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Author: Katie Van Ark
Genre: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Release Date: January 6th, 2015
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Maddy Spier has been in love with the boy next door forever. As his figure skating partner she spends time in his arms every day. But she’s also seen his arms around other girls—lots of other girls.
Gabe can't imagine skating with anyone but Maddy, and together they have a real chance at winning some serious gold medals. So, he’s determined to keep thinking of her like a sister. After all, he’s never had a romantic relationship that lasted for more than two weeks.
But when their coach assigns a new romantic skating program, everything changes. Will this be the big break that Maddy’s been hoping for or the big breakup that Gabe has always feared?
#1. What inspired you to write The Boy Next Door?
Growing up, I never thought about becoming a writer. Is that a funny thing to say? It's true, though. My deepest, most secret desire was to be a figure skater. Since the closest rink was almost an hour away, I never thought it would be a reality. After college, I treated myself to skating lessons and the sport quickly grew from a hobby to a passion. When I had my first daughter, I had to take a break from skating so I took up a new hobby, deciding to write about skating instead. Now I'm in love with skating and writing. I have problems with hobbies, evidently.
#2. What is your writing day like?
On my best writing days, I start with some sort of exercise – I love ballet, Pilates, and running – and while I'm exercising I get pumped up to work with play lists tailored to my works in progress. Next I make a cup of tea and start writing, which can be either new work or revision work depending on where I am with my current novel. If I get stuck, I'll switch projects for awhile and then come back. I try not to check my e-mail or get on social media until the afternoon. Of course, lots of times I don't get my perfect day but I stay flexible and make writing a priority.
#3. Which comes first to you, the characters or the story?
For The Boy Next Door, the plot came first and as I worked through the plot the characters revealed themselves. But I've also written a novel where the characters and plot came together and the project I just did for NaNoWriMo was the characters first. I'm not fussy – I take whatever the story muse feels like bringing!
#4. What is your favorite thing about Christmas?
I should probably say the giving – that's what the season is about, right? And I love picking out gifts but if I'm honest what I really adore is the decorating. I have a relative who has a tree in every room in her house and that's totally my aspiration. So far I have a snowflake tree (in honor of my synchronized skating team – we're the Flurries, so, yes, all of my best friends are “flakes”), an ice skating tree, and the family tree we do with ornaments from our family vacations and that my girls have made. I might have to do a book tree next. One of my librarian friends made a “tree” out of books with lights strung around them; it looked very cool.
#5. What are three things your readers don't know about your book?
The first is that The Boy Next Door went through four years of revisions before I posted it on the Swoon Reads web site. (Turns out that learning to write a book is way harder than learning how to figure skate!) Another would be that I didn't know I was going to fall so in love with the secondary characters that I was going to have to write their stories next. Finally, a fun fact: a figure skating judge helped check the book for accuracy.
#6. Do you have any upcoming projects you'd like your readers to know about?
I always have a project going – no, that's actually a lie. I never have only one project going; I always have several! Right now my editor and I are trying to decide which novel should happen next, so please check out my web site, katievanark.com, for updates.
Katie Van Ark lives in Michigan with two daughters, two cats, and one very patient husband who was also her high school sweetheart. She is a member of SCBWI and RWA and a student at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She enjoys reading, writing, and of course figure skating.
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