I’ve been so excited for You Can Go Your Own Way for quite awhile and I’m so excited to be able to spotlight the book today and also share my interview with the author, Eric Smith, today!
ABOUT THE BOOK
No one ever said love would be easy…but did they mention it would be freezing?
Adam Stillwater is in over his head. At least, that’s what his best friend would say. And his mom. And the guy who runs the hardware store down the street. But this pinball arcade is the only piece of his dad that Adam has left, and he’s determined to protect it from Philadelphia’s newest tech mogul, who wants to turn it into another one of his cold, lifeless gaming cafés.
Whitney Mitchell doesn’t know how she got here. Her parents split up. She lost all her friends. Her boyfriend dumped her. And now she’s spending her senior year running social media for her dad’s chain of super successful gaming cafés—which mostly consists of trading insults with that decrepit old pinball arcade across town.
But when a huge snowstorm hits, Adam and Whitney suddenly find themselves trapped inside the arcade. Cut off from their families, their worlds, and their responsibilities, the tension between them seems to melt away, leaving something else in its place. But what happens when the storm stops?
Welcome Eric! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Of course! I’m Eric Smith. I’m a Young Adult author living in Philadelphia, and I also work as a literary agent! So my life is mostly all books, all the time. My latest books include the upcoming You Can Go Your Own Way, as well as the recent Don’t Read the Comments and Battle of the Bands, an anthology I worked on with my dear friend Lauren Gibaldi.
I’ve been in the publishing industry for over a decade, and I even teach in an MFA program part time. It’s a life of writing and books and writing books, and it’s a good one.
How would you describe You Can Go Your Own Way in one sentence?
What happens when you’re snowed inside a pinball arcade with your archnemesis and there’s only one blanket?
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of You Can Go Your Own Way?
Adam’s spent the last few years helping his mom run the family pinball arcade. Ever since his father died, it’s been a way to hold onto him. And there are a lot of other ways Adam’s found to hold onto his dad. He listens to the same “old” music, wears a lot of his old outfits. He’s a teenager out of time, wrapped up in his feelings, and not sure where to go next. He’s stuck.
Whitney, she helps her father run the social media for his eSports cafes, which are starting to pop up around Philadelphia and Camden. It’s her way of holding onto him, as he gets more successful. She feels like if she just works hard enough, keeps pushing, that maybe he’ll notice her. In a way, she’s also stuck, in a pattern where it feels like she only deserves love from those around her if she earns it.
Both of them are a mess. Both used to be best friends. Both of them can’t stand each other now. But maybe not for long.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
It’s a mix of both, really. I’m a big outliner? I make these monstrous twenty page synopsises for all my books, and then I try my best to stick to them. Of COURSE I end up wandering away from them, exploring different ideas, getting hit with a new plot point that feels more interesting than what I’ve laid out. But giving myself a road map really helps get the story written.
I know a lot of pantsers out there, and I don’t know how they do it.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
Probably the Swedish Fish?
It’s not a spoiler, since it’s right in the first chapter, but whenever Adam and his friends are having a big feelings moment, they share Swedish Fish. You give someone a piece of candy, tell them how you feel, and they eat the candy. It’s a way to make tough conversations go down a bit smoother. It’s inspired from a real world thing my friends and I used to do in high school, only with Tootsie Rolls.
I write sensitive disaster characters because I too was, and still am, a sensitive disaster.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed You Can Go Your Own Way?
Oh what a good question. Probably Rayne & Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner, which deals with two friends having to let go of something wildly important to them, and wrestling with the future. Jeff writes stunning, lyrical books that are just packed full of heart. I’d like to be a bit more like him when I grow up.
I’ll also say any book by Whitney Gardner? You’re Welcome Universe is one of my favorites of all time, the VOICE is just so good, and Chaotic Good is brilliant. She writes these geeky novels that are just emotional rollercoasters while also being wildly funny.
And last… maybe It’s Kind of a Cheesy Love Story by Lauren Morrill? I firmly believe Lauren writes the best YA rom-coms ever, and that one is her absolute best. I even blurbed it! A big chunk of that story is about trying to move on from your past, from what everyone thinks you are, to what you KNOW you are. And she does it with some huge belly laughs.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Me and Lauren Gibaldi, who I did Battle of the Bands with, have another interconnected anthology coming out! It’s called Freshman Orientation, and it takes place on a single day at a college’s first day of school. Watch for it with Candlewick in 2023.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Eric Smith is an author and literary agent from Elizabeth, New Jersey.
His Young Adult books include the Inked duology (Bloomsbury), the anthology Welcome Home (Flux), The Girl & the Grove (Flux), and Don’t Read the Comments (Inkyard Press).
His first non-fiction book, The Geek’s Guide to Dating, was published with Quirk Books in December 2013. It was an Indiebound bestseller and has sold into eight languages.
When he isn’t busy working on his own books, he works representing YA, sci-fi, fantasy, and quirky non-fiction with P.S. Literary.
You can find him on Twitter at @ericsmithrocks. You can learn more about his books, and his authors, on his official website.