Happy Monday and welcome to my stop on the We Were Beautiful blog tour!! I’m so excited because today I have an interview with the author, Heather Hepler! Read on to find out what inspired her to write this book, what Mia’s favorite book is, and enter a giveaway for a finished copy of We Were Beautiful!!!We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler
Published by Blink on April 2, 2019
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Buy on Amazon
It's been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia's memory is spotty at best. She's left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.
As the rest of Mia's family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she's never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she's stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafe down the street. There she meets Fig--blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious--who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends--including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia's mind--she realizes that she's not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn't as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren't nearly so simple to heal ... especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.
What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to write a book that tackled the feelings of shame and guilt that can fester inside of each one of us, turning each one of us into someone we were never meant to be. When I was a teenager I thought everyone had gotten a user’s manual for life that I didn’t have. They seemed to have everything figured out – what to wear, how to act, and what to say. On the rare occasions they made mistakes, they seemed to move past them effortlessly. Mia is caught in this same trap, lost in her own pain and guilt. Left to her own devices, she would likely just keep drawing in on herself, pushing everyone away. But with the help of friends and family, she is able to break free of her own guilt and fear and begin to love and live again.
Do you have any deleted scenes or subplots from the book you can share?
I had half a book written about a girl who was cursed to be an ogre because of her mother’s pride before I scrapped nearly everything and started again. There’s a glimpse of the old version in the fairly tale that Mia’s reading on the train, but most everything else was left in another file on my computer.
Who is your favorite and least favorite character from this book and why?
My favorite character is Fig. She’s bubbly and hopeful and completely unique. I love that she is completely her own person in spite of her overbearing family. My least favorite character is Mia’s mother. She isn’t featured much in the book, but when she is it’s painful to read. Her decision to abandon Mia because it’s just too hard is horrible to watch. It’s probably the most difficult decision I had to make in this book because it runs contrary to everything I think a mother should be.
Who were the most and least fun characters to write in this story?
Again, Fig was the most fun to write. She’s very unpredictable and spontaneous. Whenever I think of her, I picture her bright blue hair and her tutu. She’s the friend you always want to be around because you know whatever you end up doing, it’s going to be fun.
My least favorite was initially Veronica, but I realized that she’s not the cold, angry woman I thought at the start, but rather just another version of Mia. She’s been hurt deeply and just doesn’t know how to reach out to others anymore.
What would you do if you spent the day with Mia?
Mia and I would definitely spend the first part of the day outside, hiking or kayaking. Then we’d go into the city and find a good place to eat – maybe ramen. Then we’d spend the rest of the day wandering around, taking pictures and popping into bookstores. Dinner would be pizza outside so we could people watch. Then more wandering – finishing with a piece or two of pie.
What would Mia’s favorite book be and why?
Mia loves a happy ending, but she’s a tiny bit embarrassed to say that her favorite book is still A Little Princess.
About the Author
Heather Hepler is the author of several books for teens and tweens, including Frosted Kisses (Scholastic, 2015), Love? Maybe (Dial, 2012) and The Cupcake Queen(Dutton, 2009).
She loves tomato soup, fat cats, and hiking. (Not necessarily in that order.) She’s lived in East Texas, Alaska, and Death Valley. Currently she, her son, their two spoiled cats, and their ridiculously smart dog live in Downeast Maine.