Interview With 2019 Debut Ronni Davis!

In 2019 our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. Follow us this year as we pick the mind of the 2019 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!
Last year, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Ronni Davis and her novel WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Ronni on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

About Ronni! 
Ronni Davis
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.
Keep up with Ronni: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Instagram 


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Ronni: Thank you so much!! Being a debut author is surreal and I have a LOT of feelings. They range from gratitude for getting the chance to experience this and share my book with the world, (and also working with an amazing team at Little Brown — seriously, they've been my dream publisher since 2005, and working with Nikki Garcia has been one of the best experiences of my life), to anxiety because my book will be out there and people will be reading it and I want to take my characters and wrap them in a blanket and protect them! All topped off with a healthy dose of imposter syndrome! I ask myself all the time “Are they sure they want to go through with this?” It's a roller coaster!
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what is the best part of the writing process? What is the hardest?
Ronni: The best part for me is when I can shut off the inner critic, I have a bowl of Reese's Pieces, and I'm in the zone. No interruptions, just me, the perfect playlist, and the story. My favorite part is putting the story together. All the planning! World building especially. My stories are contemporary, but I make up the locales. So I get to determine the culture of the schools or the neighborhoods, I make up video game names and store names, but I'll hint enough that people can tell what they're based on. There is a mix of real and fake, so there is grounding, but not too much. That way I can play with rules and traditions. I also love creating the characters, figuring out what they want, their quirks, and how they move through the world. The hardest part is finding something to DO with this world and the characters! Plotting and structure are a big challenge for me. I can have loads of ideas, but until I get down to business and actually shape the story, it's just fluff.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU?
Ronni: So many places! Devon was a character who lived in my head (albeit through many iterations) for years before she finally bloomed into who she is today. It took me a while to figure out what to do with her. I did know this from the beginning: She was going to be biracial, she was going to have incredible hair, and she was going to fall in love. I knew I wanted it to be a love story, and I wanted it to be a reunion story. But I knew I needed a compelling reason for Ashton to have disappeared. It took me a long time to figure that out. In addition, I wanted a book with involved parents, so I made sure Devon's were front and center. I wanted a book that showed a fierce friendship, hence Blair in all her awesomeness. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?
Ronni: Ohhhhh. What a great question! And hard! I loved writing them all! But my favorite was probably Devon's parents. I love their love for their daughter and for each other. They have a lot of respect for each other as a family, and I really enjoyed bringing out that aspect. Ashton was the hardest character to write. I wanted him to be vulnerable and complicated, and most importantly, I wanted people to understand why Devon loves him so much. I could see it all in my head, but bringing that to life on the page was a challenge. 

The Book Bratz: The cover of your book is absolutely *gorgeous* and we love it so much! To give our readers some insight on the publishing world: did you have a hand in choosing your book's cover? What do you feel about the finished product?
Ronni: I was very, very fortunate in that my editor asked me for cover ideas, which I didn't expect at all. Many authors get no say in their covers, and my contract didn't mention anything about it. So of course I sent an essay! I sent pictures of the model who inspired Devon, and examples of covers I really loved, and examples of typography as well. When Nikki sent me the first comp, I cried. It was going in exactly the direction I wanted. She also mentioned what tweaks they were working on. And later, I learned that the lettering was hand done by artist Jess Cruikshank, who also did the lettering for the anthology Hungry HeartsAs for my cover, the designer, Marcie Lawrence, NAILED IT. I absolutely love it. I feel like it perfectly illustrates the book and Devon’s journey, but it also captures me. 

The Book Bratz: What do you hope readers will get from reading WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU?
Ronni:A few things. First thing is that I want black and biracial teens to know that their only stories  don’t have to center politics and/or pain. I want them to see that they can study hard and have big dreams, like college. I want them to know they can kiss on a beach, or under the stars. I want them to know they can be the stars of their own stories—that they don’t always have to be the sidekick. I want them to feel seen. Second thing is that I want people to know that depression and mental illness can affect anyone. One can have what looks like everything on the outside, yet be falling apart on the inside. Third thing is that I want those people with these mental illnesses (myself included) to know that they deserve love. That’s it’s OK to get help, and that they don’t have to do it alone.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU in the future, or do you have other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Ronni: I absolutely love the world of WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU. It’s set in a town I made up, based a little bit on Columbus, OH, where I lived for thirteen years, and the fictional Stars Hallow, CT, which is of course, the setting of Gilmore Girls. The beach where Ashton and Devon meet is very loosely based on Jekyll Island, GA, where I spend a lot of time with my in-laws. I’m working on a few things now (set in the same world), but they are so new that I don’t want to talk too much about them yet! ☺  
Thank you SO MUCH for having me! These questions were amazing and a lot of fun to answer. I hope you enjoy WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU!



Title: When The Stars Lead To You
Author: Ronni Davis
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: November 12th, 2019

Summary: 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?

Thank you so much to Ronni for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about WHEN THE STARS LEAD TO YOU and can't wait for it to be out in the world on November 12th

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1 comment

  1. I just finished reading this and LOVED it! I def cried at least 4 times. I will no doubt have a review up soon, when I can collect my feels into real sentences, lol.


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