2020 Debut Author Interview: Ciara Smyth!

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 Ciara Smyth and her novel THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Ciara on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Ciara Smyth

Ciara Smyth studied drama, teaching, and then social work at university. She thought she didn’t know what she wanted to be when she grew up. She became a writer so she wouldn’t have to grow up. She enjoys jigging (verb: to complete a jigsaw puzzle), playing the violin badly, and having serious conversations with her pets. Ciara has lived in Belfast for over ten years and still doesn’t really know her way around.

Keep up with Ciara: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author?
Ciara: Thank you! Honestly, it’s a bit weird. It’s something I wanted for a long time but now that it’s happened it’s hard to process. For one thing, none of it happens overnight. There are milestones, of course, like getting an offer of rep or selling the book etc. but the change is also really gradual. I kind of expected to suddenly feel like An Author™ but it’s been more of a slow burn.

The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
Ciara: The best part is any part that is going well! But I really love when I’m typing something and then I start laughing to myself. I don’t know if they’re the bits that anyone else is going to laugh at but I do amuse myself from time to time. The hardest is time. I’ve also been studying on a course which involves a full time work placement and I started that a couple of months before The Falling in Love Montage sold. Trying to fit in study, writing essays, classes, work placement, and editing or drafting has been a lot. I’ve felt exhausted most of the time. But I’m also really impressed with myself for getting it done. 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE?
Ciara: That’s such a hard question because I think (a bit like becoming An Author™) it happened in a gradual way. It started as a story about a girl whose best friend and long term girlfriend just broke up with her (the break-up scene is still in TFiLM). Then I realised I wanted to set the book a little further down the line for my character and think about how it impacted her long term. I don't remember actually having the ‘falling in love montage’ idea, unfortunately!

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
Ciara: My favourite character to write was Oliver and from feedback so far he seems pretty popular. The dialogue between him and Saoirse was so fun to write and I think I could have made a whole book out of it. The hardest person to write was probably Ruby, Saoirse’s love interest. Saoirse keeps her at a certain emotional distance and the book is written in the first person so it was tricky to balance showing the reader who Ruby is with Saoirse’s stubborn insistence on not getting too deep!

The Book Bratz: What rom-coms inspired you before doing your own writing?
Ciara: None in particular, more the genre as a whole. Some people write them off as one particular thing depending on how they feel about them. They’re either fun and frothy or offensive and unrealistic. But there are a million of them and there ones that are hilarious with emotional depth, there are ones that are stupid but you love them anyway, there are groundbreaking ones and ones that are awful and should be hidden in a vault somewhere. I have always wanted a wide variety of rom-coms that feature lesbians though, and there are a few but there’s so much pressure on them to be everything to everyone because they come along so rarely. 

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE?
Ciara: That they want my next book immediately! Really though, I explore a lot of things in the story about memory and change and permanence and that will resonate with some people but mostly I want them to simply have a good time. Anything else is a bonus. 

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
Ciara: A friend and I have mapped out a ten years later story for all of the characters of The Falling in Love Montage but that's more for my own amusement! TFiLM takes place during the last summer before university so I don’t think I could go back to those characters and still call it YA. I am currently working on my second book with HarperTeen though which is about a girl who sets up a service in her school where she will do you a favour but you’re going to owe her one in return, no questions asked. There may be some f/f romance in there, I couldn’t possibly say. (I can and there is). I can’t share a title just yet but I call it the shenanigans book.  

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Title: The Falling in Love Montage
Author: Ciara Smyth
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication Date: June 9th, 2020

Summary: Saoirse doesn’t believe in love at first sight or happy endings. If they were real, her mother would still be able to remember her name and not in a care home with early onset dementia. A condition that Saoirse may one day turn out to have inherited. So she’s not looking for a relationship. She doesn’t see the point in igniting any romantic sparks if she’s bound to burn out. But after a chance encounter at an end-of-term house party, Saoirse is about to break her own rules. For a girl with one blue freckle, an irresistible sense of mischief, and a passion for rom-coms. Unbothered by Saoirse’s no-relationships rulebook, Ruby proposes a loophole: They don’t need true love to have one summer of fun, complete with every cliché, rom-com montage-worthy date they can dream up—and a binding agreement to end their romance come fall. It would be the perfect plan, if they weren’t forgetting one thing about the Falling in Love Montage: when it’s over, the characters actually fall in love… for real.

Thank you so much to Ciara for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about THE FALLING IN LOVE MONTAGE and can't wait for it to be out in the world on June 9th

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