I’m super excited to share with you today an interview with the wonderful Amanda Ashby! Her new book is out tomorrow, and it sounds amazing. If I was in the contemporary mood, I would be devouring this for sure. And trust me, once I found out that Amanda Ashby was the author of one of my favorite books (Zombie Queen of Newbury High) as a younger young adult, I might have fangirled even more. Let’s check it out!
About the Book
Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes and Noble / Entangled Teen
How to get over a heartbreak:
Step one: Eat your body weight in brownies.
Step two: Throw yourself into your dreams of becoming a famous writer.
Step three: Beg your (hottie) ex-neighbor to act as your fake boyfriend.
Step four: Skip step three unless you’re ready for some serious fallout.
After being dumped and humiliated over the summer, Cat Turner does what any sane girl would do. She asks bad boy Alex Locke to be her fake boyfriend and show the world (and her editor at the school newspaper) that she’s fine. Problem is, the more time she spends with Alex, the more she risks getting her heart broken. For real this time.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a swoony bad boy who will melt your heart, brownies, and witty banter. One, two, or all three might prove addictive…
Your main character, Cat, gets dumped over the summer and then decides in order to show that she’s perfectly fine, she needs to get the bad boy, Alex to play her fake boyfriend. Bad boys and fake boyfriends are common tropes in YA fiction, and certainly ones I loveeeeee – what are your favorite YA tropes to read and write about?
Great question – my favorite tropes to read are friends to lovers and (strangely enough) enemies to lovers! Perhaps I’m also very fond of fake boyfriends, mistaken identity, and yes – bad boys. As for writing, I normally always write about the boy/girl next door and the wrong side of the tracks!
This book seems like it mentions quite a bit about brownies, with our main character, Cat, seeming to find comfort in them – which I mean, who wouldn’t? Do you have a favorite kind of brownie?
Brownies are literally the only thing I can bake with the assurance that they will always turn out (I’m an Aries who always cooks fast with the temperature too high!). So I’ve long associated baking brownies for my family when they need a treat. As for myself, these days I can’t actually eat them because I’m sugar and gluten free. However, because I’m resourceful I do have a raw vegan brownie recipe that I make a lot – however I didn’t feel that Cat would find that quite as comforting so I gave her the regular kind!!!
You’ve written about so many different kinds of things in YA – from fairies to zombies to demons – has there been a subject or book that has been the most exciting or different to write? And what was it like to take on contemporary fiction instead of inserting some interesting fantasy into it?
Way back when I was a newbie writer I was aiming at Harlequin romance and not only were the books pretty bad, but I kept trying to sneak in magic to make the plots a bit more sparkly!!!! No surprises that they didn’t sell. However I eventually decided that instead of trying to take out the weird magic I should just write about it and target different publishers, which is how I ended up selling my first book. And that was pretty exciting because for the first time I felt like I was being authentically me. So, to answer the question, You Had Me at Halo was probably my most exciting book because I literally had no clue what I was doing or where the story was heading. There is something quite lovely about being clueless and just along for the ride!!!!
As for moving back to contemporary fiction, it’s actually been quite nice, though I can feel the tug back to paranormal gnawing at me (you have no idea how much self control it took to NOT make those brownies magical!!!!!)
You’ve also written many different kinds of fiction – YA, children’s, and adult fiction! Is there a way that you switch between your voices so easily?
This is almost embarrassing to admit but I really don’t change my voice at all! And I’m really not sure what that says about me as a writer!!!! I think because at the heart of all my stories is sweetness and humor and while obviously the older characters think very different thoughts to the younger ones, I do tend to approach all books the same way (which is saying a little prayer and asking the characters to play nicely with me!!!!!)
It says in your Goodreads bio that you have a degree from Journalism and English. Cat is pursuing a high school career in the newspaper. Did your degree have any help in writing this part of Cat’s life?
Definitely. In fact I would say that Cat is the person who I wish I was in high school. The truth was that back then I had no idea I would end up being an author. I was good at English but never wrote anything that wasn’t in the classroom and I only fell into doing Journalism and English at College because I couldn’t think of anything else to do. However I quickly realized journalism wasn’t a good fit for me when they said in week one that we could only write the truth!!!
Since this is Book Princess Reviews, do you have a favorite Disney character – if so, who is it and why?
Mulan!!!!!!! I love her so much – I did actually try and write a fantasy YA book once based on her – it’s still probably gathering dust on my hard drive! But that movie is just the best and usually I’m a person who HATES singing in movies but the song Reflection just gets me every time. Plus, Mulan had the best sidekicks. And now I think I need to go and watch it again!!! (And actually trope wise, I read a lot of regency books and girls dressed as boys is definitely one of my favorite tropes!)
“Please don’t tell my mom that one. She doesn’t need any more bad puns to put on her cards,” Cat said as Alex’s cell phone buzzed. He read the text message before looking up.
“You could tell her yourself—or not tell her, as the case might be. She wants you to call her.”
“What?” Cat said in surprise before dragging out her own phone and staring at the dead screen. She’d obviously played one too many games on it during math. “How did she even get your number?”
He shrugged. “I guess Joe gave it to her.”
“Oh.” It seemed Cat wasn’t the only forgetting Alex wasn’t her real boyfriend.
The darkening afternoon sky was a spectrum of blues as he held up his cell. “You can use mine.”
“Thanks.” She took the handset. The screen was cracked, and there was a fine coat of grease on the keys. She grinned at his screen saver, which was of Snoopy dressed up as the Red Baron. “Frozen and now Snoopy? I always knew you had a marshmallow heart.”
“Yeah. I’m a total softie,” his voice was light, but his knuckles whitened. Cat winced. Franklin had tarred and feathered him with the same brush they’d used for his parents. The worst thing was he seemed to believe it, too. Frustration gnawed at her chest.
How I am the only one who can see how amazing he really is?
Her mom answered on the second ring and explained she’d been held up in a sales meeting and it was going to run for another two hours, which meant she couldn’t pick Cat from school.
“It’s fine. I’ll hitch a ride with Nikki,” Cat said, promising to charge up her cell phone, eat some vegetables with her dinner, and on no account throw a house party.
“You’ll never guess what just happened.” Nikki came running outside, her eyes glowing and her cheeks bright.
“Mackenzie fell into a vat of glitter?” Cat suggested. “Or glue?” Alex added.
“Wrong. Parker just asked me if I wanted to grab a burger with him. Well, he said you guys could come, but I told him you were busy. Right. Right?” Nikki narrowed her gaze so there could be no misunderstandings.
“Right,” she agreed with a smile before recalling her transport predicament. “Go, have fun, and don’t tell him about the time you beat your brothers up. It will only scare him.”
“Duh.” Nikki grinned and went racing over to Parker, who was nervously chewing his lip.
“I can give you a lift,” Alex said once they were alone.
“Are you sure? I feel like every day I impose on you more,” she said, achingly aware of how close they were standing.
“What kind of fake boyfriend would leave his girl stranded?” He shrugged.
She tested out the words like a new flavor. Her body trembled in response and she nodded. “Okay, great.”
About the Author
Amanda Ashby was born in Australia but now lives in New Zealand where she writes romance, young adult and middle grade books. She also works in a library, owns far too many vintage tablecloths and likes to delight her family by constantly rearranging the furniture. Her debut book was nominated for a Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award, and her first young adult book was listed by the New York Public Libraryʼs Stuff for the Teen Age. Because she’s mysterious she also writes middle grade books under the name, Catherine Holt and hopes that all this writing won’t interfere with her Netflix schedule.
8 thoughts on “An Interview with The Heartbreak Cure’s Amanda Ashby!”
I thought this book was adorable. A lot of great characters, a sweet romance, a fauxmance to romance.
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*raises hand hesitantly* I am not on the brownie train, sorry.
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OH NO. You are not a brownie lover???? I’m not so much either. XD But it does sound really good right now. XD Do you have a favorite dessert?
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Sorry, I don’t like chocolate 😅 and I’m more prone to cheese and crackers than dessert, but some sort of pie or cheesecake would be my pick. You?
Ahhh the good old Fake Boyfriend trope. Sign. Me. Up.
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yessssssssssssssss. it gets us everytime, Rendz, everytime.
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There is just something about that trope *mushy heart eyes*