I had the pleasure of interviewing Courtney Summers for her All The Rage Book Tour.
Courtney Summers is the author of Please Remain Calm, This Is Not A Test, Cracked Up To Be, Some Girls Are, and All the Rage, which came out recently on April 14th.
When Romy was raped by the sheriff’s son, no one believed her. Branded a liar and ostracized by her community, this “unflinching and powerful” (Kirkus, Starred Review) young adult novel examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence. “[Courtney] Summers takes victim-shaming to task in this timely story,” (Booklist) and forces us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?
Now, without further ado, here’s the best interview of the day (so far!):
Hi Courtney! Thanks for taking the time to answer stop by and chat. I’ve been a fan since I read Cracked Up to Be three years ago, so this is definitely really exciting or me.
Thank you! I’m so thrilled you’ve enjoyed my work and I appreciate you having me on your blog.
1. In most of your work, you’ve tackled current issues from a teenager’s perspective. From a focus on social dynamics in Some Girls Are to the gripping search for answers and closure in Fall For Anything, your writing is unflinchingly raw and real. How much of the content in your novels comes from personal experience, and how do you research and write about topics you’re unfamiliar with?
Thank you so much! I appreciate that. Research is a part of every novel I write, no matter what I’m writing. I do it the good old-fashioned way—lots of Googling, reading (online and off) and interviewing people who have the information I need. I’ve researched topics ranging from PTSD (for all of my books), rape culture (All the Rage) to wilderness survival and wound-tending in apocalyptic situations (This is Not a Test).
My personal experiences certainly inform how I approach my books, but I have never gone through the exact same things my characters have gone through. In school, I experienced girl-bullying and a lot of my conflicting emotions about it went into Some Girls Are. Like Parker, I went to Catholic high school. Unlike Parker, I was not remotely popular. My grandfather’s death influenced Fall for Anything. A lot of the small town elements in All the Rage are things I experienced growing up in a small town. That sort of thing. The particulars of each character’s experiences, though, belong to them.
2. You often create such unlikable characters, but then proceed to breathe humanity into them throughout the course of the novel. How do you go about creating such real teenage characters, and how does Romy differ from the protagonists of your other novels?
Thank you! When I write my characters, I just want them to be as honest as possible and I work hard to make sure nothing is held back. It’s not important to me that they be likable as much as it is they be compelling. So hopefully, that’s why they feel real to readers. I think Romy differs from my other protagonists because she is entirely in survival mode. All my girl characters are to some extent, but with Romy, every second of her day is about surviving it. My other characters had more emotional reprieves.
3. Finally, is there anything extra you’d like readers of All The Rage to know?
I want to thank them for reading it!
Thanks for having me on your blog!
Here are links to buy the book and stalk Courtney Summers haha: