{Interview + Event Giveaway} Emery Lord, Author of OPEN ROAD SUMMER

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OPEN ROAD SUMMER is the first book I read in the genre being featured during A Week of Shooting Stars. I absolutely adored it, and have been chasing after books I can love as much ever since, starting the summer-reading binge that created this event concept! So thank you, Emery Lord!

An interview with
Emery Lord

Emery Lord is a 20-something Midwestern girl who writes stories about high school and best friends and weird families and the crushes that make you feel combustibly alive and also more awkward than you thought was possible. If you're not sure how to pronounce Emery, try slurring the name "Emily," and that will get you really close.     

She lives in Cincinnati in a 100 year-old pink row house with her BFF/husband, a closet full of dresses, and lots of books. If karaoke-ing in grocery store aisles or guzzling coffee while impulse shopping were illegal, Emery would be writing her overemotional YA books from jail. Also, she makes up words sometimes. Like combustibly.
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What inspired you to write OPEN ROAD SUMMER?

On three different occasions, I passed country music summer tours on the stretch of highway between Columbus and Cincinnati, Ohio. The last time, it was while listening to the Mike Posner song Cooler Than Me. I never would have guessed I'd write something relating to country music because...I've actually never even been to a country concert. But I wanted to write about Middle America, so it was a natural fit. Other inspirations were my own lifelong best friendship, grief, and wanting to see a female narrator who pushes back at the reader a little. 

In your head, what singers come closest to bringing the sound of singers Dee and Matt into reality?

I know a lot of readers reference Taylor Swift, which I totally see- she's a 17 year-old country singer. But the singer/songerwriter I listened to most by FAR while writing Dee was Nicolle Galyon. Her music has this folk and country blend, both earnest and articulate. In the years since I wrote ORS, she's had big hits with "Automatic" and "When We Were Us," plus a bunch of tracks on Miranda Lambert's new record. I root for her so much...her music was such a personal part of my writing experience and how I see Dee as a character. 

Matt's voice sounds, in my head, most like Ben Rector, who's also a Nashville artist but not a country singer. His song "When a Heart Breaks" has the tone I'd imagine "Human" would have ^_^ But the rest of his kind of musical vibe is Mat Kearney, with some Matt Wertz and Matt Nathanson thrown in. Can you guess why he's Matt Finch? ^.~ (Also because of Matt Lauria.)

Did you ever want to be a “star” growing up? What was your dream?

Definitely not a star, no. I play the piano and the saxophone, and I sang in choir, and did theater too. But the weird thing is: I love musical, creative pursuits, but I don't like performing. I love playing the piano, but I only do it when no one else is home. I love singing, hated solos. I loved acting; preferred dress rehearsals to actual performances. This is why writing suits me. That was my dream. I get to hone my craft in private, and I don't have to perform! ^.^ 

Who is your celebrity crush?
Celebrity crushes come and go. Book boyfriends (PRINCE CHAR) are forever.

Do you have a favorite movie or book about a star encounter?
I'm such a sucker for Notting Hill. In hindsight, I think it was probably a subconscious inspiration for ORS...friendship, a hesitant love story, and a narrative that is intentionally showing a celebrity as a human being violated by the media.

If there was a soundtrack to your life, what would be on the playlist?

Oh gosh, I could NEVER narrow that down. It would be hundreds-long- songs tied to specific time periods, specific people.

Do you have a personal theme song?

I have lots! Some are permanent and always a few current. Permanent: "American Girl" by Tom Petty,  "Modern Love" by David Bowie, I could go on and on...^.~

Did you listen to anything in particular while writing OPEN ROAD SUMMER?

I have playlists for everything I write, organized by scene or chapter or, sometimes, by character. They're my reference point for the tone of what I'm writing and where my characters are, mentally. For ORS, you can find all the characters' playlists (in chronological order of each of their emotional arcs because I am an insane person) here!

O F F I C I A   I N F O:

Author: Emery Lord
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Walker / Bloomsbury

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. 

But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. 

A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes.


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