Ask the Author: Abigail Johnson
What would you like readers to know about you?
Here’s my bio: Abigail was born in Pennsylvania. When she was twelve, her family traded in snow storms for year round summers, and moved to Arizona. Abigail chronicled the entire cross-country road trip in a purple spiral bound notebook that she still has and has been writing ever since. She became a tetraplegic after breaking her neck in a car accident when she was seventeen but hasn’t let that stop her from bodysurfing in Mexico, writing and directing a high school production of Cinderella, and becoming a published author.
Abigail’s books include If I Fix You, The First To Know, Even If I Fall, and Every Other Weekend (all from Inkyard Press/HarperCollins). She is represented by Kim Lionetti at BookEnds Literary Agency.
What is your book about for those who haven’t read it?
EVERY OTHER WEEKEND is a dual point of view story about two teens, a boy who thinks forgiveness makes him week and a girl who thinks love is for fools, who meet and spend every other weekend together the same rundown Philadelphia apartment building. It’s a messy, complicated, romantic, funny, heartbreaking and heart-healing story of first love. There are tons of movie references, deeply broken families, characters you love to hate, text messages, sneaking out, kissing, fighting, and kissing again. I hope readers laugh, they’ll probably cry, but I promise they’ll be smiling by the last page.
What has been your inspiration for writing it?
Every Other Weekend was inspired by an old episode of The Wonder Years where Kevin falls for a girl he meets on vacation and then has to leave her behind when he comes home. I started wondering about what it might have been like if they’d continued to see each other regularly, but briefly, and forged a relationship that was totally separate from their ‘real’ lives back home. Adam and Jolene’s story evolved radically from that inspiration—they always do—and there were other influences that played a role including Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell and my own childhood growing up in Pennsylvania.
What was your favorite scene or part of your book to write?
I loved writing all the text message scenes between Adam and Jolene.
What books or authors inspired you to become a writer?
I’m constantly discovering new authors that I inspire me for different reasons. Kasie West is my go-to for romantic comedy, John Green, Jeff Zentner, and Tamara Ireland Stone are my break-my-heart-with-their-stunning-writing-and-equally-stunning-stories authors, and I always have to list Rainbow Rowell because her characters—specifically Eleanor and Park—are the ones that I will forever carry in my heart.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors who want to write a book?
Write a synopsis before you start drafting! Work out all your story/character issues in those few pages so that you don’t spend months (or more) re-writing draft after draft after draft…