Hope & Goodness: A Q&A with Stephanie Perkins on SUMMER DAYS & SUMMER NIGHTS


summer days and summer nights stephanie perkinsAnybody who reads contemporary YA has a soft spot for Stephanie Perkins. The New York Times bestselling author of Anna and the French Kiss, Perkins writes YA that makes readers giggle and smile. She took on an editing hat last year with My True Love Gave To Me and now she’s back with Summer Days and Summer Nights.

An anthology of stories by twelve bestselling young adult writers, Summer Days and Summer Nights will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.

Summer Days and Summer Nights releases from St. Martin’s Griffin on May 17. Learn more about the anthology – about about Stephanie Perkins’ upcoming work – in our Q&A below!

What are the biggest differences between My True Love Gave To Me and Summer Days and Summer Nights – besides, of course, the time of year?
The collections are very similar—twelve love stories, a healthy mix of contemporary and speculative fiction, and hard-earned happy endings.

The biggest difference was my relationship with the authors. The majority of the authors whom I worked with on My True Love Gave to Me were friends that I’d been working with for years. This time, the majority of the authors were friendly acquaintances that . . . just had to trust me. I’m so grateful that they did! It was exciting getting to work with so many new people.

What inspires these short story collections?
I love to edit, I love working with other authors, and I love stories about love. It all fell into place quite naturally. And I relished the challenge! Sadly, short stories are rarely as admired as novels, but I knew these authors would continue to prove the beauty and impact of the form.

Which of the stories was your personal favorite to read?
Oh, man! What a question to ask an editor! I’m going to be both diplomatic and honest when I say that every single story was a pleasure. I admire and enjoy the work of the other authors, which is why I begged them all to participate.

You’ve written three of the most adorable contemporary YAs. How is editing short story collections different than writing a novel?
Aw, thank you. That’s kind of you to say that.

The biggest difference between editing a collection and writing a novel is that one feels mostly collaborative and the other feels mostly solo. In reality, both are incredibly collaborative. I think it will just always feel more collaborative to an editor.

I love editing other authors, because as I’m parsing through their words, I’m not just searching for narrative gaps or areas that need strengthening, I’m also pulling apart their work as an author. I’m seeing how their sentences and ideas are put together and learning how to strengthen my own work. It’s a marvelous learning opportunity!

Your next standalone novel is an untitled horror novel. Can you tell us anything about it?
It’s a contemporary horror novel, so the monsters are all human. For me, the real world will always be scarier than anything supernatural.

What else do you want readers to know about Summer Days and Summer Nights?
Some of the stories are funny—tremendously, laugh-out-loud hilarious. Some of the stories are heartbreaking, and they deal with impossible subjects like depression and divorce and loss. But all of them end on a hopeful note. It’s a collection that will leave readers feeling GOOD about the world. I have to believe in hope and goodness.

What YA books would you recommend for fans to read when they’re waiting for Summer Days and Summer Nights?
Several of the authors in my anthologies have written swoony summer novels. A few that immediately spring to mind: I’m pretty sure all of Jennifer E. Smith’s books take place over summer (The Geography of You and Me is one of my favorites), as well as Nina LaCour’s The Disenchantments and Everything Leads to You, and Jenny Han’s Summer series (starting with The Summer I Turned Pretty). Those would all be excellent places to start!

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About Author

Nicole Brinkley

Nicole is the editor of YA Interrobang. She has short hair and loves dragons. The rest changes without notice. Follow her on Twitter at @nebrinkley or Tumblr at nebrinkley. Like her work? Leave her a tip.

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