After entering Carmichael's, I purchased two finished copies of Pushing the Limits and got a seat upfront, directly in front of where Katie would be standing. Once Katie was introduced, she began by telling the audience a story about herself when she was 15.
"When I was 15 there was this guy that I absolutely adored. We dated for a little bit, he dumped me and I was going to spend the rest of my life making him regret dumping me, right? Because that's what you do at fifteen. ...He was a year older than me and he was like... oh my gosh to me, he had like the black leather jacket, he had the black hair and he played a guitar. So, he was like every fifteen year old girls dream, right?
And... I had to give a presentation in class. He was, ya know, a year older than me, the entire class was a year older than me and I was like 'Ya know what? I'm gonna totally rock out this presentation. I'm gonna go up there and I'm gonna look so good, and I'm gonna look so pretty that he's gonna stand there thinking 'Oh my gosh, I can't believe I dumped this girl.'' Right?
So, I'm really nervous and I skip breakfast and I didn't really eat the night beforehand, and the teacher asks for volunteers and I'm like, 'Yeah. I totally want to go first.' Because, I'm gonna totally rock this out... because I'm lookin' hot. So, I'm in the back of the class and I totally walk up and I get there... and all of a sudden the world starts turn to the left... and all of a sudden the world starts to turn to the right.... (giggles) And the next thing I know I pass out. And I don't just pass out. I don't just do the like General Hospital 'wooh,'...I totally pass out and hit my head on the projector, then flipped to the other side and hit my head on the table and then crumbled to the ground (laughing).
The next thing, I wake up and I think I'm waking up in bed and I hear my teacher curse out loud (giggles) and I hear her say like 'Get out.' The entire class like at this point (makes stomping noises)- that's all I hear. And so I'm mortified.
They send me home from school completely mortified and I call up my best friend and I'm like 'Umm... so how bad was it?' She's like, 'Well, you got his attention.' (crowd laughs)
And with a story like that, how can I not write YA?"
Following her story, Katie shared more about Pushing the Limits with the audience.
- She was free writing for another story, when she came up with the idea for Pushing the Limits.
- After being stuck, she thought "What happens if I put my characters in therapy?"
- When she sat down to write, her girl's voice changed. She was "sassy and she had some hurt" but Katie liked her and from that point she started to let the character (who would become Echo) go.
- Katie is a "love story kind of person", and she thought "I like this girl, so who would this guy be?"
- When she started free writing the guy (Noah) she found her self 3,500 words into a new story and she "just let them go." That is how Echo & Noah were created.
- Katie wrote out a plot, everything "from A to Z" and 50,000 words in Echo & Noah in her head, "crossed their arms over their chests and said 'Uh, uh.'" Which caused her to learn to just "go with it"
- Katie gave a couple of things to her characters that were apart of her, which were memory loss (she was bit by a dog as a child and repressed the memory) and grief (Katie lost a best friend since birth, when she was 20)
- She fell in love with Echo when she wrote the "Woodchuck" line (from the first chapter).
- Noah and Echo "mean the world" to Katie.
- Katie loves that Noah and Echo are "absolutely going through hell, but they find a way to be teenagers together. They find a way to laugh, they find a way to have a good time together, and they find a way of what they're always searching for which is their 'normal'"
~Time for Q&A~
A. Yes! I have sequels. I've actually been contracted for a four book deal. The next one is called Dare You To, and it's by Beth who is a secondary character in the story. And each of the books are going to be by secondary character's view points. So, this one's gonna be Beth and we'll have to find out who the third one is, because if I tell you who the third one is... it's a bit of a spoiler possibly.
Q. Did you always intend to write duel point of views or was it initially just Echo?
A. It was initially just Echo's. And then, I knew it was gonna be a love story, and... you have to know who she's gonna fall in love with. There was this phrase I picked up somewhere, which is like "If your heroine is getting eaten by an alligator in a swamp, no matter if your hero is there or not, you need to know what he's doing." Like, why isn't he in the swamp with her, being eaten by the alligator? So... I had to know who Noah was and what he was doing and the more I got into him... I just really liked him and he kind of became part of the story.
Q. Who's your favorite character?
A. (laughs) I have to say it's a toss up between two secondary characters. One is Beth, which you probably know, she's a very feisty little character. And the other is Isaiah, who's just this really laid back guy. So, I'm really interested when people read it if they feel the same way.
Q. Who did you base Mrs. Collins on?
A. I didn't base Mrs. Collins particularly on anybody. I was very, very, very blessed to have quite a few adults in my life who were always there for me. You were just constants. One of them is here. (references to audience member) If you read Mrs. Collins, she has a little bit of a wit about her and I would say probably some of that wit came from you. Um... I had a teacher in high school who was absolutely amazing with me. Her name was Ms. Waddle. She was awesome enough that...she actually drove me to Lexington, on her birthday, on a summer. I mean, she had no obligation to do this to me whatsoever and she did. I think it's people like that who I based her off of.
Q. Why did you decide to set it (Pushing the Limits) in Louisville? Is it because you live here?
A. Because I live here. Honestly, my mother-in-law read the book and she got so excited anytime I was gonna mention a place because she was like "Oh... I'm gonna know where this is at." And then she'd get really bummed out because I just couldn't seem to like "Oh, this is the Jefferson Mall." ...It's Louisville, but it's not. It's not really based on anything. I will say at one point Noah takes Echo to a fountain and in my head it looks like Saint James Fountain, but it's not the area. I just kind of worked the story to what I needed, but it's Louisville, but kind of like a made-up Louisville. Does that make sense?
Q. How much does the ARC differ from the finished copy?
A. There are three mistakes and at one point it's "Echo sat in her seat," and Echo didn't sit. There was "Echo" and "seat". That's one of them. I think there was a word misspelled, but no- what you see is what you get between the ARC and the final copy.
~The Meet & Greet~
|Mrs. Katie McGarry & Myself|
|(Katie's friend & KY YA author) Kelly Creagh & Myself|
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Up for grabs is a Hardcover, Signed, First Edition of Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry
Giveaway is US only and runs from Wednesday, August 8th, 2012 - Friday, August 17th, 2012.