Kiss and Repeat by Heather Truett
Published by: Swoon Reads ~ Publication date: May 25th 2021
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
In Heather Truett’s Kiss and Repeat, a teen uses the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father to begin a kissing experiment. Only the experiment gets messy, and Stephen will have to come clean if he wants to win one girl’s heart in this heartfelt and funny YA debut.
Stephen Luckie isn’t so lucky in love. He’s completely inexperienced when it comes to girls, and wonders if his tics – caused by Tourette’s Syndrome – are the reason.
Then a game at a party reveals that his body goes still while kissing. Using the scientific method drilled into him by his scientist father, Steven begins the best experiment ever–one that involves kissing as many girls as possible. Who knew science could be so fun?
But when the experiment gets underway, Stephen begins to question how he treats girls – and if his tics have been standing in his way at all. With two girls interested in him, he has to figure out what really matters to him and what he’ll risk – and gain – by being his true self.
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Where do you get the ideas from, when creating personalities for your characters? How to Make Your Characters Believable?
I get ideas from a zillion sources, but usually my own life. I did once pluck a creepy teacher from a news story, but usually I take personality traits from people I know and basically stick them in my mental blender.
For instance, quite a bit of Joan’s personality came from two of my friends, Kim and Izzie. Kim was my best friend in middle and high school, and I always wished I could be like her. In hindsight, I know she had as many confidence issues as I did, probably, but back then she always seemed so confident and such a bad ass. Izzie is a more recent friend, and when I was drafting this book, she and I were spending a lot of time together. She also has that this-is-how-it-is quality of attitude I admire and wanted for Joan. Joan looks and acts like a mix of these women, with a dash of other traits from here and there added in. Stephen has a lot of me in him, but also some of my sons, and a bit of my friend who died just before I sold this book.
Making characters believable is hard for me, sometimes. Over years of writing manuscripts, I realized I often gave my characters a way of thinking that matched my own. Since I am neurodivergent in multiple ways, that led to a lot of editors who didn’t understand my characters’ decision-making. I don’t process emotions in a neurotypical manner, so neither did the characters I wrote, which made it hard for the reader to be sure what they were feeling. In order to work on this, I spend a lot of time studying why people do what they do, in books and in life. I listen a lot more than I used to.
For my newest project, I am looking at my characters’ Enneagram types. There are lots of personality tools, but this one focuses on the why of our behavior, and it has been a good tool for my own self-understanding (I am a 4), so I hope it will help me zero in on why my characters do what they do.
Characters are a helpful way to understand our world, whether we are writing them or reading about them. I hope lots of readers seem themselves in my stories.
Heather Truett is a novelist and poet. She is currently an MFA candidate at the University of Memphis. She is represented by Hilary Harwell of KT Literary.
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Tour-wide giveaway (INT)
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.