2020 Debut Author Interview: K.L. Walther!

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 K.L. Walther and her novel IF WE WERE US, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have K.L. on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 



K.L. Walther

K.L. Walther was born and raised in the rolling hills of Bucks County, Pennsylvania surrounded by family, dogs, and books. Her childhood was spent traveling the northeastern seaboard to play ice hockey. She attended a boarding school in New Jersey and went on to earn a B.A. in English from the University of Virginia. She is happiest on the beach with a book, cheering for the New York Rangers, or enjoying a rom-com while digging into a big bowl of popcorn and M&Ms.

Keep up with K.L.: Website / Twitter / Goodreads


The Book Bratz: First of all, congratulations! How does it feel to be a debut author? 
K.L.: Thank you so much! I know it sounds cliché, but it truly is a dream come true! Last spring, I’d just come home from a long walk and was feeling blue, wondering if publishing my manuscript was a pipedream, and ten minutes later, my agent called with bibbidi-bobbidi-boo news! I don’t think my heart stopped racing for a week, knowing that someone other than my agent and family loved my characters and their story as much as I did. Each new step in the process to bring IF WE WERE US to life has been a thrilling learning experience. 
The Book Bratz: In your opinion, what's the best part of the writing process? What's the hardest?
K.L.My favorite part is creating and developing my cast of characters and their relationships with one another. Their individual personalities, family background, sense of style, favorite sports team, the banter amongst them all—I want you to know everything! Sometimes my sister would ask what I was laughing about, and I’d say something along the lines of, “Oh, something Sage and Charlie did today…” Of course, then the hardest part for me becomes revision and having to say goodbye to certain descriptive details or squad shenanigans. A common theme during my revision process was that I didn’t need to describe what everyone was wearing to Saturday night’s “Rumble in the Jungle” dance or why Luke’s older sister calls him Scooby! 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the inspiration for IF WE WERE US?
K.L.: IF WE WERE US is a mash-up between Taylor Swift’s classic “You Belong With Me” music video, my father’s boarding school memories, and then my own experiences at boarding school. You collect so many stories while there—some you might have been a part of (I’ll never tell), others you might’ve just heard at hockey practice or in the dining hall. Boarding school is rich with tradition and campus lore, and inspired me to create centuries-old Bexley as the setting for my modern-day love story. 

The Book Bratz: Who was your favorite character to write? Who was the most difficult?
K.L.: You’re making me choose a favorite squad member?! Well, it might bruise Charlie’s ego a bit, but when Luke walked onto the page in his backwards baseball hat and tortoiseshell glasses, that was it—I was a goner (as was Charlie). His dry wit and wisdom, adorable eye-rolling, and calm demeanor amidst personal turmoil make him so admirable and endearing. Writing him was effortless. The hardest to write was Nick, because he is, by nature, very laid-back and low-key. He likes hanging with his housemates, playing hockey, and listening to country music with one girl on his mind. While his twin brother’s appeal is all charismatic charm, Nick is a quiet, earnest love.  

The Book Bratz: This book deals with multiple forms of love -- both platonic and romantic! How did you balance that in your novel planning?
K.L.: I knew I wanted to have both forms of love in this novel, because love is life-sustaining. Both platonic and romantic love have their highs and lows, and readers will be able to relate to either or both forms. I place deep value on loyal friendships, and unfortunately, they can be rare these days. I wanted readers to see how wonderful it is to find your “person,” but that it is equally important to surround yourself with devoted ride-or-die friends. 

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from IF WE WERE US?
K.L.: I would love readers to finish IF WE WERE US feeling like they actually spent a year hanging out with good friends, cheering them on and hugging them after their victories, and hugging them harder during their struggles. I also want readers to realize that the energy expended and angst endured on the road to figuring out what you want and how to get there are all worth it in the end.

The Book Bratz: Do you plan on returning to the world of IF WE WERE US in the future, or do you have any other projects in mind? Can you tell us anything about them?
K.L.: Nothing would make me happier than returning to Bexley! There are so many more school facets to be explored, and so many other characters’ stories that deserve their time to shine. But first, next June we’re heading to a wedding with a twist on Martha’s Vineyard! Bring a water gun and be careful who you trust…

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Title: If We Were Us
Author: K.L. Walther
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Publication Date: June 1st, 2020

Summary: Everyone at the prestigious Bexley School believes that Sage Morgan and Charlie Carmichael are meant to be....that it’s just a matter of time until they realize that they are actually in love. When Luke Morrissey shows up on the Bexley campus his presence immediately shakes things up. Charlie and Luke are drawn to each other the moment they meet, giving Sage the opportunity to steal away to spend time with Charlie’s twin brother, Nick. But Charlie is afraid of what others will think if he accepts that he has much more than a friendship with Luke. And Sage fears that things with Nick are getting too serious too quickly. The duo will need to rely on each other and their lifelong friendship to figure things out with the boys they love.

Thank you so much to K.L. for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about IF WE WERE US and can't wait for it to be out in the world on June 1st

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