Here's the blurb for It Should Have Been a #GoodDay:
Sometimes a situation is not what you think it is.
The new girl — Emily had hoped to leave a painful event behind her by starting at a new school, but it looks like that’s just a pipe dream.
The golden boy — Brogan was the big man on campus until a knee injury had him sidelined. Now he’s struggling to hold on to his top dog position while dealing with the fact that his life is falling apart.
The popularity seeker— Thomas desperately wants to be one of the popular kids. He can feel it in his grasp, as long as he doesn’t let his nice guy status get in the way.
The heart of gold — Henry doesn’t know he’s different, although everyone else at his school does. And the popular kids have no problem letting him know he doesn’t fit in every chance they get.
As they go through an ordinary day of negotiating halls, classes and the baggage of their lives, each of them has no idea that their paths will cross in such a way that will change their lives forever.
Sometimes what should have been a #GoodDay turns out to be the worst day of your life.
And here's the interview!
What's your funniest/most embarrassing high school memory? Mine was a pair of pink parachute pants that split up the inseams at one point—in the caf—like the Incredible Hulk.
Oh, I think I’ve blocked out most of my uncomfortable high school memories. I was terribly insecure (still am) and hyper sensitive to anyone noticing me. The only place I allowed myself to ‘stand out’ was in sports. Anywhere else I tried very hard to stay under the radar. I do remember one afternoon on the bus, the guy I was crushing on - and now all I remember of him was long dark brown ringlets - actually sat near me and started to chat. All I could think of was my hair was greasy that afternoon. I clammed right up. I’m sure he thought I was snotty and rude but I was frozen with fear. I wish I could have that moment back.
The story seems to invite inevitable comparisons to The Breakfast Club. Which character were you in high school?
Honestly I have not seen the movie in years, like since I was a kid too young to understand the concepts of the movie. From my extended research (Facebook poll and Wikipedia/IMDB readings) I have no clear answer. My friend said I was John Bender, The Criminal, because I’m sarcastic, but I’ve never been rebellious. I toe the line. Now that I’m a growed up I’m a bit more relaxed but in high school I was a rule follower to a fault. I suspect I was more like Brian Johnson, The Brain. I put a tremendous amount of pressure on myself to perform well academically and remember failing only two tests - math each time - and having a complete meltdown over it each time. The world was ending and that grade would follow me ForEver. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to finish these questions so I can go watch the movie.
Sorry, but this is one of those questions I find endlessly fascinating. Pantser or plotter, and why?
Me too. A bit of both, really. As long as it’s flowing, I don’t outline, I go with it and write as much as I can from the cuff… when the story starts to grind to a halt sometimes I find plotting, timelines, charts, point form notes all can help push through the tricky parts and start things rolling again. What I can’t do, and have wanted desperately to allow myself to do, is to write out of order. I’ve sat there staring at the screen knowing the part coming in five pages will be EASY to write but can’t get through to it. I’ve told myself, ‘Self, go write it and come back to do this’ and but I argued back ‘NO! That’s out of order’. I can be very mean and inflexible. So far I have not won that argument.
You write across a few different genres. Any new ones you'd like to try your hand at?
I really want to try a good fantasy / magical story. Something with a supernatural twist in the characters living in our regular old boring society. I also would love to write a historical fiction - I love reading historical fiction and the research component is fascinating. I have one started, actually, that has a bit of both but it was a monster that I just couldn’t wrangle into submission. I hope to get back to it someday and finish it.
Personally, I'm dying to write a sci-fi mystery with mutants in there somewhere.
I am totally daunted by mystery. I have no idea how to construct something with all the answers available but not visible until you have hindsight - I call it the “I See Dead People” technique.… Way out of my league.
Back to #GoodDay...Where the idea for the story come from? Do you start with characters in mind? Setting? Plot?
I’ve started with concepts and built characters, I’ve started with characters and built plots. #GoodDay started with Henry, I knew I wanted to write about him. And then I had the idea of the day in high school. I’m intrigued by the idea that no story is completely true from one perspective, and this is particularly true in media. So Henry was tossed into an environment where nothing anyone thinks is the whole story. It’s something I struggle with in my life - to remember that what I’m angry or upset about may not be accurate and there may be reasons or causes unknown to me for how people act. It’s an active choice to be empathetic sometimes and give people the benefit of the doubt.
You seem fearless about tackling controversial topics. What's next on the horizon?
I guess it’s true I’ve written about controversial topics, but I don’t start with the topics, I start with the emotions and build the situation around the emotions. I guess heightened emotions are often tied up in controversial topics. My next WIP is a bit lighter on the political side but still has lots of gut-punches, I think. I’d like to write a comedy someday but I just don’t know how to be funny. Really funny. And if you’re not really funny, it falls very flat.
Readers, you can find Natalie on her website and Twitter, and you can shelve a copy of It Should Have Been a #GoodDay on Goodreads.