[AUTHOR INTERVIEW] Interview with Vicky Skinner, author of ‘How to Breathe Underwater’

I had the pleasure of interviewing Vicky Skinner, the author of ‘How To Breathe Underwater’! Stay tuned for Vicky’s guest post!

Check out my ARC review of ‘How to Breathe Underwater’ and my playlist inspired by the book!

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! 

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