Guys, I'm so excited to have the amazing Rachel Carter on my blog today for the So Close to You blog tour! I just read the book the other day, and it was such a refreshing twist on the YA genre with little touches of just about everything I love in YA lit. If you haven't heard about this book yet, read this synopsis, and I dare you to tell me you don't want to read it:
Lydia Bentley has heard stories about the Montauk Project all her life: stories about the strange things that took place at the abandoned military base near her home and the people who've disappeared over the years. Stories about people like her own great-grandfather.When Lydia stumbles into a portal that transports her to a dangerous and strange new reality, she discovers that all the stories she's ever heard about the Montauk Project are true, and that she's in the middle of one of the most dangerous experiments in history.Alongside a darkly mysterious boy she is wary to trust, Lydia begins to unravel the secrets surrounding the Project. But the truths behind these secrets force her to question all her choices--and if Lydia chooses wrong, she might not save her family but destroy them . . . and herself.
1. Please describe SO CLOSE TO YOU in five words or less.
Time travel. Mystery. Conspiracy. Love.
2. What, if anything in particular, inspired the story of SO CLOSE TO YOU?
My biggest inspiration was hearing about the real-life conspiracy of the Montauk Project. The idea that the government could be hiding a secret paranormal project in a small town like Montauk, New York, was so interesting! I started doing more research and the story kept developing from there. 3. Lydia is such a strong character, and she is so full of life. Did you want to make her an empowering female MC? .
I did! But I also wanted her to seem like a real person, and real people are not always perfect and brave and right. Lydia is a seventeen-year-old girl who has her world turned upside down, and she has to struggle to make sense of that. Does she always make the right decision? Not necessarily. But at the core she’s strong and determined, and that definitely helps her handle this strange situation she finds herself in.
4. What sort of research did you do to bring the alternate time period within SO CLOSE TO YOU alive?
I read history books. I googled my brains out. But learning facts about a time period is not the same as living in it – for example, in a hundred years, if someone looks back at 2012 they’ll see that Justin Bieber was number one on the music charts. But that doesn’t reflect a true spectrum of what teens are actually listening to. So the most valuableresearch I did was talking with my grandmother about what life was like during World War II. She taught me the slang, the songs that were popular, and sheeven showed me her old yearbooks.
5. Wes, though swoon-worthy, remains somewhat of an enigma. Will we ever get to explore his character deeper?
Oh Wes. Mysterious, frustrating Wes. Don’t worry - you’ll see a lot more of him in book 2, and you’ll start to learn more about his past and his personality. But I think a part of him will always remain a little bit mysterious and closed off…it makes sense given his past.
6. How did you choose the setting for SO CLOSE TO YOU?
The setting was pretty easy – the book is about the Montauk Project, which takes place at the end of Long Island. And when I visited Montauk for the first time, I fell in love with the beachy, small-town vibe. In a weird way it reminded me of where I grew up, which was also in aresort town (though a ski resort in Vermont!). I felt like I instantly understood the relationship between outsiders and locals that happens in vacation towns, and that helped me a lot with the setting.
7. What do you think makes SO CLOSE TO YOU stand out from the crowd in YA lit?
So Close to You blends a lot of different genres. It’s a little bit sci-fi, a little romance, a little history. I don’t think you can easily put it into any YA category!
8. What theme, if any, do you hope for readers to take away from SO CLOSE TO YOU?
It’s a theme that all three books in the series will grapple with: Is discovering the truth about something worth it if you can’t always change your fate?
9. Did you read books when you were younger that inspired a story of time travel?
I used to love the Caroline B. Cooney books – Both Sides of Time, and Out of Time. They were so romantic! I need to go back and read those again…
10. Is there anything else you'd like to tell your readers?
This has been such an amazing experience, and interacting with readers is definitely one of the best parts. Please feel free to email, tweet, or facebook me... I’d love to hear your thoughts on So Close to You!