! ❤