Posted in 2022, Author Interview, Felicia

Places We’ve Never Been | Author Interview

Kasie West is one of my absolute favorite young adult contemporary writers and I’m always so excited for anything she puts out. Places We’ve Never Been has been high up on my want to read list since I first started seeing anything about it. I’m so excited to share about the book and also been able to interview Kasie West today!

INTERVIEW

Welcome Kasie! Thank you for allowing me to interview you! Can you start off by introducing yourself?

Hi! Thank you for having me. My name is Kasie West and I write YA contemporary romance. I love reading and writing about love. It’s pretty much my favorite thing ever. When I’m not writing, I love to travel or binge television shows. I love long walks and the ocean. (I feel like I’m making my online dating profile. lol) I am happily married and together we have four amazing kids who are mostly grown. 

How would you describe Places We’ve Never Been in one sentence?

One sentence?? Can it be a run on sentence with lots of ‘ands’?? Okay, here we go, I’ll try my hardest: After four years away from her childhood best friend, Skyler, they are brought back together for a three week long RV trip with their families where they will discover that a lot can change in four years, including their feelings. 

Can you introduce us to the main character(s) of Places We’ve Never Been?

Norah, our MC is an awkward, fun, wide eyed, artist whose dream is to become a video game animator. She loves new adventures but doesn’t always know how to talk to new (or familiar) people. 

Skyler, the love interest, is Norah’s childhood best friend. He’s sweet and funny, but private and perhaps a bit jaded. He loves his family and is very loyal.

Willow, Norah’s best friend, is confident and funny and up for anything. She is supportive and calls people out on their crap.

If you went on a road trip with Norah, Skyler, and their families, where would you want to visit?

I would pretty much want to do the exact same roadtrip Norah and Skyler do (which is probably why I wrote it that way, a good excuse to reenact the story). I have been to many of the places they visit, but I’d love to do it all in an RV with my favorite people. So, in case anyone is reading this without having read the book, some of those places are: Death Valley, Zion National Park, Yellowstone, Seattle, San Francisco, etc. I was raised on the West Coast so these places are definite road trip favs. Now, as to somewhere I’ve never been before but would love to…and since we’re talking about places we can roadtrip to…I would love to visit Banff in Alberta, Canada. The pictures look amazing! I love nature and lakes and trees and hiking. 

Do you know from the beginning how your books will end or do you let your characters decide their journey?

A little bit of both. I usually know the climax. The big scary or sad or stressful thing that’s going to happen to my main character when I start writing a book. Sometimes I don’t know how that’s all going to resolve and I have to write my way out of it to a happy ending. Sometimes I know exactly how it’s all going to resolve. Sometimes I think I know how it’s going to resolve and my characters tell me otherwise. All ways have their benefits and challenges. 

Do you have a favorite scene, moment, or quote from the book?

There’s a scene in the book where the characters are sharing embarrassing moments from their pasts and Skyler, the childhood best friend of my main character, Norah, ends up telling a kind of personal embarrassing story about Norah. It’s one of my favorite scenes because it’s kind of like a gut punch. I remember writing it and feeling a lump in my throat as I wrote it, sympathizing with Norah. I really like scenes that make me feel something, even if that something is a bit heartbreaking. 

What is something readers will find in Places We’ve Never Been that they may not realize based on the synopsis?

Norah, my main character, is a gamer girl. She is learning how to code and her dream is to illustrate video games. So there are lots of fun references to video games throughout the book.

What’s something you hope readers will take away from Places We’ve Never Been?

I hope readers will realize that failure doesn’t have to be the end of a dream. That second chances are real and that sometimes there are different paths to the same goal. I think a lot of times when we read or hear stories (my own books included) the main character ends up getting exactly what she wants in the end, but that’s not always realistic. We don’t always get the dream internship or the perfect friends or the killer job. Now that said, I don’t want to scare any of you away from the book. It is still a romance and does still have a happy ending! So don’t worry!

What are three books you would recommend if someone enjoyed Places ?

Two oldie but goodie road trip books that I love are: Open Road Summer by Emery Lord and Amy and Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. Then one of my favorite contemporary romances from the last couple years is XOXO by Axie Oh. 

What’s next for you? Anything you can share?

More contemporary YA is coming your way from me. I have another book coming out next year with Delacorte. It features a rescue dog who I love dearly. Can’t wait to share it withyou.

ABOUT THE BOOK

TITLE: Places We’ve Never Been
AUTHOR: Kasie West
GENRE: Young Adult Contemporary
RELEASE DATE: May 31, 2022

Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | Indigo | IndieBound

Synopsis:

A sweet and swoony contemporary Young Adult novel about a cross-country family road trip that puts one girl and her childhood best friend on an unexpected road to romance!

Norah hasn’t seen her childhood best friend, Skyler, in years. When he first moved away, they’d talk all the time, but lately their relationship has been reduced to liking each other’s Instagram posts. That’s why Norah can’t wait for the joint RV road trip their families have planned for the summer.

But when Skyler finally arrives, he seems…like he’d rather be anywhere else. Hurt and confused, Norah reacts in kind. Suddenly, her oldest friendship is on the rocks.

An unexpected summer spent driving across the country leads both Norah and Skyler down new roads and to new discoveries. Before long, they are, once again, seeing each other in a different light. Can their friendship-turned-rivalry turn into something more?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kasie West is the author of many YA novels, including The Fill-in Boyfriend, P.S. I Like You, Lucky in Love, and Listen to Your Heart. Her books have been named ALA-YALSA Quick Picks, JLG selections, and ALA-YALSA Best Books for Young Adults. When she’s not writing, she’s binge-watching television, devouring books, or bury-ing her toes in the sand of the Central Coast. Kasie lives in Fresno, California, with her family.

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