Happy release day to This May End Badly by Samantha Markum! I’m so excited to be able to spotlight this book today as well as share an interview with the author!
Welcome Samantha! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?
Thanks so much for having me! My name is Samantha Markum, and my debut novel, This May End Badly, comes out April 12, 2022.
How would you describe This May End Badly in one sentence?
This is a tough one, because I am very wordy! But in just one sentence: A senior named Doe embarks on a fake dating scheme to get under her worst enemy’s skin and stop the merger of their rival boarding schools.
Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of This May End Badly?
The main character of This May End Badly is Doe Saltpeter—Weston girl, pranking mastermind, and habitual liar. She loves milkshakes, her friends, and the defeat of her enemies (Winfield Academy in general, and Three Wellborn in specifics).
Her reluctant partner-in-crime—or at least partner-in-fake-dating—is Wells. He is the rare Winfield boy with no stake in the century-long prank war between their schools, unless you count being related to the ultimate Winfield legacy, Three. He likes getting under his cousin’s skin but has always toed the line—until he gets involved with Doe and her scheming.
What representation will readers find in This May End Badly?
This May End Badly has a relatively diverse cast of characters. There are students of color and different sexual orientations at both schools, as well as parents. A large part of TMEB deals with the realities of single-gender schools in the our current world. It was really important to me to create a story where, for the most part, everyone is having fun and getting into trouble, while never sidestepping situations these characters might endure.
Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?
I almost never know the ending of a story when I start. And often if I do, it’ll end up changing along the way. This book definitely evolved as I wrote it, but I think I always knew the direction I was going—even if I didn’t entirely know the ending until I was almost to it.
Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?
I have so many favorite scenes and moments, it’s hard to pick just one. I have such a soft spot for Doe and her friends, every moment when the five of them are together is an immediate top moment for me. But I’m such a sucker for romance, and writing Doe and Wells was just one dreamy, swoony moment for me after the next—even when they argued, haha. So I think my favorite scene has to be Doe and Wells at the college fair.
What is something readers will find in This May End Badly that they may not realize based on the synopsis?
Most of the story is laid out pretty well in the synopsis, but I think the biggest surprise might be the complicated relationships—my favorite is between Wells and Three, but also between Doe and her friends, Doe and the other Weston girls, and even Doe and Three.
What’s something you hope readers will take away from This May End Badly?
More than anything, I hope my books make people laugh. There are a few heavy themes in This May End Badly, but more than anything, it’s about friendship, and it’s about love, and it’s about doing the right thing even when it’s hard. I hope they feel like they were there for it all, right in Delafosse—in the Kingdom, at Phoebe’s, in the armchair at Rotty’s. And at the end of it, I hope they just have a great time.
What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed This May End Badly?
Ah, I love recommending books! I have to always recommend my favorite, which has all the scheming and shenanigans but with the added bonus of a mystery—Trouble is a Friend of Mine by Stephanie Tromly. It’s a three book series, and it’s my all time favorite. When it comes to great friendships and swoony romance, it has to be Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills. And for the fake dating, which we all cannot get enough of, Prince Charming by Rachel Hawkins.
What’s next for you? Anything you can share?
Ah, next for me! I have another book out in 2023 called You Wouldn’t Dare. It’s about another messy girl named Juniper Nash, the boy she ruined everything with, a band of reluctant theater kids, the surly daughter of her mom’s boyfriend, and their magical little Florida island, White Coral Key.
ABOUT THE BOOK
Pranking mastermind Doe and her motley band of Weston girls are determined to win the century-long war against Winfield Academy before the clock ticks down on their senior year. But when their headmistress announces that The Weston School will merge with its rival the following year, their longtime feud spirals into chaos.
To protect the school that has been her safe haven since her parents’ divorce, Doe puts together a plan to prove once and for all that Winfield boys and Weston girls just don’t mix, starting with a direct hit at Three, Winfield’s boy king and her nemesis. In a desperate move to win, Doe strikes a bargain with Three’s cousin, Wells: If he fake dates her to get under Three’s skin, she’ll help him get back his rightful family heirloom from Three.
As the pranks escalate, so do her feelings for her fake boyfriend, and Doe spins lie after lie to keep up her end of the deal. But when a teacher long suspected of inappropriate behavior messes with a younger Weston girl, Doe has to decide what’s more important: winning a rivalry, or joining forces to protect something far more critical than a prank war legacy.
This May End Badly is a story about friendship, falling in love, and crossing pretty much every line presented to you—and how to atone when you do.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Samantha Markum was born and raised in St. Louis, Missouri, where she got her great literary start writing Newsies fan fiction in middle school.
She went to high school and college in Florida, where she mostly just collected sunburns, and eventually moved to Los Angeles so she could complain about how much she missed In-N-Out once she left.
She currently lives in her hometown of St. Louis. When she’s not writing, she can be found begging her dog for attention, buying too many candles, and ignoring the dust bunnies gathering in her house. When she is writing, you can find her staring at the wall in search of inspiration.
She is the author of This May End Badly and You Wouldn’t Dare.