Sunday, April 29, 2018

Author Spotlight: Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny + Interview

Posted by Jenn Christensen at 9:00 AM
Alisha Sevigny holds a degree in Professional Writing and Sociology from the University of Victoria, is a film school graduate, former literary agent and hot yoga lover. A shameless romantic, Alisha and her husband have travelled the world together. On a trip to Panama she fell in love with the country, culture, and their national emblem, the Golden Frog and was inspired to write her first Young Adult novel, KISSING FROGS.
Her second book, SUMMER CONSTELLATIONS is about a young woman fighting to save her family campground while trying not to fall in love, comes out May 1, 2018 with KCP Loft.
Born and raised in Kitimat, British Columbia, Alisha has always had a strong connection to the environment and conservationist spirit. She now lives in Toronto with her family.
Title: Summer Constellations
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Author: Alisha Sevigny
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Publication: May 1st 2018
Cover Rating: 5/5
Reading format: Provided ARC

I am OBSESSED with all things galaxy/star related. I have recently fallen in love with a lot of Sci-Fi books when I used to stay away from them before. So, while I know this book isn't Sci-Fi, I just had to request Summer Constellations by Alisha Sevigny. Can you figure out why? Ha!

Julia is our main character. Right now she is at a point in her life where things should be looking up. Her little brother is finally recovering from a really bad illness, it's summer time, and she is excited to spend her summer at the campground her family owns, a campground that Julia and her family call home. Then, everything gets turned upside down because someone wants to buy the campground from her parents. Her parents that happen to be in mountains of debt and on the verge of filing bankruptsy from all the medical bills her brothers treatments have caused. Life SHOULD be looking up, not spiraling further down.

Enter Nick. Julia is out enjoying the stars one night and Nick happens to be the person she meets that night. He seems like a good guy who likes playing guitar. Too bad this good guy with a guitar happens to be the son of the man who wants to buy her families campground and turn it into a crappy casino. Too bas, as well, Julia doesn't know who he is when she meets him. She opens up to him about everything going on and she definitely would not have done that had she known who he was. I did not trust Nick the minute we were introduced to his character, for obvious reasons. My trust for him did end up changing when he proved himself a bit. I was definitely weary as to whether he would help Julia or make her life worse. Together, they come up with ideas to help the campground and hopefully one of them will be enough to save Julia's home.

This book is such an amazing story. It definitely isn't your every day summer contemporary. There are real problems and nothing about this story is perfect or ideal. But there is a really great romance and a lot of hope that you can just feel radiating from both of the main characters. I think this is the perfect book to read when you are looking for a summer read with more depth. There is a little bit of insta-love but I don't think it takes away from the story at all. It seems like more of a natural insta-love, in my opinion.

In the end, this book really took me by surprise. I am not HUGE into contemporaries. They all seem like a regurgitation of a previous contemporary with some name changes. But not this book. I found the authors writing to be a breath of fresh air and the story, while ordinary, was still extraordinary. If you are building a Summer reading list then please make sure this book is on it!

Overall, I gave the book 4.5/5 stars.




1) Where did you get the inspiration for Summer Constellations?
Lots of different places! The campground setting is taken from my childhood growing up in BC - we camped a lot - as well as my husband's family cottage in northern Ontario. I was going through a bit of an existential crises about the universe when writing this, something that can happen when you contemplate the night sky and our place in it. Like, what does it all mean and what are we doing here? The reader sees Julia struggle with some of these big universal questions as well. Despite all of that sounding a little intense, it's actually a fun and breezy read. ;)

2) Do you have any hobbies?
I love reading of course, and hot yoga, which makes an appearance in the novel - Julia's mother is a hot yoga teacher instructor and there's a steamy (literally) scene with Nick and Julia doing a hot yoga class. (I was doing my own teacher training at the time of writing the novel).  One of the great things about being a writer is all the research you get to do for your projects! I also got really into astronomy when writing this book. My latest interest is tarot reading, which plays a key part in my current work in progress.
3) How long did it take you to write Summer Constellations? 
It's difficult to say. At least a few years. I remember working on it when I was on mat leave with my son and it's just coming out. My son will be 4 in July. Of course not all that time is spent writing! There's a lot of waiting in the traditional publishing process. But this ensures you have a great product when your book baby is finally born. 

4) Have you ever had 'writers block'? If yes, what are some methods you found that helped you to get passed it?
I get writers block A LOT. Most of the time it's more like writers' resistance. Resistance to getting words down on the page, to committing to something that might suck. A lot of it stems from fear of failing, which can be crippling to anyone, not just writers. You just have to push through it. Some methods that help me are having awesome writer friends that motivate me to keep going, as well as the aforementioned hot yoga. It helps me get out of head (where I spend a lot of time ;) and back into my body, and reminds me to be present.

5) Are you currently working on any new books?
Yes! My next YA project is about a palm reader and her tarot reading psychic mother. It's contemporary, not fantasy, and has been fun to research (see tarot reading above ;). I also have an exciting middle grade project I will be announcing soon, once everything is signed, sealed and delivered, contract-wise ;) Stay tuned!

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