In Mia Garcia’s debut novel, Even If the Sky Falls, her main characters, Julie and Miles, learn the meaning of love at first sight and learn how one day can change your life completely. With a fast-paced adventure, plenty of sweet and romantic moments, and an incredibly intense ending, Even If the Sky Falls is a dazzling YA novel that teens are guaranteed to be excited about — and it comes out tomorrow, May 10th!
Synopsis of Even If the Sky Falls from Mia Garcia’s website:
One midsummer night. Two strangers. Three rules: No real names. No baggage. No phones. A whirlwind twenty-four-hour romance about discovering what it means to feel alive in the face of one of life s greatest dangers: love.
Who would you be if you had one night to be anyone you want?
Volunteering in New Orleans was supposed to be a change, an escape from the total mess Julie left at home and from her brother’s losing battle with PTSD. But building houses surrounded by her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions has Julie feeling more trapped than ever. In a moment of daring, Julie runs away, straight into the glitter, costumes, and chaos of the Mid-Summer Mardi Gras parade and instantly connects with Miles, an utterly irresistible musician with a captivating smile and a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. Together Julie and Miles decide to forget their problems and live this one night in the here and now. Wandering the night, they dance on roofs, indulge in beignets, share secrets and ghost stories under the stars, and fall in love. But when a Category Two hurricane changes course and heads straight for NOLA, their adventure takes an unexpected turn. And, suddenly, pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.
What inspired you to begin writing for young adults?
I don’t think I ever made a conscious decision to write for young adults. But Mia, you got an MFA in Writing for Children!?! And worked for Penguin Teen for 6 years!!? I know. Stick with me here.
When I’m starting a new story, I don’t set out to write a YA vs. Adult book or Contemporary vs. Fantasy. To be honest I set out to write my story and hopefully finish it before my frustrations make me fling my notebook across the room.
Eventually, there is a point where I go, “Oh, hey, this would be YA,” or, “Hey, that dragon makes this a fantasy,” but that doesn’t really change how I approach things. That being said, I have such a respect for the YA community (both writers, publishers, and readers); they are the most caring and supportive community I’ve ever met and had the pleasure to be a part of, both as a debut author and via my years working at Penguin Teen. I’m proud to be part of this community and excited to continue to meet more people within it.
Have you always envisioned that you would be a writer, or did you ever think of pursuing another career?
I always thought being Indiana Jones would be pretty cool. Still do a bit. But I was always that person lost in thought, creating worlds and plots when she should’ve been paying attention to whomever was talking. (This still happens, and I’m sorry in advance for going, “Wait, what did you say?”) I remember my Theater teacher telling me that when he looked at me he could tell I was lost in a different world I was creating. It wasn’t until college that I understood that I could and should pursue my writing more and just embrace everything that I loved.
Do any of the main characters in Even If the Sky Falls reflect the personalities of yourself or people you know?
Yes. There are bits of me and people I know or have met over the years in almost every character in the book. But only small pieces; no character is a straight recreation of anyone. For example, Miles and I share a love for Eddie Murphy films and scheduling. Julia and I share a love of desserts and have a difficult time speaking up. Taj and Julius have the confidence I wish I had, etc.
How did you come up with the idea to locate Even If the Sky Falls in New Orleans?
I had just come from a trip to New Orleans when I met with my awesome editor Maria. We started talking about NOLA and all the fantastic things I’d seen and people I’d spoken with, and the story sprung from there! I tried to include as many of the places I interacted with in the book because I could draw from my time there. I did manage to miss a few places like the cemeteries — which is why they aren’t in the book — so I’m hoping a future trip will fix that issue. 😉
Some of the characters’ backgrounds are saddening and intense in your novel. Are any of their home lives similar to yours when you were growing up?
Let’s see, Miles is a combination of the conversations I had with the people of NOLA and myself. I pulled a lot from my own fears, worry, and confusion for both Miles and Julia. I definitely share both Julia and Miles’s sense of family loyalty and need to fix things. Though I’m the youngest of four kids, there’s a ten-year gap between my older sisters and myself, so sometimes I felt like that middle child trying to fix everyone and keep everyone talking. I mined a lot of my past, like the feeling of being pulled into my school administrator’s office because my parents hadn’t paid the school bill that month and my deep sense of guilt when they took out another loan and mortgage on our apartment to send me to college. But what I ended up working with the most came out of the blue: As I was writing and editing this novel, I had a big family health situation that pretty much rocked my family to the core, which is as much as I can say at the moment. That feeling of being lost in a situation you have no control over, wanting to give everything of yourself, but at the same time run far far away from it because you could feel your feet give way beneath you…yeah, I was quite familiar, and am still very familiar with that feeling.
When you are not writing, what types of activities do you participate in?
I probably watch way too many movies and TV, but I can’t help it! Once I’m in, I’m in. I also love to bake, crochet, Tumblr (IT COUNTS), and I’m trying to get back into photography. I have yet to master the Instagram photo. I have no idea how people take those beautiful shots of books with a cup of tea, and like a flower, and everything is color coordinated and catalog ready. HOW DO YOU DO THAT? Oh, is planning for your future dog an activity?
If you had to live in one fictional world for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Uh…does the Food Network count as a fictional world? Like I would totally live in a world where the only wars were Cupcake Wars and everyone always has just the ingredients they needed for that day’s recipe in their fridge.
What authors or books have impacted your writing the most?
God, these questions are intense. Why is it the second someone asks you what your fave book or writer is, the only thing you can think of is “Oh, god, I can’t remember a single book I’ve read.” I’m going to need a moment. *Moment passes* Going to need another one. *Another moment passes* OK. Here goes. Writers: Gabriel García Márquez, J.K. Rowling, Isabel Allende, Neil Gaiman, Diana Wynne Jones, Chris Claremont, Shirley Jackson, Rosario Ferré… the list goes on and on. Though for most of those it’s one single book. And I would also include people like Guillermo del Toro, Jim Henson, Wes Craven, etc, since I feel that as a writer I’m influenced by everything I consume and enjoy. A lot of my style, tastes, and loves are a combination of what I read, watch, and create.
Finally, what advice do you have for teens who hope to be authors in the near future?
JUST KEEP SWIMMING. I stole that from a fish, but it works. Actually, most of the following advice comes from other people, but it’s totally true, so there! Read everything. Even the genres you don’t like. Write even if it’s crap. It will be crap at first, then you edit, then it is less crap, then you edit again, and so on. Be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to do your work. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel. I stole that one from Tumblr, and it is totally true. I’m still working on that myself. If you find yourself in a community of authors, be supportive, celebrate with them, be happy for them.