Welcome to Lily Anderson! She's a 2016 debute author and I'm excited to have her here. I've read her book and loved it.
How long did you work on The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You?
I started THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU in late 2012. I wrote the first forty pages in a sprint and then set the book aside while I worked on other projects and moved and found a new job. When I picked the story back up again, it took about three months to finish. Then, after finding my literary agent, I did a small rewrite and a much larger overhauling when I started working with my editor at St. Martin’s Press. Turning in my copyedits in November of last year was the last time I could tweak the novel. So, all told, it was about three years of writing.
What was your inspiration for writing this book?
I was tired of whining about not being able to find a Much Ado About Nothing retelling! It’s my all-time favorite play and I wanted to see it modernized. (This was before Joss Whedon’s movie version came out.) I was 23 and working in a huge elementary school with 900 students between the ages of 5 and 14 and they all loved talking about Star Wars and Harry Potter and Marvel movies and Lord of the Rings and Doctor Who. And I started thinking about how different it must be to grow up in their generation--in a world full of technology with no wait between Potter books and all the Star Wars movies and cartoons they could ever want. I wanted to showcase some of that inherent geekery. Thus, THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU began.
Do you have a favorite Shakespeare play?
Much Ado About Nothing! Which is probably a cheat to say since I did write a retelling of it. Otherwise, I love A Midsummer Night’s Dream (such a huge cast! So many intermingling plots!) and Julius Caesar (which I directed in 2011 with one of my best friends at UC Davis and of which I have so many fond memories).
Have you written other books before this one?
I started writing pretty young. I wrote poetry exclusively until sixth grade and then I started writing plays (to be put up by my elementary school, much to the chagrin of, I think, literally everyone) and fan fiction. My last year of high school, I started writing a novel about life in a youth theater as my senior project. I spent the next two years working on that particular book, writing it from scratch at least three times before eventually giving up on it because a) it was eleventy billion words long and b) I no longer feel the need to examine my time as a theater kid that closely. Through my early twenties, I wrote a couple of New Adult novels, mostly to entertain myself and my friends. THE ONLY THING WORSE THAN ME IS YOU was written to keep my spirits up while I tried (and failed) to get an agent for my first NA book.
Do you have a certain actor or actress for your main characters?
I see Trixie as a Jennifer Lawrence-type and Ben is constantly striving for a David Tennant-y swagger. And I always pictured Meg as Amy Okuda from The Guild.
What is your very favorite part of your book?
I think the friendships are my favorite part of the book. Having had two best friends myself for many, many years (the book is dedicated to them), I always wanted to write about a friendship trio. Trixie, Meg, and Harper aren’t me and my friends (no, really, they aren’t!), but I’m so happy that I got to showcase how awesome it is to have two people in your corner.
What was the best writing advice you’ve received?
Finish! It’s can be really easy to start a book and to plot out where it’s heading, but unless you finish it, it’s never going to be more than half a hobby. When I was a teenager, I had a friend who finished her first book by the time she was sixteen. She proved to me that it could be done and inspired me to get to the end.
What’s your writing ritual like? Do you like to listen to music? Work at home or library or someplace else?
When I start really working on a novel, I make an absurdly long Spotify playlist of songs that capture the tone or setting of the book. I’ll listen to it when I write or in my car when I’m running errands and trying to unravel a plot point. I typically work at home. I have a beautiful home office and yet usually end up with my laptop on the couch. On weekends, I’ll spice things up and grab a table at Starbucks or the public library. (Although, working at the library is hard because I love having something to sip when I’m working--even if it’s just water!)
How long have you been writing?
I won my first writing contest when I was six, so I’d say that I’ve been writing pretty consistently since I learned how to put together a sentence!
What advice would you pass on to aspiring writers?
Make sure that you’re always presenting your best work. Understand that your best work will be made better by sharing it with other people and seeing it through their eyes.
What are you working on now?
Right now, I’m writing another book YA about [a different set of] geniuses and a small town mystery series.
And here is Lily's awesome and fun book:
Trixie Watson has two very important goals for senior year: to finally save enough to buy the set of Doctor Who figurines at the local comic books store, and to place third in her class and knock Ben West--and his horrendous new mustache that he spent all summer growing--down to number four.
Trixie will do anything to get her name ranked over Ben's, including give up sleep and comic books--well, maybe not comic books--but definitely sleep. After all, the war of Watson v. West is as vicious as the Doctor v. Daleks and Browncoats v. Alliance combined, and it goes all the way back to the infamous monkey bars incident in the first grade. Over a decade later, it's time to declare a champion once and for all.
The war is Trixie's for the winning, until her best friend starts dating Ben's best friend and the two are unceremoniously dumped together and told to play nice. Finding common ground is odious and tooth-pullingly-painful, but Trixie and Ben's cautious truce slowly transforms into a fandom-based tentative friendship. When Trixie's best friend gets expelled for cheating and Trixie cries foul play, however, they have to choose who to believe and which side they're on--and they might not pick the same side.
Any book that gets me to sit still and reading-not skim-is worth a shout out.
The Only Thing Worse Than Me is You is funny, nerdy, witty, cute, smart, geeky, well-paced...ETC.
Beatrice, or Trixie, is a senior at a prestigious school for gifted students. She loves Dr. Who and comic books. Benedick, or Ben, grew a mustache over the summer which is fair game to Trixie and the sparring begins, and not in a positive way either. They banter throughout the whole book and its pretty funny and painful and sometimes mean.
But when Trixie's best friend starts dating Ben's best friend, the whole situation goes to a different level when the two are thrown together more often then either of them want to be. But what if one of them really doesn't hate the other? What if a chance conversation changes everything? Or a creepy clown? (haha!)
Does this story sound vaguely familiar? This story was a very clever retelling of Much Ado About Nothing and worth reading.
Thanks to netgalley for the advanced read!