Sunday, May 24, 2015

Sunday Street Team Interview: Kissing in America

Title: Kissing in America
Author: Margo Rabb
Publisher: Harper
Publication Date: May 26, 2015
Acclaimed writer Margo Rabb’s Kissing in America is “a wonderful novel about friendship, love, travel, life, hope, poetry, intelligence, and the inner lives of girls,” raves internationally bestselling author Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love).

In the two years since her father died, sixteen-year-old Eva has found comfort in reading romance novels—118 of them, to be exact—to dull the pain of her loss that’s still so present. Her romantic fantasies become a reality when she meets Will, who seems to truly understand Eva’s grief. Unfortunately, after Eva falls head-over-heels for him, he picks up and moves to California without any warning. Not wanting to lose the only person who has been able to pull her out of sadness—and, perhaps, her shot at real love—Eva and her best friend, Annie, concoct a plan to travel to the west coast to see Will again. As they road trip across America, Eva and Annie confront the complex truth about love.

In this honest and emotional journey that National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr calls “gorgeous, funny, and joyous,” readers will experience the highs of infatuation and the lows of heartache as Eva contends with love in all of its forms.

An Interview with Margo Rabb: 

1. Kissing in America is labeled as a YA romance (among other awesome genres). Who are some of your favorite YA couples?
Despite its title, Kissing in America is actually not a romance novel--it’s really a coming of age novel about love. My favorite YA couple of all time is Anne Shirley and Gilbert Blythe from Anne of Green Gables. It doesn’t get any better than Anne and Gil!
I definitely sensed the coming-of-age aspect for Eva while I was reading. I don't want to ruin it for readers who haven't read it, but I liked how you plotted Eva's growth.

V-J Day Kiss
2. How did you come up with the title of the book?
In the book, the title is partly in reference to the iconic photo from V-J day of a sailor kissing a nurse--it’s about the fantasies we have of love and romance and freedom and starting over.
I love that photo! It's such an iconic moment in American history.
3. Kissing in America is a road trip novel. How did you plot out where Eva and Annie would travel to/through in the book?
Eva and Annie stop in Ohio, Tennessee, Texas, Arizona, and L.A.--all places where I’ve lived or spent a lot of time, so I was familiar with them. I loved writing the Texas and Tucson sections most of all--I lived in both places for many years, and I loved re-visiting them in the book.
Okay! The Texas and Tuscon scenes were among my favorites. They had their differences, but I love the warm feelings that I got while reading through those parts of the novel!

4. What inspired you to write the Eva/Annie friendship? A certain best friend? A longing for a friendship like that?
Their friendship is based on my friendship with two of my closest female friends--a couple of Annie’s lines (especially the one about manroots) are actually direct quotes from my friend Dika.
That's awesome! I love knowing when authors put pieces of their friends in books. It's such a sweet way to thank them.

5. Are there any plans for a sequel to Kissing in America?
I wrote it as a stand alone novel, but who knows? Maybe Eva will demand a sequel at some point!

6. I read that both of your parents passed away when you were young, and I’m very sorry for your loss. What advice do you have for kids/teens who have lost a parent?
The thing that helped me most was reading books, and fiction was actually more helpful to me than traditional “self help” books about grief, because fiction often portrays experiences with more honesty and complexity. After my father died, I devoured both Judy Blume’s Tiger Eyes and Alice Munro’s short stories--extremely different writers, but their work was enormously comforting.
I completely understand. While I've never lost a parent, my cousin died when we were both in eight grade. Self-help and counseling books never helped, but reading about characters going through similar events really helped me feel like I wasn't the only one going through something bad.

A Pinterest-Inspired Collage Based on Kissing in America


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Sunday Street Team


  1. This was an amazing interview! And you had such unique questions :) So sorry to hear about your loss (And Margo's) but I'm glad to know that books have always, ALWAYS helped people-some way or the other.

    Rhea @

  2. Awe. Thank you, Rhea! I sometimes over-think when I interview authors, but in the end, I'm always really happy with my questions. I'm glad that others are too! :)

  3. Great interview! I am so excited for this book. I really need to get to it!

  4. Thanks, Emma!

    I loved this book. I was so surprised by how much I loved it, but it's such a good book. I hope you enjoy it. :)


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