Author: Sarah Tomp
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Release Date: March 3, 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hosted By: Rockstar Book Tours
You say it was all meant to be. You and me. The way we met. Our secrets in the woods. Even the way it all exploded. It was simply a matter of fate.
Maybe if you were here to tell me again, to explain it one more time, then maybe I wouldn’t feel so uncertain. But I’m going back to the beginning on my own. To see what happened and why.
Luisa “Lulu” Mendez has just finished her final year of high school in a small Virginia town, determined to move on and leave her job at the local junkyard behind. So when her father loses her college tuition money, Lulu needs a new ticket out.
Desperate for funds, she cooks up the (definitely illegal) plan to make and sell moonshine with her friends, Roni and Bucky. Quickly realizing they’re out of their depth, Lulu turns to Mason: a local boy who’s always seemed like a dead end. As Mason guides Lulu through the secret world of moonshine, it looks like her plan might actually work. But can she leave town before she loses everything – including her heart?
The summer walks the line between toxic and intoxicating. My Best Everything is Lulu’s letter to Mason – though is it an apology, a good-bye, or a love letter?
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INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHORQ: What was your inspiration for this story (the setting, the moonshine, etc)?
A: The setting of My Best Everything looks a little bit like the town in Virginia where I lived during my teen years. It’s a beautiful place and I did plenty of exploring when I lived there. I rode inner tubes down the river, hiked and camped in the woods, and spent hours driving on all the many back roads.
As for the actual story, several ideas came together. It was always going to be a love story, and it was always going to be about drinking. The junkyard scenes were thanks to my son’s obsession with cars and taking things apart. I already had plenty of references to moonshine within the text, but it wasn’t until my kids watched Moonshiners on Discovery Channel and asked me if that’s what it was really like in Virginia that I started to wonder if my teen characters could pull that off.
I’ve decided that writing a novel is little bit like making moonshine. A bunch of ingredients are thrown into the pot and start fermenting. It gets kind of messy for a while, and things are thrown out, but eventually all of it works together to create the final product.
Q: Is there a particular message that you'd like your readers to walk away with or do you simply want them to sit back and enjoy a story?
A: When it comes to life, I have no answers, only questions! I think one of the most magical things about reading is that it’s a cooperative endeavor. The reader and the writer meet halfway, with each of them bringing something different to the experience. My greatest hope is that my readers finish my story and feel as though that was time well spent.
But… I also hope they ask more questions—about destiny, true love, crossing lines and breaking rules.
Q: Did you learn anything from writing this book?
A: I didn't know a lot about moonshine before writing My Best Everything. Pretty much everything beyond the tasting of it was all new to me. But the thing that truly surprised me was the importance and power of yeast to the process. I am now a bit of a yeast-geek!
Yeast is one of the deciding factors in a liquor’s taste and alcohol strength. Although these tiny microorganisms live all over the world, even on Antarctica, each strain has its own DNA and is regularly changing and evolving. Professional distillers have patents on their individual yeast strains and work hard to keep them from mutating significantly enough to change the taste.
Before moonshiners understood the science of the process, they sometimes had a fermenting stick that they used for each batch. They didn’t know why it worked, but they knew that stick made all the difference. The secret ingredient was the yeast that lived on it. The yeast would lie dormant all winter, and then come back to life when it was time to start making moonshine again in the spring.
Q: Besides writing, do you have any hobbies? What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I love free time! Unfortunately, I never seem to have enough of it! I love being outdoors, which in San Diego is a year-round possibility. I love camping and taking long walks. I watch my kids play sports. I’m a big fan of the beach where I am very good at lying on a towel and daydreaming. I also love to play with messy art supplies.
Q: Which author(s) would you consider a mentor or role model?
A: In some ways, every author I’ve ever read a book by is my mentor. Reading is such a fundamental key to writing! However, more specifically, I was taught by some amazing and generous authors through Vermont College of Fine Arts where I earned my MFA. I worked closely with Ellen Howard, Kathi Appelt, Tim Wynne-Jones and Rita Williams-Garcia. After graduation, I was also lucky enough to work directly with Margaret Bechard during an amazing and intimate retreat. Her brilliant guidance and insights were crucial to shaping Lulu’s story.
Q: Any fun and exciting news you'd like to share with your readers?
A: I’m just so delighted to have been a guest on your blog! Thank you for having me!
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|Photo by Roxyanne Young|