Stay Sweet was a surprise favorite for me when I picked it up this summer. I knew I would enjoy this story about friends, ice cream, and change but I didn’t expect to fall in love with Amelia as she navigated the murky waters of her last summer before college and figuring out what comes next. Today I’m thrilled to have Siobhan Vivian answering a few questions about her latest novel.
Miss Print (MP): Can you tell me a bit about your path as a writer? How did you get to this point?
Siobhan Vivian (SV): I started my career working in children’s television. Part of my job was to scout for picture books that might make good cartoons. I would receive publishing catalogs from all the major houses and found myself gravitating towards the back pages, where the YA book descriptions were listed. This was when YA novels were just beginning to explode on the scene. And I became totally hooked.
MP: What was the inspiration for Stay Sweet?
SV: It was inspired by a lot of things, but the impetus for the idea came from an actual ice cream stand I visited years ago, called Durbin’s Magic Freeze in Barberton, OH.
MP: In addition to following Amelia’s story, you include excerpts from Molly Meade’s diary as she first starts what will become Meade Creamery. Did you always know that you’d be telling Molly’s story as part of the plot for this book? How did you decide what details to share?
SV: I didn’t initially. It wasn’t until I started researching the history behind the ice cream stand I mentioned above that Molly’s story began to appear. I went online and bought a bunch of Seventeen magazines from the 1940s and things really caught fire. It was incredible to me how young girls who showed career ambitions—then and now—struggled with many of the same issues.
MP: Do you have a favorite scene or a scene you are excited for readers to discover?
SV: I love the moment when Amelia discovers Molly’s story and starts diving into the past.
MP: One of the things I loved about Stay Sweet is the thread of friendship that runs through the story as Amelia and Cate navigate their last summer together before college. What are some of your favorite fictional frienships?
SV: I have so so many. I guess my all-time favorite would be Anne and Diana from Anne of Green Gables. I loved how different they were—personality wise—and how deeply they loved each other.
MP: Can you tell me anything about your next project?
SV: Yes! I am thrilled to say that my new novel, We are the Wildcats, is coming out this spring. It’s a 24-hour clock and the story unfolds over multiple narrators, much like a book I wrote called The List. It’s a bit of a mystery, with a ton of tension and suspense unfolding over one wild night, and the deep friendships shared between a group of girls sits front and center. I love it so much.
MP: Do you have any advice to offer aspiring authors?
SV: Get used to feeling uncomfortable. There is a always a point when a project feels terrible, when you don’t know what you’re doing, when you think your book sucks, and you want to give up on it. It happens to everyone. But you can’t let those feelings stop you. You have to keep pushing through and trust that you’ll find your way.
Thanks again to Siobhan for for taking the time to answer my questions.
You can also read my review of Stay Sweet here on the blog.