Happy Sunday and welcome to my stop on the blog tour for A LITTLE BIT COUNTRY! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with Brian D. Kennedy to share with you! This book is truly amazing and I’m so excited to for you to find out more about it!A Little Bit Country by Brian D. Kennedy
Published on June 7, 2022 by Balzer & Bray/Harperteen
Genres: Contemporary, Queer, Romance, YA
Add to Goodreads
Author Links: Website, Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram
Emmett Maguire has big dreams. He wants to be country music’s biggest gay superstar—a far reach when you're 17 and living in suburban Illinois. Thankfully, his parents are letting him do the next best thing for the summer: stay with his aunt in Jackson Hollow, Tennessee, and perform at Wanda World—the amusement park owned by his idol, country music legend Wanda Jean Stubbs.
Luke Barnes, a 17-year-old Jackson Hollow resident, has no interest in country music. As the grandson of Verna Rose, the disgraced country singer who had a famous falling out with Wanda Jean, the world of country music has only brought his family pain. But as medical bills pile up at home, he’s forced to accept a job in the last place he’d ever want to work: a restaurant at Wanda World.
With Emmett focused on his career, and Luke blossoming in the kitchen, neither boy is expecting to find romance. But sparks fly when they meet and soon the two are inseparable. However, when a long-lost secret about Luke’s grandma and superstar Wanda Jean comes to light, it threatens to unravel everything. Unless the boys can uncover the truth of what really happened, their dreams could be over before they start, leaving their new relationship to go down in history as just another Sad Country Love Song.
What would you do if you spent the day with Emmett and Luke? Where would you go to eat, hang out, relax, etc.?
Without a doubt, I’d make them take me to Wanda World (the fictional country music theme park in my book). I’d want to ride the Smoky Mountain Scrambler, get an order of melt-in-your-mouth biscuits, and take in a performance by Wanda’s Good Time Jamboree, the show Emmett’s a performer in. I’d also be making a stop at the gift shop, buying as many Wanda Jeans Stubbs souvenirs as possible.
If Emmett and Luke were to hang out with other fictional characters, who would they be and why?
Erik J. Brown wrote one of my favorite books this year, All That’s Left in the World. I feel like his main characters, Andrew and Jamie, would get along very well with mine. Emmett and Andrew are both very energetic and maybe a tad too sarcastic, while Luke and Jamie are both gentle and tend to be more guarded about their feelings. (Erik and I happen to share the same editor, too!)
If there was one fictional place you could travel to for a day, where would it be and why?
Is it weird if I keep picking places I’ve created? I’d love the chance to hang out in Jackson Hollow, TN, the fictional town I set my book in. Outside of visiting Wanda World, I’d love to take a hike along the foothills of the Smoky Mountains, and explore the more rural parts–like the old gristmill and the swimming hole, where Emmett and Luke have their first date.
If you buried a time capsule with three items inside, what three items would you choose and why?
Good question! Family comes first. So I’d definitely include a photo of me, my husband, and our miniature schnauzer, Stanley. Then I’d want something that represents my work. A copy of my book is probably my proudest accomplishment in that department. And finally, I have to throw my love of Dolly in there. I guess I’d be willing to part with one of my many Dolly Parton mugs.
What was your favorite bit of research you ended up not using?
I took my first trip to Dollywood while in the middle of drafting this book. Not only for research, but also because I had always wanted to go. Believe or not, though, I wasn’t trying to create an exact replica of Dollywood. As a result, one of my favorite things at Dollywood that I didn’t include in my version of the park is their famous cinnamon bread. My mouth salivates just thinking about it.
What is your favorite quote, scene, or moment from A Little Bit Country?
Writing Emmett and Luke’s first date felt very special to me. I also had a lot of fun writing the dialogue for Wanda Jean Stubbs, the country music legend who owns Wanda World. Much like Dolly Parton has her “Dolly-isms,” I came up with some “Wanda Jean-isms.” Two of my favorites are:
“Confidence is easy, just wear a bigger wig!”
“If you can’t stand the heat…best not touch my biscuits.”
What do you think about A Little Bit Country? Have you added it to your tbr yet? Let me know in the comments and have a splendiferous day!