I had the pleasure of interviewing Vicky Skinner, the author of ‘How To Breathe Underwater’! Stay tuned for Vicky’s guest post!
COURTNEY: What inspired you to write ‘How to Breathe Underwater’?
VICKY: I had one really awful summer, the summer that my sister and my dad both got married, and when it was over, and my life was a little better for it, I decided I wanted to write about it, and Kate’s story is what came out.
COURTNEY: What was your writing process like?
VICKY: I wish I could remember what it was like writing the first draft of this, but it was almost ten years ago, I don’t really remember much. I remember sitting at Panera with my mom, on my laptop, googling cemeteries in Oregon and that’s about it. My process for writing looked different back then because I was going to school full time, working part time, and cramming in a little writing when I could, so I was always a little rushed and a little sleep-deprived.
COURTNEY: What (or who) changed the most from the first draft to the finished copy?
VICKY: Michael’s best friend, Ben, was a bad boy in the first draft, who got Kate to smoke and they had a ‘friends with benefits’ thing going on, and that changed drastically to the finished draft, where Ben is a good boy who’s just trying to help his best friend out.
COURTNEY: If ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ were to be adapted into a movie, who would be your fan casts?
VICKY: I really, really love Melissa Benoist. If I could cast her for all of my main characters, I would, and I would love to see her as Kate. And for Michael, Matt Daddario, all the way.
COURTNEY: What scene was your favorite to write? What scene are you most excited for readers to read?
VICKY: I love writing the emotional stuff, but I have to be honest, the kissing scenes are always the most fun! I love coming up with the perfect timing and setting for a first kiss, and I had a lot of fun with this one! I think I’m most excited for people to see the scenes where Kate is really struggling with her anxiety. Those scenes feel the most authentic to me, and I hope they ring true for anyone who reads it.
COURTNEY: Which scene was the hardest for you to write?
VICKY: Any scenes where Kate and her father fight were the hardest. A lot of Kate’s relationship with her dad is based off my own issues with my dad, who I had a bad relationship with for years, so having to rehash that stuff in order for it to feel real is always hard.
COURTNEY: Was there a scene that you absolutely loved that you had to end up cutting from the final draft? If so, can you tell me anything about it?
VICKY: Actually, I don’t think so. I almost lost a really flirty scene between Kate and Ben, but I fought for it because I loved it so much, and a compromise was reached so that I could keep it in!
COURTNEY: Do you see yourself ever going back to revisit any other characters in ‘How To Breathe Underwater’, or do you think it’ll stay a standalone? (Or maybe they’ll pop up a little bit in some of your other books at some point?)
VICKY: I don’t want to talk about it too much because I can’t guarantee anything will come of it, but I have plans for one of the minor characters in How to Breathe Underwater to become a major character in a companion novel. They won’t be linked in any way other than that one character, so HTBU can still be read 100% as a standalone.
COURTNEY: What (if anything) can you tell me about your next book, ‘We Are the Ghosts’!
VICKY: I can tell you that it’s about death and forgiveness and feeling like you’ve completely lost yourself when you lose someone. There’s a lot of family and friend drama, just like HTBU, but much darker, and there’s a pretty hefty romance. It’s something I’m really proud of, so I hope it’s well-received, and it comes out next summer!