KK: Hello, and welcome to the Ketch Character Interviews! And yes, I know, I sound very much like a talk show host right now, but that’s exactly what I’m going for. So, laugh and applaud all you want. Yeah! Come on! Make some noise! Okay, that’s enough. *Author Actions: Bits thumbnail to hold back laughter as crowd settles down.* I’m sorry, you all just look so silly for a moment there.
So, ah, moving on with the program, there’s a new book out as of August 6th. I don’t suppose you heard of it. *Stands on toes and shoves hands in pockets.* It’s called My Paper Heart, written by Magan Vernon. Yeah, it’s a New Adult genre – apparently that’s for audiences between their teen years and their adult years. *Pauses for audience laughter.* Interesting, right? But seriously speaking, it turns out that this new genre may be the next big thing in publishing. Anyway, My Paper Heart is available on Amazon, BarnesandNoble.com, and of course, Smashwords; if you haven’t gone and bought it already. In the meantime, I’m happy to announce we actually have Ms. Elizabeth Libby Gentry with us today, the girl whose story is being told in My Paper Heart. So let’s all welcome Ms. Gentry. Ms. Gentry, how are you?
ELG: Doing good, it’s weird to kind of be sitting in a blank white room, but you know I’ll get over it.
KK: Yes, well, it’s tough working with a small budget. It was either paint the walls or pay the interns. *Audience laughs.* At least the crew got us a few comfortable lounges for us in the meantime. But before we sit down, is there anything I can get you? Ice coffee, sweet tea, a hot, steamy plate of Blaine?
ELG: *Giggles* Oh, my, I don’t know how Blaine would feel about being spread across a plate. I swear he really is a southern gentleman… no matter what you may have heard from my co-workers.
KK: Yes, southern boys are said to be charming. I’ll just have my tech get you some sweet tea then. *Waves to someone behind the scenes, and then watches young man with headset bring Libby a clear, plastic tumbler with a cut out picture of Blaine taped on it.* Oh, my! It looks just like Blaine! *Holds up tumbler for audience to see.* My interns do quality work.
ELG: *Giggles* Oh I hope he doesn’t see this. He would be SO embarrassed.
KK: So, Ms. Gentry, why don’t you tell us a little about what your life was like in Chicago, before everything went spinning out of control and you were forced to move to Louisiana.
ELG: Well, it’s not Chicago, more like the suburbs. But, anywhoo, I grew up in the northern suburbs, lived with my parents and sister and was always forced in the back of the family picture because I towered over everyone. Then I went to college at Illinois State in Normal, IL – *Author, Magan Vernon, shouts ‘Go Redbirds!’ from somewhere in the audience.* – joined a sorority… and… well… that didn’t turn out so well…
KK: *Still sniggering at Magan.* Okay… We have some school pride out there in the audience, today. Speaking of school pride, I was in college once. Actually, I’m still in college, but not as an undergraduate, thank goodness. *Laughs out loud.* But I still remember those days. Freshman year is tough enough, but on top of it, to get a letter saying you were unable to meet the required 2.0 grade point average for two semesters and will not be welcomed back to University, that had to be hard on you. What was your initial reaction to such disappointing news?
ELG: Ugh, freshman year sucked, to put it mildly. After my first semester, I knew I effed up. College isn’t exactly the same as it looked in the movies and I couldn’t just skip class whenever I wanted and actually pass. I really tried to get my act together during my second semester, but it’s pretty hard to come back from a 1.19 semester. By the time finals came around I knew there was no way I was going to make a 2.0. I thought maybe my professors would take pity on me and give me a better grade, but when my final grades came in and my parents got the letter I’d been kicked out, I was done for. It was just waiting for their reaction that was the worst part.
KK: I can hear you on that. *Picks up copy of My Paper Heart.* So it says right here on the cover summary of the book that your parents’ response to this letter was to send you down to Elsbury, Louisiana. *Libby nods in confirmation.* A tiny town compared to the suburbs of Chicago. What were your first thoughts when you got to Louisiana? Were you looking forward to a new start at all? Maybe saw this as a chance to rebuild your life?
ELG: The only thing I knew about Louisiana was that vampires lived there. That hot, Swedish dude from True Blood isn’t bad and neither is Brad Pitt, but did you see Tom Cruise as a vampire? *Kelsey shakes head while muttering, “Not really a big vampire fan.”* That kind of thing can scar a girl for life.
On that note *big long sigh* I don’t know what I was looking for in Louisiana. My dad used to always tell me that you can’t learn to fly on paper wings you have to have a solid foundation. So as I went to rock bottom and had to go on remaking those wings I took what came to me and had to put the pieces of my life back together and learn to fly, again.
KK: On the subject of paper. In the book, you relate your heart to a piece of paper at least once, and of course it’s also the title of the novel. Beautiful metaphor, by the way. It’s a very lovely to think of the heart as fragile as a sheet of paper. But why use it? What was the significance to you specifically?
ELG: Paper is everything in my story- A piece of paper started it all. The piece of paper that said I was kicked out of Illinois State was like my heart. It was really just a fragile piece of paper that I could have easily pretended like it didn’t exist, but no matter what I did it was hard not to get it ripped.
KK: Well, whenever that happens to my paper heart, I just ask the interns to tap it back together. *Points to tumbler in Libby’s hand.* But I would say things started to change for you when you met Blaine Crabtree.
ELG: He is my wonderwall, plain and simple.
KK: Could you describe him a little to us? What’s he like, other than the perfect southern gentleman?
ELG: Blaine is everything a southern boy can be. On the outside he appears to be the big road crew worker with calloused hands, but on the inside he really just is a puppy dog. And who can resist a puppy dog with a big pair of blue eyes and his ab line…*swoon*
KK: Yes, who could resist. *Wiggles eyebrows.* So, what about college? Do you think you would ever go back someday?
ELG: *Shrug.* I don’t even know if a college would take me at this point.
KK: Ah, don’t say that, dear. They say things always work out in the end. *Pats Ms. Gentry’s knee in reassurance.* Unfortunately, that’s all the time we have. Ms. Gentry, it was a pleasure having you here with us.
ELG: Thanks for having me too, Kelsey. *Runs hands through KK’s hair.* By the way, I do have this shampoo you should totally try it out and maybe after you use the shampoo you can borrow my head band. OH and while we are at it, maybe we can get you some new shoes to go with the headband and… *Magan Vernon comes into the studio and drags Libby out by her headband while she clings to the plastic tumbler of sweet tea.*
KK: Ah, thanks for the save, Magan. *Tries not to burst out laughing with audience.* Alright, give it up for Ms. Gentry, we all wish you the best of luck! Oh, and Ms. Gentry, you can keep the tumbler as a souvenir. *Looks at audience shaking head.* We lose more tumblers that way. *Pause for more laughter.* Well, I hope you all reading at home enjoyed this post, and be sure to check your local online bookstores for My Paper Heart to read more on Ms. Gentry’s experiences. Have a wonderful day, everyone! *Insert your preferred talk show theme song here.*
MY PAPER HEART by Magan Vernon
Goodreads Summary: There are worse things in life than failing out of college- such as having your parents receive the letter that you’ve been kicked out.
Now to appease her parents self-proclaimed sorority princess Libby Gentry is packing up her Prada bag and heading to work for her great aunt’s antique store in tiny Elsbury, Louisiana. She’s pretty sure she can tackle the swamp and deal with her great aunt and tom boy of a little cousin, but what she doesn’t know is if she can handle the local town playboy, Blaine Crabtree.
As Libby’s feelings for Blaine grow, so does her need for acceptance and all of the insecurities she has kept inside are coming out. She may have survived the Louisiana swamp, but she may not survive Blaine’s reluctance to say the ‘L’ word. When Blaine finally commits to the three words Libby’s been waiting for, she only hopes they haven’t come too late.
**This book does contain some mild language and sexual content. It is meant for upper YA readers**