When I picked up Bree’s book, I couldn’t help but be curious about so many things (SO MANY QUESTIONS – but I mercifully asked less 😉 ) and Bree was gracious enough to humor me, so below is a set of Q+A we exchanged over e-mails!
WHICH IS THE FIRST SCENE THAT YOU WROTE? WHICH SCENE IS YOUR FAVORITE? WAS THERE A SCENE YOU REWROTE IN A BIG WAY, AND WHAT WAS THE ORIGINAL SCENE LIKE?
The first scene that I wrote was the very first scene that Hunter and Sonnie meet at Vaughn and Connor’s apartment after they have left the Brewery where Vaughn is giving Sonnie a hard time about the poetic sexts. And, actually that scene is a scene I rewrote in a big way because it was actually written from Hunter’s POV. We were in his head during the entire interaction, he was seeing Sonnie, Vaughn, and Connor’s relationship from the outside. I actually walked away from the story after getting that scene down for a while and when I came back to it and decided I wanted to develop that scene into an entire story, I was more intrigued with Sonnie’s side and I wanted to tell her story.
Honestly, I loved writing all the scenes between Sonnie, Vaughn, and Connor – just their day to day interactions messing with each other. But, my favorite scene to write is kind of spoilery: I really loved writing Vaughn’s scene when he confesses his feelings to Sonnie. I actually wrote that scene fairy early on in the process when I realized that he loved her (Vaughn actually wasn’t supposed to have a big part in the book, but obviously that changed once I started writing!)
SONNIE IS DEFINITELY ONE OF THE STRONGEST FEMALE CHARACTERS I’VE READ IN A CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE. I LOVED HER PERSONALITY. WHAT WAS THE PROCESS LIKE FOR YOU DEVELOPING HER CHARACTER? A BIG PART OF WHAT I LOVED ABOUT HER IS HER PASSION FOR WHAT SHE DOES. WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO CHOOSE HAIR STYLING AS SONNIE’S PASSION, AND DO YOU PERSONALLY KNOW A LOT ABOUT IT?
When I write characters, I tend to take little nuggets of personality traits from people I meet and exaggerate and expand them. Sonnie’s character began as a tiny piece of a friend of mine who is such a charismatic ray of sunshine. There is a lot of me in Sonnie when it comes to her passion for what she does and her relationships with her friends. I knew I wanted her to have strong relationships within the book, not just the romance, but with her friends and family because that’s what I love reading about. I also knew that reading characters who have drive and passion can be very inspiring for readers, so that was important to me.
I chose hair styling for Sonnie because I knew I wanted her to have some sort of artistic talent outside of writing poetry – something she could build as a career. I love doing makeup, but I’ve always been kind of terrible at doing hair. I do have a really good friend who is a hair stylist. And, actually, as I was writing this book, I forced my husband to grow out his hair and let me style it. I actually got pretty good at styling men’s hair. I’ve made my brother and a couple other guy friends of mine let me style their hair. I probably should have added them to the acknowledgments, hehe.
ANOTHER ASPECT THAT I LOVED ABOUT A SOUL FULL OF STARS IS MUSIC. HOW DID YOU DEVELOP SONNIE & HUNTER’S PLAYLISTS? DO YOU HAVE AN ACTUAL PLAYLIST FOR A SOUL FULL OF STARS, BESIDES THE SONGS MENTIONED IN THE BOOK?
I’m so glad you enjoyed that part of it! It was one of my favorite things to add to the book and I secretly hoped readers would listen to the songs in the book to see what Sonnie and Hunter were talking about. As a reader, I love little extras like that in books.
And, oh goodness, there is definitely a playlist for ASFOS. When I was first writing the book, I would record myself reading chapters to my sister and insert music clips into the audio files I’d send to her because she and I are very much music lovers and I knew she’d appreciate it.
To me it’s so obvious, but I don’t know that it is to others: Hunter’s character is based very heavily on Brendon Urie from Panic! At the Disco. His singing voice, some of his personality, a little bit how he looks, his stage presence. Almost all of the cover songs Hunter sings to Sonnie (Creep, Fix You, Starboy) are all songs that Brendon has covered either on livestreams or on radio shows.
ONE OF MY FAVORITE CHARACTERS IN THE BOOK WAS LYRA. I FELT LIKE THERE’S A STORY WAITING TO BE TOLD THERE. DO WE GET TO READ HER STORY? ALSO, I’M INTRIGUED, BECAUSE I DEFINITELY THINK THERE’S A LOVE TRIANGLE POTENTIAL BETWEEN HER, CONNOR, AND ZACH!
Oh, Lyra! She has a special place in my heart because she is loosely based on my sister (the one I dedicated the book to). When my sister read the book she underlined certain parts and was like, “this is so you and me.”
And YES! Lyra is absolutely getting her own story. She certainly has a story ahead of her! And no comment on the love triangle 😉
NOT REALLY A REAL QUESTION. . . MAYBE. HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THE BOOK? AND I’M MOST ESPECIALLY CURIOUS ABOUT HOW LONG IT TOOK YOU TO WRITE EACH OF THOSE INCREDIBLE POETIC SEXTS.
I wrote the first draft of the book in about 8 months, then the editing and rewriting was another few months. And then fighting with whether I wanted to actually pull the trigger and publish it was at least a month LOL! But, writing and publishing – even if it was self-published – has been #1 on my bucket list from the time I could form words out of letters.
Surprisingly enough, it takes me FOREVER to write a book. I have so many half-written stories in my files that I never finish! However, when it comes to poetry – and for this book, poetic sexts – I can write them in minutes. It’s almost like a purge for me. I can’t really write a poem on command, but if the emotions are there, the words just spill out.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE LINE IN THE BOOK?
Eek! This is a great question, but hard to answer! I’m curious to know what YOUR favorite line in the book is.
I think this might be mine, when read in context.
Dawn was breaking across my ceiling. I was breaking on the floor. How fucking poetic.
And on that last note, head on over to my full review if you’re curious what my favorite line/quote from A Soul Full of Stars!