Kerry Lonsdale is the author of the new novel Side Trip. Her other books include Last Summer and All the Breaking Waves. She lives in Northern California.
Q: How did you come up with the idea for Side Trip, and for your characters Joy and Dylan?
A: The idea for Side Trip, along with plot, story arc, and characters literally came to me in one sitting. I knew exactly how I wanted the story to open and end, and how the characters would evolve throughout.
I was fascinated not only with the concept of two strangers meeting on the road who decide to travel together, but what happens after the road trip ends. Joy and Dylan make several deals at the beginning of their road trip and an even bigger one at the end. What-if books are my favorite and Side Trip explores plenty of what ifs around those deals.
Q: The novel is told in "before" and "after" sections. Did you write the book in the order in which it appears, or did you work on one section before turning to the other?
A: I worked on each section separately, first the “before” chapters, then the “after” chapters. Once I decided where to insert the “after” chapters, I edited each chapter so they flowed seamlessly into each other.
If read closely, a reader will catch prompts and clues in the before chapters that propel them into an after chapter and back. Structurally, the book is complex because each section has an arc, plus the overall story arc. It was challenging to write, but a lot of fun.
Q: Do you have any favorite road trip novels?
A: I’m really looking forward to Samantha Downing’s He Started It, which also publishes in July. But I adored Amy Mason Doan’s Summer Hours. Catherine Ryan Hyde’s Allie and Bea was a delight.
Q: What do you hope readers take away from the story?
A: Side Trip is pure escapism reading, and I wrote it as such. It’s a fun, fast story that will take readers through a gamut of emotions.
But when a reader reaches that last page, I’d love for them to realize that life is short and shouldn’t be lived with regrets. That we should live the life we want to, and not the life others think we should live.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: I am working on the first book in a new series, a family drama that will certainly appeal to readers of my Everything series. No More Words will publish July 2021 and feature the Carson family. It’ll have my usual mashup of suspense, mystery, and romance. I can’t wait for readers to meet these new characters.
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: I love to hear from and interact with my readers. They can contact me through my website, as well as link to my social media profiles, at www.kerrylonsdale.com. Thanks for hosting me today! It’s been a true pleasure.
--Interview with Deborah Kalb