Summer of Authors #10: Exclusive Interview with Pintip Dunn!

Hi guys! Last month, I had the wonderful opportunity to read and review Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn (in which you can find the review here!) and I loved it. Definitely one of the best thrillers I’ve read! I know have the amazing honor to welcome Pintip today on our blog, so I hope you’ll enjoy this special interview!


About Girl on the Verge31428017

From the author of The Darkest Lie comes a compelling, provocative story for fans of I Was Here and Vanishing Girls, about a high school senior straddling two worlds, unsure how she fits in either—and the journey of self-discovery that leads her to surprising truths.

In her small Kansas town, at her predominantly white school, Kanchana doesn’t look like anyone else. But at home, her Thai grandmother chides her for being too westernized. Only through the clothing Kan designs in secret can she find a way to fuse both cultures into something distinctly her own.

When her mother agrees to provide a home for a teenage girl named Shelly, Kan sees a chance to prove herself useful. Making Shelly feel comfortable is easy at first—her new friend is eager to please, embraces the family’s Thai traditions, and clearly looks up to Kan. Perhaps too much. Shelly seems to want everything Kanchana has, even the blond, blue-eyed boy she has a crush on. As Kan’s growing discomfort compels her to investigate Shelly’s past, she’s shocked to find how much it intersects with her own—and just how far Shelly will go to belong…

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Learn more at http://www.pintipdunn.com/gotv/

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Pintip Dunn

1. Why do you love writing? When did you first have a love for writing, and how was it formed?

I love writing because I feel like my truest self when I write. I’ve wanted to be an author ever since I was six years old, but I didn’t write my first book until the first year after college (which was many years ago!) 

2. What are your favorite books, genres, and authors? Which ones have impacted you and your writing style the most?

I love all books and will read anything, but I have a particular affinity for young adult and romance. I’m a big fan of Suzanne Collins, Stephenie Meyer, Gillian Flynn, Orson Scott Card, Kristan Higgins, and of course, JK Rowling. I could go on, but those authors have written my favorite books. Reading Suzanne Collins’ books taught me the most about the craft of writing, and Stephenie Meyer’s The Host showed me the kind of books I want to write. 

3. What do you do when you’re not writing? Is writing a part-time or full-time job?

I have three kids, which is the equivalent of a full-time job! I used to be a lawyer, but I no longer practice.  31428017

4. Your newest book Girl on the Verge just released on June 27th, and it revolves around Kan, a Thai-American girl living in a small town in Kansas, but she feels like she’s stuck between the worlds of her Thai ancestry and her surrounding American culture. Are there any parallels between you and Kan? Were any of her experiences and feelings based off of any you’ve had before?

Absolutely. I was a Thai-American girl who grew up in a small town in Kansas, so a lot of Kan’s feelings of not belonging were derived from my own experiences. At the same time, however, I want to emphasize that the feeling is where the similarity ends. Kan’s story is wholly fictional and was born entirely in my imagination! 

5. Since Girl on the Verge is a YA thriller that has so many twists and turns, did you ever surprise yourself as you wrote the book? Without giving away any spoilers, did you always have the ending in mind, or did it evolve as you revised the drafts?

It definitely evolved! My characters are constantly surprising me as I write, and I find those are my favorite parts of a book, when I follow the path that a character takes me! To answer your question, no, I did not have that ending in mind!

6. Why do you think it is important to have racially diverse main characters such as Kan in YA fiction and to portray them accurately?Pintip

I think this is so important. When I was growing up, I never read any books with any diverse main characters. I accepted it as a matter of course, but I think this contributed to my feelings of marginalization and not belonging. It was easy to feel like an alien from outer space when that’s what the lack of representation in books and media told me. It’s not a feeling I would want any child to have. An accurate representation in stories can go a long way toward combating this feeling of erasure. 

7. You are also the New York Times bestselling author of the Forget Tomorrow series! What was your world-building process for the dystopian society in the books?

I started that series with an idea for the world. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could send memories back to our younger selves?” I asked. The world-building happened slowly and organically. Instead of trying to build the entire world in one day, I fleshed it out over the course of months. There were also some setbacks and revisions before I got to the world that is presented in these books now. 

8. I would like to that I am super amazed that you graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University! That is an amazing achievement. What are some of your favorite or funniest memories from your time as a student? What is your favorite thing about Harvard?

I loved, loved, loved my time at Harvard. I learned so much, and I made some of my best friends there. My favorite memories are probably from my freshmen year. I lived next door, across the hall, and caddy corner from my people who would become my lifelong friends — including my husband. We had so much fun. Every night, we would stay up from anywhere between 3 am and 6 am, just talking and laughing.

9. What is your favorite time or place to read and write?

I do most of my reading at night, after the kids go to bed. I prefer to write early in the day, before my mind gets too cluttered with the events of the day. I can do read and write anywhere, but most of the time it is on a recliner (to support my neck and shoulders) on my cell phone.

10. What was your reaction whenever your books receive awards, including your debut novel Forget Tomorrow winning a RWA RITA award?24804505

It was absolutely surreal to win the RITA and have Nora Roberts present me with the award. I have been a fan of Nora’s for over 20 years, and I have read over 100 of her books. It was just…mind-blowing to hear them announce my name at the ceremony. I almost fell out of my seat, literally. I was lucky enough to be sitting with my husband at the ceremony, along with my agent, Beth Miller, and my dear friends Meg Kassel and Denny Bryce. It made the moment very special for me to know that I was with people who were unequivocally rooting for me.

11. Your upcoming novels Seize Today (the third book in the Forget Tomorrow series) and  Fit to Die are slated to release, respectively, in October 2017 and sometime in 2018. What can we look forward in your next books? Are there any secrets you would like to give us about each of them?

I just finished my edits for Seize Today! This book has a very special place in my heart — gah, they all do! ST is about Olivia and Ryder, and those people who have read the FT series will be familiar with them. Fit To Die is a book I wrote with pure passion burning inside me, and it was the very first book I sold. For a long, long time, it was my favorite book of the ones I’ve written. But now, I’m afraid there are many other books competing for that spot! It will be amazing to be able to share it with the world.

12. Do you have any tips to any aspiring authors or writers?

Persist. It took me 15 years, 6 books written, and 3 books on sub to sell my first book. I’d received 150 rejections over the years. But if I’d given up after any of those rejections, I wouldn’t be where I am now, and my dreams wouldn’t have come true.
Thanks so much, Pintip, for coming onto the blog! Amazing answers!

About the AuthorPintip

Pintip Dunn is a New York Times bestselling author of YA fiction. She graduated from Harvard University, magna cum laude, with an A.B. in English Literature and Language. She received her J.D. at Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the YALE LAW JOURNAL.

Pintip is represented by literary agent Beth Miller of Writers House. Her novel, FORGET TOMORROW, won the RWA RITA® for Best First Book. In addition, it is a finalist for the Grand Prix de l’Imaginaire, the Japanese Sakura Medal, the MASL Truman Award, and the Tome Society It List. THE DARKEST LIE was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her other books include GIRL ON THE VERGE, REMEMBER YESTERDAY, and the forthcoming SEIZE TODAY.

She lives with her husband and children in Maryland. You can learn more about Pintip and her books at www.pintipdunn.com

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Happy Reading!

+ J.M.J.

~ Kester

Do you have any thoughts or questions?

Comment below, or find me in one of my social media pages, and let’s chat!

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