Vi Keeland and Penelope Ward Exclusive Interview
1. Name a book you’ve re-read more than three times. What keeps you coming back for more?
Vi: I’ve never read any book more than once! Does that make me odd as a devout reader? Maybe! I’ve scanned some books to refresh my memory when the subsequent book in the series came out—such as the Crossfire series which I loved. But I just don’t read books more than once, no matter how much I loved them. I also don’t watch movies twice!
Penelope: I can honestly say I have never read anything more than twice! I do read my own books about ten times before publishing them. But a book I have read twice is: Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. It was one of the early New Adult books that got me hooked on the genre.
2. You have just sat down to start writing for the day. What does your workspace look like?
Vi: I write in my office on the second floor of the house. Oddly, Penelope and I are going to answer this question very differently! My office is usually fairly neat. (I love organization!) It has a large desk, lots of built in bookshelves, framed memories on the wall, and a couch that I love to read on.
Penelope: I’m a little embarrassed to admit this, but my workspace is a disaster. I write at the end of my dining room table, surrounded by notes, planners, various cords/cables and crumpled up napkins.
3. Can you tell us a little about Dirty Letters?
Two childhood pen pals are reunited when Griffin has a bit too much to drink one night and writes to Luca, the girl who suddenly stopped writing him eight years earlier. When he realizes why she stopped writing, they rekindle their relationship from afar and resume writing back and forth, this time as adults. Of course, now their letters are a bit steamier. Things get complicated when Luca suggests they meet in person.
4. When Griffin loves, he loves hard. That’s what makes it so difficult when he loses people in his life. How has his past effect his relationship with Luca?
Griffin has been deeply hurt by people he can’t trust, including his own father. This makes him reluctant to meet Luca initially because she has always been the only person who has seen him for him. He never wants that to change. So, his past has made him more cautious when it comes to taking the next step with Luca.
5. Luca laments that her dating pool needs a “bucket of chlorine”. Is her love life really that abysmal before Griffin?
Yes. Unfortunately, she never connected with anyone on a deeper level before Griffin. Perhaps, she didn’t realize her heart was always with Griffin. Luca was so devastated by a loss she suffered in her teens that resulted in her stopping communication with Griffin initially. That loss affected all aspects of her life, including her dating life as she was very reluctant to open her heart to anyone.
6. What was one of your favorite scenes in Dirty Letters to write and why?
Vi: It was a certain letter where Luca reveals why she liked McDonald’s so much when she was a teen. (You’ll have to read to find out!)
Penelope: My favorite scenes were always the letters, both from childhood and after. The way that they communicated with sharp wit, humor and emotions was really fun to write.
7. What are you working on next?
We are co-writing another book to be released in 2020 by Montlake. This one is another emotional rollercoaster with letters as an important underlying theme. But this one is much different than either Dirty Letters or Hate Notes.
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