I recently had the honor of interviewing the fabulous Ginna Moran and reading her latest book, If This Was a Movie. It is her first YA contemporary and I just loved it. Here is a bit about the book, and after the interview, you can head over to her site and check it out! (links below)
If This Was a Movie by Ginna Moran
If This Was a Movie is a wonderful YA contemporary about a young woman finding the courage to own her personal truth and discovering the freedom in expressing it. Nora Novak has a painful past back home in Texas that she doesn’t want to remember, so when she is thrust into a new life in Beverly Hills, moving in with her fabulous, loving, nurturing aunt, she chooses to shut the door on it forever…and lock it tight. But when Nora starts dating up-and-coming movie star Eli Evans and his celebrity status thrusts her into the limelight, Nora’s resolve is challenged. Her secrets begin to wreak havoc on her new life and loving new relationship and she is forced to take another look at how she wants to live her life and what will make her happy, learning that secrets always find the light of day and also shine light on the truth – bad and good.
This was a super fun read for me because I loved diving into Nora’s fun, new, celebrity life. The world was real (having lived in it) and the characters were very likable and real as well. I loved how Nora stood her ground, respected herself and took time to discover how she wanted to proceed in each new situation. I also loved that she had some amazing adults in her life, and I particularly loved the message of one of the adults at the end, but you’ll have to read it to find out. No spoilers here!
I definitely recommend If This Was a Movie for those who love romance, celebrity, new adventure and personal self-discovery. It really was great to have such a strong female main character! Oh, and I also loved Nora’s best friend– fun, funny, over-the-top, willing to take risks and be a goofball – and their friendship. Learn more about this fab summer read below!
Interview with Ginna Moran
Tell us about your writing career. How long have you been writing? What inspired you to start writing books? What books have you written? I’ve been writing for fifteen-ish years since I started as a young teen. I didn’t become serious about writing until starting college and getting my first laptop that I could sit with for long periods of time. I don’t know exactly what inspired me to write books, only that I’ve always known I wanted to. I wrote six books before publishing my debut novel, Destined for Dreams, in 2014 and am now about to publish lucky number 13 (Diving Under: Spark of Life Book 1) at the end of June. I currently have three completed series (YA paranormal), including the Destined for Dreams series, the Finding Nate series, and the Demon Within series. If This Was a Movie is the first novel in my YA contemporary romance Falling into Fame series, which will be a series of companion novels featuring different characters. You can find more information about my books here.
Are there any authors that inspire you to write? If so, please tell us about them. One of my authorly writing inspirations/influences is Kiersten White (Paranormalcy, Mind Games, And I Darken). She was a local author to me when I lived in San Diego in my early twenties, and I attended several of her early signings with her debut novel. She always had words of encouragement for me, and it helped me to never give up trying.
What was your first book and what inspired you to write it? My first completed manuscript was titled Amethyst Eyes and was a YA vampire horror novel. It was awful and will never see the light of day, but I was obsessed with Anne Rice in high school and really wanted to write about vampires. My first published novel, Destined for Dreams, came to me in the shower (I do a lot of plotting there), and when I got out, I grabbed my phone and wrote, “Girl creates nightmares and discovers a boy in the head of one of her victims.” From there, the world came to life and Destined for Dreams was born.
Why do you write for YA? I love writing about firsts—to experience something for the first time is something almost magical. First love, first kiss, first heartbreak, first time driving, first day of high school, first dance, first serious decision, first loss of something important. It’s the firsts that leave an impression and mold us into the people we are as adults. I love the journey to adulthood and how complicated and beautiful it is.
This is your first YA contemporary novel. What inspired the switch to contemporary? And how do you like it? I always let the story idea guide me, and it just happened that ITWAM turned out to be contemporary. I’ve always read wide in YA, so I knew I’d enjoy writing contemporary and have a few more novels planned in the genre.
How does writing a contemporary book compare to writing other genres in YA? For me, it was nice change of pace. It was like writing a save-the-day versus save-the-world scenario. More internal problems compared to outer ones.
What inspired If This Was a Movie? In 2015, I had to rely on family and friends to get through one of the toughest times in my life. During that time, I stayed at a family friend’s condo in Beverly Hills for a few weeks, so the setting itself inspired the story. There was a bakery in walking distance from where I stayed, and I just thought it would be really cute to write about a first date that took place there.
Which character do you relate to most in the novel and why? Taylor. I’m a big dreamer like she is.
Which character was the most fun to write and why? Apart from Nora and Eli, because I just loved writing them falling in love, my favorite character to write was Taylor. She’s just an over-the-top, embrace-the-moment, who-cares-what-anyone-else-thinks type of person, and I love that about her.
What do we have to look forward to in contemporary YA fiction from Ginna Moran? I have two more YA contemporaries coming out this year. The first one is Life After Lila (July 25, 2017), which follows seventeen-year-old Coco Caraway’s journey after losing her best friend in a car accident that leaves her physically and emotionally scarred. My second YA contemporary, Strike a Pose (September 26, 2017), is book two in the Falling into Fame series. It features seventeen-year-old Sage Meadows as she finds herself in the spotlight after falling for the son of a legendary musician she meets at a charity gala. I’m thrilled about the release of both and can’t wait for everyone to read them!
Is there a particular actor that inspired Eli or any of his famous friends? Eli Evans was not inspired by any actor in particular, but Hugo Gutierrez was inspired by a young Oscar Isaac. Cara Delevingne influenced the character of Eva Devereaux, whom you’ll also see again in Strike a Pose.
Nora had a couple of very solid adults in her life that supported her and gave her helpful, loving advice. Did you have an adult in your life growing up that was a rock for you? If so, can you tell us about that person? Or a person that inspired these characters? My mom and older sister were my rocks growing up. They helped me get through some pretty tough times as a teenager while also letting me find my own path. The person who inspired Aunt Jen, Nora’s rock, was my mother-in-law, who’s been so supportive to me since I met her at eighteen.
Do you find any parallels between teen celebrity life and regular high school life? One of my favorite scenes from If This Was a Movie was between Nora and a fan, when the fan tells her that she can relate to Nora because she knows what it’s like to be talked about. I think (at least for me) that there’s a lot of truth to that. In high school, you feel like you’re in your own spotlight, because you are the star of your life. And rumors and gossip are pretty universal, so there is that parallel between the two.
When and where do you like to write? Can you tell us about your process? I write late at night, usually after midnight when everyone’s in bed. As for my process, I’m what you’d call a “pantser” because the most plotting or outlining I do is maybe a paragraph on my phone. The rest is all in my head, figuring things out as I go. I tend to do a lot of rewriting after the first draft, and if I’m writing a series, I tend to write them straight through or very close together. A lot of times, I don’t even have set-in-stone character names until well into a book, but I do always know the ending.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Anything within the realm of YA, but I do occasionally read urban fantasy, paranormal romance, and adult women’s fiction/contemporary romance.
Name a book or two you’re looking forward to reading this summer. With You Around by Nikki Godwin (Drenaline Surf Series #4, which is YA surf fiction) and basically anything beachy and summery.
Name a book or two that you’ve read recently that you’d recommend to YA readers for the summer. Chasing Forever Down by Nikki Godwin, since I mentioned I’m looking forward to the final book. It’s got hot surfers, road trips, beach adventures, and the best friendships ever. It’s the ultimate beach read, and it’s currently free! I also really enjoyed White Raven by J.L Weil for paranormal fantasy lovers. It had all the snark I love in an MC and a brooding hot guy as the love interest. Super addicting.
In an alternate universe, if you weren’t the fabulous author that you are and could have any other job in the world and be fabulous and successful at it, what would it be? Oh, this one’s easy. A professional mermaid. I promised to do some classes in L.A. with my daughter when she learns how to swim well enough, so this is still a possibility, haha.
Thanks so much for interviewing me!
Looking for your next summer read? Right here! If This Was a Movie is available at:
Where to find Ginna: