My Summer Roommate
By Bridie Hall
Crystal: Today I have the chance to ask Bridie Hall a few questions as part of this Bridging the Gap Promotions Book Tour. Welcome Bridie! I'm so happy to have you here today. Would you share a little bit about yourself with us today?
Bridie: First, I’d like to thank you for having me on your blog today. I’m writing this at five in the morning with a large mug of coffee in my hand. I hate early mornings, but I can’t avoid them. I’m a cynic who loves to read and write romances. I like to spoil my family with good food. I spend more money on books than on clothes. And I’ve been making up stories since I was a toddler. I’ve written stories in numerous genres, and My Summer Roommate is my second YA novel.
Crystal: Do you have a favorite scene you would like to share with us?
Bridie: I think my favorite scene is the scene after Chloe and Chris return from a party and Chris’s injured knee is giving him grief. It’s a scene that I think paints a very clear picture of the two of them as individuals and of their romance (for which Chloe would say that it doesn’t exist). They love sparring with each other, they enjoy the back and forth between them. Chloe tries to fight it, but I think we see that she loves it, it makes her feel alive. I loved writing this scene and I’ve done very little editing with it. I think it looks pretty much how I wrote it the first time.
Crystal: Where did you come up with the idea for your current release?
Bridie: Chloe (the main character) gave me the idea. She was a secondary character in my previous YA novel, Letting Go. This energetic, sassy, smart girl wouldn’t leave me alone until I wrote her story. She was such a compelling character from the very beginning and it was clear that she had a good story in her. At the time, I read a lot of romance novels and it occurred to me that in all of them, it was the guys who were after the no-strings-attached flings and girls wanted a happily ever after. So I wanted to turn the roles around and have Chloe fear a long-term relationship. Besides, Chris was so cute pining after her.
Crystal: What are you currently working on?
Bridie: It’s another young adult novel. It takes place in Paris, where a girl comes for a summer course in fashion design. This one is less focused on romance and more on her growing up and trying to fix her relationship with her mother.
Crystal: Do you have any special routine that you follow when you are writing?
Bridie: No, no special routine because I can’t afford it. I try to write whenever my day job and the rest of my chores allow me or whenever I get an idea for a scene. This means that sometimes I’ll be cooking dinner and have my laptop on the kitchen counter and frantically type while glancing at the steak so it doesn’t get burned. I improvise a lot.
Crystal: Did you have to do a lot of research for this book or any other? If so do you have a fascinating fact that you have learned you would like to share with us?
Bridie: I didn’t do much research for My Summer Roommate, but while researching for my current work in progress, I learned that there exists a secret society in Paris that fixes things around town. It’s pretty fascinating. I want to become a member.
Crystal: Who are some of your favorite authors that you like to read?
Bridie: I love a lot of YA authors because I think YA literature is really blossoming at the moment and a lot of fantastic novels get published every year. I’ll mention just a few that I’ve read recently: Stephanie Perkins, Sasha Hibbs, Kim Harnes is awesome for spine-chilling stories, Maggie Stiefvater.
Crystal: Is there any genre you haven't written that you would like to try?
Bridie: Every time I get asked this question, I say humor. I want to write something really funny, but I fear I’m no good at it. There are a few funny (sweet, but funny) scenes in My Summer Roommate. So now I have to wait and see how the readers respond to them. I love to laugh, so I hope I’ll make the readers at least smile.
Chloe needs a place to crash for the summer before college. When Chris offers, she moves in with him. It’s just for two months, no biggie. But soon she realizes she may have made a mistake. He's too perfect—a former snowboarder, laid-back and kind to boot. And he’s smitten with her. But she’s got trust issues and a relationship feels daunting. When he keeps trying to win her over, the temptation becomes overwhelming. Just as she gives in and decides it’s not worth fighting their emotions anymore, Chris reveals he’s made a stupid mistake which might ruin Chloe’s trust in him and tear them apart.
YA Contemporary Romance
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“Remember Chris? He was in History with us this year,” I say over my shoulder to Isabelle, as I lead the way into the deli. Isabelle’s expression is confused, but I know she remembers Chris. We’ve talked about him before. A lot of girls from class were all ‘gaga’ over him because he was hot and a snowboarder––or a shredder, as he called himself. Except for Isabelle, who’s had love troubles with Harper and Jamie, two brothers from Atlanta. Harper won. I like him well enough. I even had a crush on him way back when.
“That cute guy with iPod earphones practically glued to his ears?” she asks, recognition lighting up her face.
“Yes. I’m going to crash with Chris for the next two months,” I say quickly, hoping that Isabelle won’t react too strongly to the news.
“What do you mean?”
I drop into a chair.
“Aren’t you going to stay with me?”
Isabelle said I should come live with her. But Harper hangs out at her place constantly, because their relationship is still in the head-over-heels stage, too.
“I don’t want to be in the way. You and Harper need some alone time, Izzy.”
The waitress takes our orders and then rushes back with a small bowl of peanuts.
“My dad’s there, too, and he’s not in the way,” Isabelle says, taking a peanut and munching it absent-mindedly.
“Because he’s holed up in his study all day long.”
I smile and keep the tone light, but the thought of everyone around me starting their new lives, with their new, happy relationships, makes me feel lonely. Deserted. Even though I’m not looking for a relationship.
“It’s just for the two months until I go to college.”
“You wouldn’t be in the way, Chloe. You could never be in the way.”
“Okay, okay, I admit it. Watching you two being all crazy about each other would just make me envious.”
Izzy’s my best friend, which means I know her well enough to have predicted such a response. Fact is, I broke up with Adam a few weeks ago. For the second time, but this time it’s for real. Of course Isabelle thinks I’m broken-hearted about it. I am sad, but not too much. I’ve never really thought our relationship would last. He was just a pretty boy, selfish and immature. I wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship, anyhow. I’m too young for that. Or maybe I’m too selfish and immature, too.
“Yeah.” I sigh. I feel a bit guilty for not being entirely honest with Isabelle, but the waitress bringing our drinks distracts me so I forget it quickly enough. Besides, I’m doing it to give her some space. Well, her, and Harper.
“So ... You’re just moving in with this Chris? I didn’t know you were tight.”
“We’re not. I mean, I saw him at Adam’s birthday party. We started talking and he was sort of cool. We stayed in touch.”
“And he just asked you to come live with him?” She looks incredulous, a bit worried, perhaps.
“I told Mark—Jamie’s friend? The lacrosse team captain?—about my situation, and apparently he told Chris. He called me last week and said I could crash with him for the two months, no prob. He’s got enough space now that his roommate went back home for the summer.”
“Hm.” Isabelle looks thoughtful as she sips her drink.
“How are things with you and Harper?” I say to change the topic, because I don’t like her frowning. I grin when I see Izzy’s cheeks warm up. “That cozy, huh?”
“We’re … great.”
“Uh-huh.” I’m amused by Isabelle’s short answer. She has always been very private and reserved. I wonder how that works with Harper, but my thoughts quickly veer into the gutter territory. Good thing Izzy can’t read my mind.
“Okay, okay,” Isabelle says, holding up her hands in surrender. “He’s wonderful. He’s so much fun, and experienced and …”
I wiggle my eyebrows just to taunt her and it has an immediate effect. Isabelle turns scarlet and starts to protest.
“I didn’t mean it like that. I meant in a general sort of way, like … he can teach me about life and such.”
“Sure.” I can’t help my lips stretching into a wide grin. This is better relaxation even than yoga.
“Well, he’s experienced … like that, too.” Isabelle stumbles over the words, but it is obvious that she is more than happy about it.
I snort in my tea, spilling it all over the table. “Good for you.”
Isabelle’s face radiates with happiness, different than when she was with Jamie, Harper’s younger brother. I’ve always known Harper was the right one for her, but Isabelle didn’t believe me until she spent one long day with him on the way home from Atlanta. That road trip made her see that Harper wasn’t just an arrogant jerk that taunted her at every opportunity he got. I saw right through him the first time I saw him with Isabelle, long before they ended up together. I could tell he’d fallen for her and that he wasn’t the bad person everyone thought.
I’m pretty good at that, reading people and their deepest secrets. I think that’s because I have experience guarding my own heart against selfish bastards, so I know all the tricks in existence. I’ve even invented some.
“You sure you’re going to be okay with Chris?” Izzy asks.
“It’s just two months. He’s a cool guy. Honestly. I wouldn’t accept his offer if I wasn’t sure I could handle it.”
Bridie Hall sold her first story at fourteen. Since then, she has written dozens more, translated books, studied writing, and started writing novels. Her days revolve around stories and words, her sleepless nights involve plotting and inventing fascinating new characters. The only activity that takes up more of her time than writing, is reading.
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