I’m so excited to have author Kate Brauning and her debut YA novel, HOW WE FALL, on the blog today! She’s got some really fun, exclusive content for us. (Scroll down for book blurb!)
I was lucky enough to get an ARC of HOW WE FALL, which I reviewed on Goodreads. It’s thrilling, emotional, fast-paced and un-put-downable. I may have cried a couple times.
One thing that features prominently in the novel are classic movies, so I decided to ask Kate a couple questions about how they found their way into HOW WE FALL.
- How did you personally get into classic movies?
When I was growing up, we frequently had family movie nights– something all seven of us could do together. But since my mother used to insist nothing good was made after 1960, that meant we watched a lot of classic movies. Musicals, especially. Men in suits, smoky bars, lavish parties with women in Grace Kelly gowns. Political intrigue, heady romance, subtle, character-driven stories. In some ways, I think it skewed my perception of adulthood, but I also learned to watch the stories carefully.
- So, in HOW WE FALL, Jackie absolutely adores her classic movies—is this characteristic, by chance, a reflection of you? Because she sure seems to know a lot of them, and a lot about them. 😉
I love a good story well-told, and that means there are a lot of classic and modern movies I love, but I particularly liked the classics for Jackie as a way for her to sort through her life.
As a teen (and even earlier), we watched Singing in the Rain, White Christmas, and The Sound of Music, of course, but also The King and I and My Fair Lady. The somewhat taboo relationships of those last two caught my interest even then. The boundaries and hurdles between the main characters fascinated me. Roman Holiday, actually, was another favorite of mine with a taboo love story, but I also really hated it the first few times I saw it. It enraged my optimistic teen self that the writers didn’t find a way for Princess Anne and Joe Bradley to be together. I thought it was ridiculously unfair, even though the tragedy of it makes more sense to me now, and I’ve learned to love an edge of tragedy in a story. I didn’t know it at the time, but even as a twelve-year-old girl my brain was gathering up material that would one day make it into How We Fall.
I also fell in love with Rear Window and Jimmy Stewart, and that was my introduction to Hitchcock, which was less my mother’s taste, but definitely mine. The symbolism and tragedy and obsession in Hitchcock’s work made a huge impression on me as a teenager, and I started looking for that in both my reading and my writing. I also learned to love sharp wit and black humor– Walter Matthau and Rex Harrison are always fun to watch, and to this day I don’t think I’ve seen anything funnier than William Powell’s Life With Father.
As an adult now, I usually like faster-paced movies (though some older films do have fast pacing), but just like I like to read widely, I also like to watch a lot of different types of movies.
- Why do you like them? Are your reasons the same as Jackie’s?
Great question. I gave classic films to Jackie as a way to think through her life, partially because the slower pace and the more traditional, old-fashioned lifestyle fits with what Jackie wishes she had. Her combined family is loud and chaotic, and living in an earth-sheltered home with somewhat hippie parents draws too much attention for an introverted, uprooted teen to enjoy. But as she digs into these movies, she starts to realize so many of those stories deal with the same things she’s working through, even forbidden or taboo relationships. The parallels help her figure out what she wants out of life.
What I enjoy in my favorite classic films is the same thing I enjoy about great story in general—a gripping character, sharp wit, and a story that makes me think.
- What’s your favorite film of all time, and why?
That’s about like asking me what my favorite book is. Narrowing it down is tough. One of my definite favorites, though, is Stranger Than Fiction, with Will Ferrell, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, and Emma Thompson. It’s has a fun angle on an author’s life, sure, but more than that, I love a story that works a character toward fully living life, and this one does it with unexpected depth and charm. I love the way it tackles the idea of killing of characters, too, and it’s so wonderfully funny and hopeful and thought-provoking.
Thank you so much for appearing on the blog today, Kate! I have to agree with you on Stranger Than Fiction. That’s one of my all-time favorite movies, too!
Now, Kate and I both have some additional, exciting news for you. I’ll be attending Kate Brauning’s launch party, and I hope to see you there! I’ll be there in person, giving and conducting interviews with Kate, author Nikki Urang, and other YA authors in attendance. Check out the details below and please come participate in panel discussions, goof around, and talk about YA!
All book lovers are invited to attend the launch party for How We Fall on November 10th, from 6-9pm central time. It’s being broadcast live over video, and 11 YA and adult authors will be discussing everything from writing a series to how they write love interests. They’ll also be playing games with the audience, taking questions, and giving away 100 books to guests attending online. It will be a fun and interactive evening for anyone who loves books and wants to spend some time with great authors. For more information and to sign up to attend, please click here.
Kate Brauning grew up in rural Missouri and fell in love with young adult books in college. She now works in publishing and pursues her lifelong dream of telling stories she’d want to read. This is her first novel. Visit her online at www.katebrauning.com or on Twitter at @KateBrauning.
Book Title: How We Fall
Publisher: Merit Press, F+W Media
Publication Date: November 11, 2014
Ever since Jackie moved to her uncle’s sleepy farming town, she’s been flirting way too much and with her own cousin, Marcus.
Her friendship with him has turned into something she can’t control, and he’s the reason Jackie lost track of her best friend, Ellie, who left for…no one knows where. Now Ellie has been missing for months, and the police, fearing the worst, are searching for her body. Swamped with guilt and the knowledge that acting on her love for Marcus would tear their families apart, Jackie pushes her cousin away. The plan is to fall out of love, and, just as she hoped he would, Marcus falls for the new girl in town. But something isn’t right about this stranger, and Jackie’s suspicions about the new girl’s secrets only drive the wedge deeper between Jackie and Marcus.
Then Marcus is forced to pay the price for someone else’s lies as the mystery around Ellie’s disappearance starts to become horribly clear. Jackie has to face terrible choices. Can she leave her first love behind, and can she go on living with the fact that she failed her best friend?
How We Fall is available through: