When You Were Here Tour: Daisy Whitney Interview & Giveaway

Monday, June 3, 2013



Guys, I'm insanely excited today because I get to participate in an incredible promotional tour for Daisy Whitney's stellar new young adult contemporary novel, When You Were Here, which releases tomorrow, June 4, from Little, Brown. In case you missed it, check out my review of this awesome book here.

This was such an exceptional read for me and, as someone who has notoriously suffered from a general aversion to the contemporary genre, I think it's safe to say it means something when a book really makes me feel something. So, without further ado, please enjoy Daisy Whitney's awesome interview about the character of Holland, a complex, tricky and, ultimately, heart-winning character.

Q: Holland, though a secondary character, plays an extremely important role in Danny's emotional healing. How did you balance Danny's healing process with that of Holland's?

Her healing process comes in what’s unseen and what she’s gone through over the last year before the story starts. When we meet her, she’s already begun to heal and that’s why she’s able to reach out to Danny many times, even though he’s not ready for her for a long time. But they both need to restitch themselves from the past wounds if they have a chance of being together.

Q: When writing Holland's character, did you know immediately that you wanted her to be a driving force behind Danny's journey to find peace, or did that sort come about along the way?

I always intended When You Were Here as a story about the kind of once-in-a-lifetime love you can find when you’re a teenager, so yes, Holland was always part of the plan, and even though her character changed in revisions, my endgame for her was always the same. (Readers can find out what that endgame is!)

Q: Holland could easily have become a jaded shell of a character after the circumstances she has to endure. How did you manage to keep her relatable, sympathetic and every bit as worthwhile as the protagonist, Danny?

It wasn’t always easy! She was a bit of a flippant, flirty, cold-fish-hot-fish in the first draft! But by diving into the backstory of when they were first together and showing more of those scenes, I was able to get at the heart of her character and why she fell in love with Danny. But since Danny doesn’t always see what’s in front of him, she needs to try harder to connect with him and she does that by going to his house, by offering to cover for him if he wants to skip graduation, by bringing him Chinese takeout, by trying to tell him why she broke up with him (though he cuts her off), and by continuing to reach out while he is in Tokyo.

Q: Holland is actually a very brave and selfless character, but we don't immediately see these traits. What was the meaning behind leading us to believe one thing, then revealing more and more later?

Because that’s how Danny experiences her. Because the truth of why she left is explosive and has been hidden from him intentionally.

Q: Is Holland's persona based on someone in real life, or was she simply the perfect counterpart for our broken protagonist?

Holland started with an idea, an archetype - the girl next door that the boy is madly in love with. She was molded and sharpened from that clay, but at heart, she is the girl who has always cared for Danny ever since they were kids, and the girl who still cares for him.

And, for your viewing pleasure, here is a never-before-seen video of Daisy in Japan!


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Last, but certainly not least, the generous folks at Little, Brown and Daisy Whitney have offered up five finished copies of When You Were Here for my lucky readers. This awesome giveaway is open to all residents of the US (no PO Boxes, please!) Simply fill out the Rafflecopter to enter! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

24 comments:

  1. Oh wow Holland sounds like a fascinating character. I like how Daisy went about creating her character, with only giving us glimpses into her character. And left us discovering more of her character as the book progresses. When you Were Here sounds like a gorgeous read Melissa. After this fab post you have certainly convinced me to give it a try! :)

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    1. Holland was SUCH an amazing character, Jasprit! Seriously, she was an enigma for a large chunk of the book, and she was utterly unlikable, but as she transforms, she becomes an incredible part of why this book succeeds :)

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  2. Great interview!! Holland sounds like a great character. I love that there seems to be a lot of depth to her. This book sounds fabulous too!! Definitely on my TBR list.

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    1. I hope you end up loving When You Were Here, Amy! I really did! :)

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  3. So excited for this one Melissa! I have a copy of this book on my shelf and I'm dying to read it. It will be my first Daisy Whitney book:) Holland sounds particularly interesting and layered, so I'm think I'm going to be intrigued. Fantastic interview!

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    1. Holland is such an awesome character. I thought I was going to hate her throughout, but she ended up being my absolute favourite. She's flawed in the best possible way :)

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  4. Great giveaway. Fingers crossed I win, but it sounds like I'll be downloading this one soon, anyway.

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    1. Good luck! At least there are 5 copies, right?! It's a fantastic book, and I want the whole world to read it haha

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  5. I love it when secondary characters turn out to be so much more! It sounds like Holland has a huge part to play in the book, so it's actually a surprise that she's counted as a background character. Well, this has definitely got me a lot more excited for the book! So far I haven't seen too many reviews, but When You Were Here sounds really interesting. Great interview, both of you. :)

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    1. Thank you so much, Megan! I really enjoyed this book, and Holland is such a real, tangible character. I hope you look into reading it!

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  6. It sounds like Holland is a complex secondary character - and I love it when secondary characters are fully fleshed out. It makes it all the more likely that the MC will be equally complicated and realistic!

    Nice interview, and thank you for the chance to win a copy :)

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    1. She really is an awesome character, Lea. Holland brings this story alive - and around full-circle :)

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  7. I remember your review on this book and you really loved it. I haven't read any book centered in Japan, so I'm really excited to discover that. And Holland sounds like someone i would definitely love. Thanks for the giveaway, Melissa :)

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    1. You're quite welcome, Aman! This is a really, really nice contemp, and as someone who doesn't love the genre, that's saying something...I hope you give it a go!

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  8. I SO want to read this book! I haven't read anything by her, though I do have her first book. This is one that has me super excited though, I think I'd love it!

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    1. I think you will, too, Candace! Here's hoping! :)

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  9. I'm looking forward to giving this a try after reading your review for it, Melissa. I haven't read any of Whitney's books though I do have a copy of The Mockingbirds sitting on my shelf. It'll be nice to have a book set in Japan. If I can't visit a place, at least I can read about it!

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    1. I think you'll enjoy this one! I didn't like The Mockingbirds, but this one really rocked for me...I hope it does for you, too :)

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  10. I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS! I'm waiting eagerly for my copy to arrive tomorrow and I hope I love it! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity and the fantastic interview, Melissa! :D

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    1. I hope you love it, too, Keertana! I think Daisy really succeeded with this book, and that's saying something because I didn't like The Mockingbirds at all!

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  11. (Been a bit since I've been by. New look is great!!) Oh this sounds like a great book, and a contemp you like! It must be good. I definitely have to read this one. Thanks for the insight into the characters and hosting the giveaway!

    Heather

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    1. Thanks, Heather! Yes, this book is really, really good...I highly recommend it!

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  12. Oh man, I loved this book! At first, as far as Holland was concerned, I wasn't sure how I felt about her - I felt super protective of Danny (like he needed it or something - I LOVE male POV's). But as more and more of Holland is revealed, I began to like her a lot, particularly toward the end. I loved Danny's feelings and thoughts about her from the beginning forward, though, and how open and honest he is about them - part of this is probably a result of his grief process and part of this is probably sheer anger at her. The combination affected how I saw her (love that!) and made for a great, great contemporary. So glad you liked this one, Melissa! The contemps can be tricky. I've learned to navigate myself around them pretty well over the past year.

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  13. What a beautiful interview! I wasn't curious about this before now, to be quite honest. But now I MUST read it. Holland sounds like such a phenomenal character. I can't wait to see how snippets of her are revealed... and her explosive secrets. Thanks so much for the interview, girls! :)

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