Hi there! I hope you’ve had a good new year so far! I’m going to feature a few authors whose books I read and absolutely loved last year. I had the chance to interview them thanks to their amazing publicist.
Today I’m talking with Siobhan Vivian, author of Stay Sweet, and many other novels. (Read my review of Stay Sweet here.) Siobhan was actually the first author who did an interview on my blog here! You can read that here.
Here’s a little more about her formally:
Siobhan Vivian is the author of THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD (April 2016), as well as THE LIST, NOT THAT KIND OF GIRL, SAME DIFFERENCE, and A LITTLE FRIENDLY ADVICE. She also co-wrote BURN FOR BURN series with her best friend JENNY HAN. She currently lives in Pittsburgh.
I absolutely loved Stay Sweet, and couldn’t put it down when I took it with me over spring break! Here’s some more info about the book.
Summer in Sand Lake isn’t complete without a trip to Meade Creamery—
the local ice cream stand founded in 1944 by Molly Meade who started making ice cream to cheer up her lovesick girlfriends while all the boys were away at war. Since then, the stand has been owned and managed exclusively by local girls, who inevitably become the best of friends. Seventeen-year-old Amelia and her best friend Cate have worked at the stand every summer for the past three years, and Amelia is “Head Girl” at the stand this summer. When Molly passes away before Amelia even has her first day in charge, Amelia isn’t sure that the stand can go on. That is, until Molly’s grandnephew Grady arrives and asks Amelia to stay on to help continue the business…but Grady’s got some changes in mind…
Hi, Siobhan! Thank you so much for taking time to sit down and answer my questions. It’s lovely getting to work with you again, but this time forJustine! I wish you the best with Stay Sweet, and I’m already looking forward to your next book We Are the Wildcats.
Thank you so much for the great questions, Sophie! It’s always a pleasure to “speak” with you! J
Let’s start with you describing your book in ten words or less.
Simply put, it’s about sisterhood, summer, ice cream, and romance.
A big part of this novel is about Molly Meade, a self-made woman who owned her own business. Where did you come up with the character of Molly?
Molly is based in large part on a teenage version of my grandmother, who was very resourceful, ambitious, and driven, particularly for a girl in the 1940s. And the more research I did about that time in American history, I realized that many of the challenges young women were facing back then parallel the issues of our time.
If you were the proprietor of your own business, what would it be? Why?
I would love to run a small coffee shop with homemade baked goods, because coffee and baked goods are fundamental to my daily existence.
While it’s written in third person, this follows mainly Amelia. What was it like writing in her headspace? Did you think about writing a little from Cate’s perspective too?
I actually wrote several drafts of Stay Sweet in first person, and it just never felt right. I found it very difficult to capture the timelessness and history of Meade Creamery through Amelia’s contemporary perspective. I also didn’t like how the story transitioned from Amelia’s POV into Molly’s diary entries in first person. There wasn’t enough POW to the change in perspective. Once I made the decision to change it to third person, I felt more deeply immersed in the storytelling.
I love the best friendship in this book. It reminded me of all the girls who have been there for me in the same way. Did you draw on your own relationships to help build the friendship between Cate and Amelia?
Oh absolutely. I’m extremely lucky to have befriended several strong, successful, sparkly women throughout my life and I used lots of different facets of them to build the friendship between Amelia and Cate.
Have you ever worked in an ice cream shop yourself? If so, what was your favorite part?
I never did! But one of my former students at The University of Pittsburgh worked at a small ice cream parlor and she gave me many incredible details.
How did you come up with the flavor Home Sweet Home?
I had a really in-depth conversation with Katie Heldstab—one of the founders of Pittsburgh’s Leona’s Ice Cream (www.leonaspgh.com) –about what ingredients someone might use to sweeten ice cream if they didn’t have access to sugar. Katie is a graduate of the infamous Penn State Ice Cream program and super well-versed in the science and chemistry of ice cream making. Her input was beyond helpful!
Alright to wrap this up, is there anything you can share about your upcoming novel with us?
Yes! It’s a 24-hour clock, which is a device I’ve always wanted to use in a book. And I’m returning to a mutli POV ala my book The List. Finally, the story allows me to explore one of my favorite themes—all the complicated and magical ways that girls form friendships with each other.
Thank you so much, Siobhan, for taking the time to answer my questions! I can’t wait to read We Are the Wildcats!! Please be sure to check out all of her books — they’re divine!!