Today I have Vicky Skinner on the blog to talk about her newest book, “We Are The Ghosts,” which was published by Swoon Reads on August 13th! (Feel free to check out my interview with Vicky from last year about her debut, “How to Breathe Underwater.”)
COURTNEY: What inspired you to write “We Are The Ghosts”?
VICKY: A death and a friendship breakup in 2013. I needed a way to cope, and this is what came out.
COURTNEY: How long did it take you to write the first draft?
VICKY: 30 Days. I wrote it for NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month).
COURTNEY: Which character changed the most from the first draft to the finished copy?
VICKY: Hmmm. Probably Wes. His name was originally Colton, and his relationship with Gwen had many different faces before the final version. But he was always a little salty and a lot sweet.
COURTNEY: Who would be your fan casts for a film adaptation? (C’mon A&E!)
VICKY: This is always so tough for me! BUT I always imagined Gossip Girl-era Penn Badgley as Cade and maybe young Lily Collins as Ellie? Keiynan Lonsdale as Wes and Christian Serratos as Gwen.
COURTNEY: Will we see characters from “We Are The Ghosts” pop up in any of your other books?
VICKY: I never want to rule anything out, but as of right this moment, they haven’t made an appearance anywhere else.
COURTNEY: Which scene was the hardest for you to write?
VICKY: The scenes in Ann Arbor and Dexter were always hard for me to work on. All of that emotion was real and straight out of my life, so from the very beginning, working on the scenes where Ellie finally opens up to Cade and then discovers Luke’s secret are very emotionally draining.
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: In an earlier version, tornado sirens go off in Eaton and Cade and Ellie end up alone in the basement of the antique store where Ellie works and it’s very sweet, and I was super sad to cut it but it slowed things down, so I set it aside in hopes of being able to use it somewhere else someday.
COURTNEY: Okay, this one is sort of a two-part question, but the answers are probably related. Why does Luke leave without saying goodbye to Ellie? Is he afraid that then he’ll lose his resolve to leave when she would’ve begged him to stay/take her with? The other characters sort of try to make sense of why, but I’d like to know what your thought process as Luke was behind it. And more importantly, why does he never reach out to her, aka why does he cut off all contact?
VICKY: These are questions I can’t fully answer. When I wrote this book, I really wanted to show how when people die, they take their secrets and their reasonings with them. I spent so much of 2013 questioning why my friend decided to drop out of my life and what happened when my other friend died, and I’ll never have those answers. The only thing I know for certain is that when Luke left, he truly believed that Ellie would be better off without him.
COURTNEY: What’s next for Ellie, Wes, Gwen, and Cade?
VICKY: I have no clue! But I can tell you they’re happy and healing and loving one another.
COURTNEY: What can you tell me about your next book, “All Our Worst Ideas?”
VICKY: Absolutely nothing! Unfortunately, it still hasn’t been officially announced, but I recently saw that thing on Twitter where people describe their books in fanfic tags, so I’m going to do that for you and AOWI: opposites-attract, friends-to-lovers, love-triangle, smart-girls, moody-boys, record-store-au.
COURTNEY: What was the fight between Luke & his mother about, when they stopped outside Ellie’s door?
VICKY: I’m not 100% certain. I think it’s likely that their mom just got a little tired of Luke talking about leaving and taking Ellie with him. This might have even been a big factor for Luke cutting Ellie off. *shrug*
COURTNEY: Anything else you’d like to add? (Questions/answers you wished I would’ve asked, insider info. about any of the characters, etc.)
VICKY: Not really. What I can say is this, for a long time (until AOWI, actually) this was my favorite book I’ve written. I put my heart and soul and my blood, sweat, and tears into it, so I really hope people love it.
This next question is a spoiler! Not a huge one, but if you haven’t read the book, then I would suggest that you stop reading now!
COURTNEY: Why didn’t Chloe and/or any of Luke’s friends go to the funeral? Were they there and I just missed it, or Ellie didn’t know enough to mention them?
VICKY: It would be hard for a girl in Chloe’s financial and physical position to cross the country for a funeral. And other than Wes, all of Luke’s friends are at the funeral.