Author Kasie West Talks ‘Sunkissed’ and More!

[Note from Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora got the chance to chat with author Kasie West and ask her all about her new book. Take it away, Aurora]

Aurora: How long did it take you to write Sunkissed and what inspired it?

Kasie West: Which draft?? Lol The first draft of Sunkissed took me 3-4 months to write. But then I ended up re-writing practically the whole thing twice. So at the end of the day, it was probably closer to 7 or 8 months. I was inspired by summer camp. I love to camp. I especially loved going camping with my whole family as a kid and teen so I’ve always wanted to write a summer camp type of book. But I was also inspired by one of my very favorite movies: Dirty Dancing. 

What makes for a good young adult romantic tale?

Conflict. What is keeping the love interests apart? Why does the reader want them to get together? That is the simple answer. Answering those questions and navigating all the other subplots that come into play in the novel makes it a lot harder than it sounds. 

Which character do you relate to the most in this book and why?

I definitely relate to the main character, Avery, the most in this one. She is a peacemaker and a people pleaser, sometimes at the cost of her own happiness. I felt this way in high school. It’s funny I mentioned the word conflict in the last answer because that is exactly what I tried to avoid in high school. I had to learn to stand up for myself and I had to learn that the word ‘no’ is okay to use. I still struggle with that sometimes but I’ve gotten much better. Avery learns to stand up for herself as well, and I think it’s a good lesson for young people, especially girls, to learn.

I love that your books feature romance and realistic situations that a lot of us can relate to. What makes you love this type of writing?

It’s my favorite type of books to read. I’m drawn to these stories. And I learned early on in my writing career that we should write what we like to read. It’s a hard job, and that helps make it easier. I genuinely enjoy writing about family relationships and couple relationships. I love writing about falling in love. I love writing about friendships. I like exploring why people do what they do and say what they say. 

What’s up next for you in the bookish world?

I have another contemporary romance coming out with Delacorte in 2022 that I’m super excited about. I just finished the first round of edits on it and I can’t wait to share more about it in the coming months. 

Any favorite YA romance authors?

Oh, so many!! I rarely meet a YA romance that I don’t like. Jenny Han, Axie Oh, Miranda Kenneally, Julie Buxbaum, Brandy Colbert, Stephanie Perkins, Jennifer E. Smith, Maurene Goo, Jessi Kirby, Jenn Bennett, Sarah Dessen….I can go on and on.

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Aurora Dominguez

Aurora Dominguez is a high school English teacher, college professor and journalist in South Florida. Her work has appeared in The Miami Herald, Where Magazine and J-14 Magazine, all places where she worked as a writer and editor before going from the newsroom to the classroom. Her favorite days are "Caturdays," which she spends with a good book, her husband, Sebastian, and her cat, Luna. Her motto when it comes to reading: "No book left behind!"

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Aurora Dominguez

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