Thursday, August 25, 2022

Q&A with Kristin Rockaway


Photo by Josh Mitchell



Kristin Rockaway is the author of the new novel Smart Girl Summer. Her other books include the novel Life, Unscheduled. She lives in Southern California.


Q: What inspired you to write Smart Girl Summer, and how did you create your character Abby?


A: I wrote Smart Girl Summer during the pandemic, while we were all cooped up. I was suffering from cabin fever and desperately wanted to travel, but it was impossible for obvious reasons. So instead I decided to dream up a scenario where my main character goes on an international adventure.


Enter Abby. She's struggling with her place in life, feeling trapped and in a sort of limbo -- a lot like many of us were feeling during those long days of lockdown. Sending her to the Mediterranean to find herself on a superyacht was the perfect form of escapism, both for her and for me.


Q: The Publishers Weekly review of the book says, in part, “Smart, snappy prose, a lovably nerdy billionaire for a hero, and a complex tween who steals most scenes she’s in, make this instantly appealing.” What do you think of that description?


A: It's extremely flattering! While Smart Girl Summer is first and foremost Abby's story, I had such a great time writing the characters of Richard (the billionaire) and Bijou (the tween).


Since Richard is a single dad, it was really important for me to establish a strong relationship between Abby and Bijou. Part of that involved Abby helping to repair the strained relationship between Richard and his daughter. So naturally Bijou was in a lot of scenes, and I wanted the readers to really like spending time with her.


Q: Did you need to do any research to write the novel, and if so, did you learn anything especially surprising?


A: I did a lot of research on the Mediterranean. Abby visits several locations on her journey -- Barcelona, Mallorca, and Saint-Tropez among others -- and I haven't been to all of them.


Fortunately, the internet provides. Google Maps was invaluable in helping me plan her days as she tours around the cities and sails from port to port. I had such a great time researching the travel aspect of the story that I put together a supplemental travel guide called The Smart Girls' Guide to Sailing the Mediterranean, which you can get here for free!


Q: As you’ve mentioned, the novel is primarily set on a yacht in the Mediterranean--how important is setting to you in your writing?


A: Setting is everything for me. I almost consider it to be its own character. It establishes the mood and the tone for the story. It creates an immersive experience for the reader. And it provides a temporary escape, where you can virtually transport yourself to another place and time -- and that's exactly what I aim to do with my writing: provide an escape.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I don't like to talk too much about my work in progress. :-) But I can say that it explores the same themes as all of my other stories: women finding their place in the world, and experiencing romance along the way. This time, though, there may just be a touch of magic...


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Thank you so much for hosting this Q&A. If anyone wants to connect with me on social media, I'm active on Instagram and TikTok at @kristinrockaway. And please sign up for my newsletter to keep on top of my latest sales and releases!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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