Today on the blog I’m sharing an interview I did with Courtney Summers, author of several books, including ALL THE RAGE. All the Rage was one of my favourite novels of the year and I was thrilled when Courtney agreed to do an interview with me.
All the Rage
Release Date: April 14, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Synopsis on Goodreads:
The sheriff’s son, Kellan Turner, is not the golden boy everyone thinks he is, and Romy Grey knows that for a fact. Because no one wants to believe a girl from the wrong side of town, the truth about him has cost her everything—friends, family, and her community. Branded a liar and bullied relentlessly by a group of kids she used to hang out with, Romy’s only refuge is the diner where she works outside of town. No one knows her name or her past there; she can finally be anonymous. But when a girl with ties to both Romy and Kellan goes missing after a party, and news of him assaulting another girl in a town close by gets out, Romy must decide whether she wants to fight or carry the burden of knowing more girls could get hurt if she doesn’t speak up. Nobody believed her the first time—and they certainly won’t now — but the cost of her silence might be more than she can bear.
With a shocking conclusion and writing that will absolutely knock you out, All the Rage examines the shame and silence inflicted upon young women after an act of sexual violence, forcing us to ask ourselves: In a culture that refuses to protect its young girls, how can they survive?
Q: The thing that stands out most about All the Rage is Romy’s voice. It’s brutally honest and Romy herself seems like an unlikable character (I of course loved her!). How did you develop her voice?
C.S: I’m so glad you loved her! Thank you. Romy’s voice was developed over the course of several drafts. I feel like a big part of developing a character’s voice is just standing back and letting it happen on the page. I try not to get in the way of it by worrying too much about how it will be received. My general rule of thumb for writing all my female characters, Romy included, is to not shy away from emotions and actions that might come across as unlikable to readers and to state them plainly, even if they’re uncomfortable or hard to read about.
Q: I want to discuss a quote from All the Rage that had a deep impact on me:
“So you never said if you’re having a boy or girl.”
“We won’t know until it’s born.” I hope it’s not a girl (61).
Roy is really surprised by this. Can you tell me what you were feeling when you wrote this? Like Romy, were you surprised to find yourself writing this?
C.S: Romy is (understandably) having a really hard time dealing with her rape–she’s not dealing with it. I wanted to show how deep that trauma and hurt runs, the impact it has. I also wanted to show that even Romy can be surprised by how pervasive her trauma is and how much it has and continues to take over her life. It’s an upsetting scene and it needed to be. I wanted to be sure Romy’s pain was being clearly expressed to the reader.
Q: It’s really important for Romy to be wearing red lipstick and nail polish, and for me I saw this as a sort of armor. What was the inspiration behind this?
C.S: Romy views it as armor too. I wanted her to have something that was in her control. Everyone in town thinks Romy’s a liar. They have no problem re-traumatizing her by bringing up her rape because they don’t believe it’s true. When they see her, they see The Girl Who Cried Rape. By wearing the bright red lipstick and nail polish, Romy is, in her own way, controlling what people see–if only for a moment.
Q: Do you have any book recommendations for after finishing All the Rage?
C.S: If anyone hasn’t read Speak before they read All the Rage, they should definitely pick it up. Pointe by Brandy Colbert. Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook.
Q: Can you share with us any projects you’re working on?
C.S: I’m working on something new, but that’s all I’m willing to say about it right now. 🙂
Q: Can you tell me about what you’ve been reading lately?
C.S: I have been working my way through the Supernatural tie-ins! I love the show and they’re a lot of fun.
About the Author: