Last month, Quercus released Katie Cotugno’s debut, How to Love. I’d heard whisperings of its amazingness so when it landed on my doormat, I gobbled it up. It’s ended up being one of my favourite books of the year so I’m so pleased to have Katie stop by to answer a few questions!
1. I loved that Reena and Sawyer’s story was split between ‘Before’ and ‘After’ chapters. Did you write the two timelines separately and piece them together or as they came in the novel?
Ooh, this is a good question. I wrote them as they came in the novel, for the most part, although there was definitely some shuffling around. It was a fun challenge to try and make sure things sort of lined up thematically in both the past and the present.
2. It’s so unusual to see a teenage pregnancy once the baby is a little older and all of the shock and drama has passed and I really enjoyed the different perspective. What made you decide to approach the topic from that direction?
Some of it was logistical – that is, Sawyer had to have been gone long enough for Reena to have had time to get her life back on track and settle back into a routine. And part of it was that I wanted Hannah to be old enough and have a bit of a personality of her own, enough that maybe there were bits of both Sawyer and Reena visible in her.
3. Reena’s love for travel writing inspired me to save up to take on Europe in a year or so. What’s your favourite of the places you’ve visited?
Oh my GOSH, that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard – and so exciting! I went to Australia when I was in high school, which was amazing and so beautiful. And I’ll never forget looking up at the sky in Yosemite when I was thirteen or so – I’d never, ever seen stars like that before. I don't think I’ve seen stars like that since.
4. Literary idol?
Barbara Kingslover/Michael Chabon/Alice Hoffman
5. Favourite word?
Pretty much every and all swear words, to be honest with you, if we’re talking in terms of frequency of use. But I also love “petrichor”, which is the smell of rain on pavement.
6. Current read?
“The Master and Margarita” by Mikhail Bulgakov, which I’m reading for grad school and which makes me want to die every time I look at it. But I’ve got an ARC of Lauren Oliver’s PANIC to read next, which is super exciting.
Thank you so much, Katie! I’d love to go to Yosemite and see all those stars.
Make sure you check out my review of How to Love and then run to the nearest bookshop/browser tab to snag yourself a copy.