[Note from Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora got the chance to chat with author Christine Riccio and ask her all about her new book!]
Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?
Christine Riccio: I have a super fun answer for this one — my parents’ divorce! More specifically, it was inspired by the different facets of myself and my siblings that were forged into being by that particular fire. Divorce has such a profound effect on everyone involved and I wanted to explore that in the most fun way possible. I had a brainstorm session and found myself thinking about the Parent Trap. Those girls were children of an insane divorce! I’d never thought of their situation in this particular light because I watched that film when I was so young; but, splitting up their girls and not telling them about one another?! What?! That’s a weird divorce situation. I ran with that and dug at it from new angles: what would this look like if the girls were older? What would this look like if the parent’s really didn’t belong together in the first place? Better Together began to emerge from there.
What character in this novel do you most relate to and why?
It’s so hard to choose because I relate to both leads in very different ways! Oof. I guess if I have to choose one I’d say Siri.
Why do you feel novels with powerful and unique characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?
This feels like an essay question! There’s so many angles to take on this. Short answer though: I think it’s because we’re all looking to understand and relate to one another on a deeper level! We’re all weird and troubled, even if we don’t like to talk about it, or share those sides of ourselves with the people around us. When we get to read about characters with similar eccentricities, issues, and quirks, on a first person level, we feel validated, seen, and understood. They help us accept ourselves and and understand the people around us.
Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from it.
Better Together is about two sisters, Siri and Jamie, who were separated at a young age when their parents divorced. Young Siri stayed with her Mom in New York and Young Jamie moved with her Dad to California. Now Siri is about to turn 19 and Jamie’s almost 21. They’re both going through the rough patch a lot of us hit in our late teens, early twenties: the quarter life crisis. They’re questioning every aspect of their identities and their futures.
After over 10 years apart, the sisters unexpectedly run into each other at a yoga retreat in Colorado. It’s quite the reunion. Once they’ve caught up, they decide to go back to each other’s respective homes to surprise their opposite parents. Obviously things don’t go as planned. You can expect romance! Messy family dynamics! A smidge of magic, and a fair share of mischief.
What’s next for you in the bookish world?
I’m outlining my third novel! I’m so excited to dive into the drafting process!
Who is your current favorite writer? Why?
I have so many! Romance wise, I love Colleen Hoover. Her novels have to power to swallow me whole with a single sentence. EVERY TIME. I can’t have one in my possession and not read it. Once I start it, I can’t get anything done until I finish it. Within the span of 300 pages I’ll fall in love, laugh hysterically, and sob my eyes out. Every book.
Any writing advice for aspiring writers?
Read all of the books, trust your gut, and write what you want to read!