2020 Debut Author Interview: Kylie Schachte!

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 Kylie Schachte and her novel YOU'RE NEXT, and we have been interested in it ever since. We are so excited to have Kylie on the blog today to answer some of our questions! 

Kylie Schachte is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College, where she studied such wide-ranging topics as comparative neuroscience and the cultural history of the United Status through literature and film. She lives in Portland, Oregon with her husband and their very clumsy cat, Matilda. Yes, she is named after the Roald Dahl character. Telekinetic powers unconfirmed. 

Keep up with Kylie: Website / Twitter / Instagram 

The Book Bratz: How does it feel that YOU'RE NEXT is debuting this year?
Kylie: It’s honestly so surreal. I keep saying “And once I have a cover/get reviews/see it in people’s hands/etc, etc it’ll feel real”...and we’re still not there yet! And now with a global pandemic going on, there’s a whole extra layer of strangeness on top. But I always pictured this book as a fast, fun summer read, and I know there are readers out there who need that kind of escape more than ever--that means a lot to me. 
The Book Bratz: What are some of your favorite thrillers and/or murder mysteries? 
Kylie: I actually wasn’t much of a mystery reader before writing YOU’RE NEXT, so when I started drafting I did a deep dive in the genre for research, which was a lot of fun. When it comes to the classics, I love the hardboiled stories like Raymond Chandler...Flora definitely takes a lot of cues from those grouchy old dudes. In YA, some of my favorites are TROUBLE IS A FRIEND OF MINE by Stephanie Tromley, SADIE by Courtney Summers, and FOUL IS FAIR by Hannah Capin. THROWAWAY GIRLS by Andrea Contos is a fellow debut that I’m really looking forward to later this year, as well! 

The Book Bratz: What inspired you to write Flora's story? 
Kylie: I was actually watching an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when I got the idea! As I was watching, I thought, “I just want to write something like this: super fun, and action-packed, and a little snarky...the kind of thing I would want to read.” But around the same time that I was starting the first draft in 2014, there were all of these things happening in the news that really emphasized the failings of our criminal justice system. I was asking myself a lot of questions about who gets justice, and who gets forgotten, and what kinds of victims we decide are worthy of our sympathy. I thought a sixteen-year-old girl, someone who society sees as inherently vulnerable and “weak,” might have an interesting perspective on those questions. But that’s all pretty heavy, and I wanted to write a fun book! That became the greatest challenge of YOU’RE NEXT: trying to thread the needle between an honest emotional account of the trauma and tragedy of murder, while still getting to play around with the fun stuff, like teen fight clubs and this action-hero style protagonist. There are so many incredible YA books out there that address the criminal justice system and other serious topics head-on, but I also love when books that we might think of as more “light” or “pleasure reads” can still feel grounded in our world and its issues. I absolutely loved the movie Knives Out for this reason--it’s this super whimsical play on a classic Whodunit, but part of what makes that movie so thrilling is that, for all its zany antics, it is also imbued with these very real issues, like white privilege and our broken immigration system. I tried my hardest to walk the line between the two sides of my story--the fun and the grounded--and hopefully that comes through. 

The Book Bratz: If you were receiving sinister texts from a murderer and couldn't go to the police with them, what would you do?
Kylie: Haha well Flora and I are very different in this respect. Flora’s very action-oriented--she just wants to fight, to go, to jump and figure it out when she lands...even if that’s maybe not always the best choice. I’m more the research & strategize type, so I think I’d try to find some kind of tech-y way to figure out who was sending the texts, and make it clear I knew who they were (from a safe distance!) Maybe even get the press involved? I identify more with Cass, Flora’s best friend, and Olive, her younger sister. Thank god Flora has them around to make her do her homework (or at least think for like...5 seconds) before she runs headlong into the fray. You’ll notice she gets in the most trouble when she doesn’t listen to them.

The Book Bratz: What do you hope your readers are going to take away from YOU'RE NEXT?
Kylie: So like I said, I first got the idea for Flora while watching Buffy, and in some ways Flora is almost like a superhero. But being a hero is easy, in some respects, when you have super strength and magic powers. Flora’s just a regular person, like you or me, who saw something wrong with the world and said: if I don’t do something about this, no one will. She gets a lot wrong along the way, and makes some terrible choices. But at her heart she’s someone who wasn’t willing to look the other way when injustice happened right in front of her. That’s the part of Flora I know I want to be more like, and I hope other people feel that way too. But I’ll also say that Flora’s “superhero” identity is in a lot of ways a mask for her to hide behind. The true story of the book is about Flora learning to face her emotions and her trauma head-on. Kicking doors in and cracking skulls is fun and all, but it’s not a replacement for dealing with your feelings. I said I wrote this book because I thought a sixteen-year-old girl would make for a fundamentally different kind of detective, and what Flora ultimately finds is that truth & justice are easier to find when we approach them not from a place of vengeance, but from empathy, compassion, and courage. 

The Book Bratz: Are there any secrets you can share with us about YOU'RE NEXT? 
Kylie: Well, about that ending...let’s just say I initially wrote YOU’RE NEXT as the first in a series. Don’t worry, the mystery is fully resolved and the book stands on its own...but the story doesn’t have to be over, if you catch my drift. Hopefully if people like YOU’RE NEXT enough, I’ll get the chance to write more!


Title: You're Next
Author: Kylie Schachte
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Publication Date: July 7th, 2020

Summary: Flora Calhoun has a reputation for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong. After stumbling upon a classmate's body years ago, the trauma of that discovery and the police's failure to find the killer has haunted her ever since. One night, she gets a midnight text from Ava McQueen, the beautiful girl who had ignited Flora's heart last summer, then never spoke to her again. Just in time to witness Ava's death from a gunshot wound, Flora is set on a path of rage and vengeance for all the dead girls whose killer is never found. Her tunnel-visioned sleuthing leads to valuable clues about a shocking conspiracy involving her school and beyond, but also earns her sinister threats from the murderer. She has a choice---to give up the hunt for answers, or keep digging and risk her loved ones' lives. Either way, Flora will regret the consequences. Who's next on the killer's list?

Thank you so much to Kylie for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about YOU'RE NEXT and it's out in the world NOW for you to enjoy!

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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