Monday, November 11, 2019

When the Stars Lead to You: Interview w/ Ronni Davis & Giveaway

When the Stars Lead to You

by Ronni Davis
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: November 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Eighteen-year-old Devon longs for two things.

The stars.
And the boy she fell in love with last summer.

When Ashton breaks Devon’s heart at the end of the most romantic and magical summer ever, she thinks her heart will never heal again. But over the course of the following year, Devon finds herself slowly putting the broken pieces back together.

Now it’s senior year, and she’s determined to enjoy every moment of it as she prepares for a future studying the galaxies. That is, until Ashton shows up on the first day of school. Can she forgive him and open her heart again? Or are they doomed to repeat history?

From debut author, Ronni Davis, comes a stunning novel about passion, loss, and the power of first love.


Hi Ronni!!  Congrats on your debut book coming out soon!!!  I personally can’t wait to start reading it.  We’re so excited to have you in our blog tour and to help promote this beautiful book!!  Thanks so much for taking the time to answer these questions.

Thank you so much for having me! I’m so excited to be featured on your blog!

Can you briefly describe WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU and the main characters? 

When the Stars Lead to You is a YA novel about Devon Kearney, an eighteen-year-old aspiring astrophysicist. She’s a biracial scholarship student attending a posh day school, and she’s constantly in this push-and-pull between her scientific logical side and her hopeless romantic side. She’s completely focused on her goals…except she can’t stop thinking about the boy she had a magical summer with until he ghosted her over a year ago. And then on the first day of her senior year, he shows up. 

My other main characters: 
Ashton Edwards—Devon’s love interest. He’s a mysterious boy who looks like he has it all on the outside, but he’s falling apart on the inside. He’s dealing with expectations from his family and fighting his own demons with depression.
Blair Montgomery—Devon’s best friend. She’s an aspiring fashion designer who’s fiercely loyal and also just plain fierce. 

How did the story occur to you? Did you find inspiration anywhere?

This story came to me in bits in pieces over a LOT of years! I live in my head 80 percent of the time, so I’m always dreaming of characters and trying to figure out what to do with them. I knew that I wanted to write an intense love story, and I knew there had to be big things that they needed to fight in order to be together. I knew I wanted a biracial main character with amazing curly hair who was just trying to study and make it to her dream school and kiss her boyfriend. I found inspiration everywhere, but the main times were during when I trained to be a yoga teacher and when I was in acting school and working on set for various TV shows. Also, songs, names, movies, my own daydreams, my crush on Theo James wait what?

This cover might be the most beautiful one I’ve seen this year!!  What did you think when you saw it and did they keep you in the loop at all while designing it?

I feel so very lucky with my cover! I was pleasantly surprised when my editor asked me what direction I wanted to go for; I know that most people don’t get a say. I sent her a big PDF with covers I loved, fonts I loved, the model I based Devon off of. She also asked me what I didn’t like. I appreciated the chance to be honest about what I wanted in a cover, but I also wanted them to know that I trusted their judgement.

I got to see the some of the steps along the way. I got a mockup in October or November of last year because my editor wanted to make sure I didn’t hate it before they moved on and like, how could I hate it? The model was beautiful, the setting was gorgeous, and she had the curly hair! There were a few touchups and design things they wanted to work on. For example, in the original photo, the model is wearing a bathing suit, but since the book is out in the fall, they didn’t want her in a bathing suit. I was able to tell them that Devon wears yoga clothes when she’s not in her school uniform, and as you can see from the final that’s what she’s wearing.

Most of the bigger decisions were made in-house, but after seeing the mockup, I knew Devon’s story was in good hands. The lettering was done by an artist named Jess Cruikshank, and she’s done the lettering on some other YA books as well. The designer, Marcie Lawrence, seemed to just...get me. If my life is an aesthetic, that book cover is it, hands down. But the cover also captures the book so well. Devon sitting in the “O” in You. Her yoga outfit while she’s dreaming on the beach. The hair. And the little stars and stencils! I got super lucky with my cover and I am so grateful.

What were your favorite books in elementary/middle school?

This is totally going to show my age, but here goes!

Veronica, the Show-Off by Nancy K. Robinson
Nothing’s Fair in Fifth Grade by Barthe DeClements
Sixth Grade Can Really Kill You by Barthe DeClements
Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
The Baby-Sitter’s Club: The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin
Amy and Laura by Marilyn Sachs
Why Me? by Ellen Conford
This Place Has No Atmosphere by Paula Danziger 
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

If you could go back and tell your YA self one thing, what would it be?

I’m cheating, because I have a few things I want to say to Young Ronni:

Do your work first!! ALL OF IT.
Stop being so boy crazy.
Stop running up your credit cards.
You don’t have to settle. For anything.
Hang in there. You’re going to get to do and see amazing things!

What are your 3 favorite books that you read in the past year? 

This is hard because I’ve read a lot of great books! Can I cheat and do a YA list and an Adult list? This is still going to be hard, but here ya go:

Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston
The Bride Test by Helen Hoang
You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes

Somewhere Only We Know by Maurene Goo
With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo
The Revolution of Birdie Randolph by Brandy Colbert

If you could choose one song to describe your book, which one would it be?

I don’t have one song, but I do have a playlist, right here! 

What 3 hashtags would you most associate with your book? (Could be a word or phrase or anything that would instantly make you think of WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU.)

#whenthestarsleadtoyou (duh)

Are there any recommendations you could give your readers to be in the “perfect mood” to read WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU (specific music, snacks…)?

Apparently, this book makes a lot of people cry, so I’m going to suggest tissues. And M&Ms. Ashton loves M&Ms. My playlist can help with the music, but also any music I call lush and atmospheric, artists like Electus, Philter, ODESZA, and the like.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on various things, trying to see what’ll stick. Hopefully something soon!

Thanks so much for chatting with me Ronni!!  I can't even say how much I loved that list of books from when you were growing up!!  Plus, the background on the cover was SO interesting-- I always wonder how the magic happens with those.  Thanks again!

Ronni Davis grew up in Cleveland, Ohio, where she tried her best to fit in—and failed miserably. After graduating from The Ohio State University with a BA in Psychology, she worked in insurance, taught yoga, and became a cat mom.

Now she lives in Chicago, where by day she copy edits everything from TV commercials to billboards, and by night she writes contemporary YA about brown girls falling in love. When she’s not writing, you can catch her playing the Sims, eating too much candy, or planning her next trip to Disney World.

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