2020 Debut Author Interview: Eva Gibson!

In 2019, we made it our goal is to work with as many debut authors as possible and spread the word about their debut novels. It was such a success last year that we decided to continue the fun this year as well! Follow us this year as we pick the minds of the 2020 debuts and chat with them. Also stay tuned for news of giveaways, Twitter chats and more!

At the end of 2019, we Tweeted about wanting to discover more debut authors and their books. We ended up finding Eva Gibson and her novel TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Eva on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Eva  V. Gibson

Eva V. Gibson grew up on the east coast of Florida. She graduated with degrees in journalism and English, then spent her post-college years immersed in Asheville’s art and music scene. She now lives the small-town life with her family, dividing her spare time between crochet projects, hiking, sporadic yoga practice, and an ever-growing stack of books she will definitely finish reading someday.

Keep up with Eva: Website / Twitter / Goodreads / Instagram

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Eva: Thank you so much! It’s still all very surreal, to be honest. This is something I’ve wanted since before I was old enough to be legally employed, so to say it’s been a long road is understating it. So many people dream of being an author, but it’s hard to grasp the magnitude of what it takes to arrive at this moment until you’re standing in it, wondering what just happened. There are few things better than realizing the literal years I spent working toward this goal, which often seemed impossible, did in fact lead me here.
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Eva: That first draft is the hardest part for me—just getting the idea into word form and shaping those words into what they should be is a big challenge, especially because I’m a pantser. I’ve tried outlining, but it hasn’t worked for me yet because I always have some huge idea right in the middle of the draft that throws off everything else I’d planned. I don’t make this any easier on myself, of course, since I mostly draft out of order, writing scenes and dialogue as they come to me, then finding the natural links as they expand into each other. I know that makes no sense, but that moment when everything clicks into place and my conscious brain catches up with my in-the-zone writing brain. That is the best part of the process for me—the way the story grows from itself, and the bone-deep knowledge that I’m getting it right at least in the moment, even if I don’t know where it’s headed.

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE?
Eva: This book evolved from my own experience with loss. I started writing Lane’s story as a way to process feelings I otherwise had to repress, and as I wrote, I started to dismantle my grief and consider its impact on my family, especially my daughter, who was a baby at the time. That became the reason to write—to sort through and exorcise my pain before I inadvertently passed it down to her. Lane’s character developed as a sort of prophetic representation of what life would be for my own children if I didn’t pull through, and they had to grow up in the shadow of the choices I made.

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the hardest?
Eva: Since I’ve already gotten so much very, um…enthusiastic feedback on him in general, I’m sure it won’t surprise you to hear I had the most fun writing Connor. In the earliest days of drafting, he started out as a minor character, yet very rapidly became the voice that refused to be stifled, as his background developed within the emerging shape of the story. After a while, his dialogue practically wrote itself, which made his scenes unfold in a very organic, very “What Would Connor Do” sort of way—which is an irony I think he’d appreciate. Grey was definitely the hardest to write, as doing so required striking a balance between him as he exists in Lane’s head as her ideal and flawless One True Love, and him in reality as a very real, very flawed young man, with his own problematic, unexplored issues. I had to juxtapose his good heart and good intentions with his less than appealing personality traits, which was often difficult to do from a creative perspective.

The Book Bratz: What made you choose to examine complicated family relationships and forbidden love?
Eva: I wanted to explore how thoroughly the past can complicate the present, and to acknowledge that not everyone has an easy time reacting to other people’s emotions. So much of the way we handle conflict and process feelings starts at home—the way your parents treat you during childhood; whether their love is questionable or conditional, or otherwise unhealthy; how you’re taught to express emotions and react to trauma, abuse, and tragedy—all those lessons shape the way people confront the world as they grow up, and many don’t always know the “right” way to interact or communicate. And, since the disruption of the status quo in any family dynamic is always a high-stakes situation, taking Grey, who was already unattainable, and making him even more forbidden and literally impossible for Lane to avoid? The stakes could only get higher from there, especially since their new dynamic could offer them both the familial stability they crave, if only they were better equipped to cope. Lane coming to terms with the impact her issues have on others, when she’s spent most of her life refusing to let emotions dictate her actions, is something I think will resonate with many readers.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE?
Eva:I hope readers find something that sticks with them in these pages, whether it be a character they liked, a line that stood out, or a scene that made them laugh—or cry. Most importantly, I hope those who identify with Lane’s struggles are inspired to prioritize their physical and mental health and seek the help they need, if possible. So many people spend years living day to day, trying to do the best they can, all while dealing with invisible pain, internalized traumas, or external forces beyond their control. I hope they know that, though there’s no one solution to any problem, there are people who care, and resources available. There’s always a reason to keep going.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Eva: Though I don’t have any immediate plans for the TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE universe, I would never dismiss the possibility if the demand was there. Lane’s journey in a greater sense has just begun, and there’s plenty of potential for more angst and drama with these four particular characters in the mix—especially given how things end up. As for what’s next, my second novel, WHERE SECRETS LIE, is tentatively scheduled for release in 2021. It’s a coming-of-age contemporary about two cousins in a small town, who put aside their recent falling out to search for their best friend’s missing sister—and uncover some dark truths about the town’s history, their families’ ties to it, and the impact of their own toxic upbringings on their lives and futures. It’s very gritty, romantic, and riddled with angst, and I can’t wait for it to be out in the world.

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Title: Together We Caught Fire
Author: Eva V. Gibson
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: February 11th, 2020

Summary: Lane Jamison's life is turned upside down the week before her senior year when her father introduces her to his new fiancĂ©e: mother of Grey McIntyre, Lane’s secret, longtime crush. Now with Grey living in Lane’s house, there’s only a thin wall separating their rooms, making it harder and harder to deny their growing mutual attraction—an attraction made all the more forbidden by Grey’s long-term girlfriend Sadie Hall, who also happens to be Lane’s friend. Torn between her feelings for Grey and her friendship with Sadie—not to mention her desire to keep the peace at home—Lane befriends Sadie’s older brother, Connor, the black sheep of the strict, evangelical Hall family. Connor, a metal working artist who is all sharp edges, challenges Lane in ways no one else ever has. As the two become closer and start to open up about the traumas in their respective pasts, Lane begins to question her conviction that Connor is just a distraction. Tensions come to a head after a tragic incident at a party, forcing Lane to untangle her feelings for both boys and face the truth of what—and who—she wants, in this gripping and stunningly romantic debut novel.

Thank you so much to Eva for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about TOGETHER WE CAUGHT FIRE and can't wait for it to be out in the world on February 11th

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