Blog Tour: As If On Cue by Marisa Kanter!

Hi everyone! Today on the blog, we're lucky enough to have been invited onto the blog tour for AS IF ON CUE by Marisa Kanter. This was such a sweet read that we absolutely loved, so we're really excited to share a special interview with Marisa here today! Without further ado, let's get into it:

Marisa Kanter is a young adult author, amateur baker, and reality television enthusiast. She is the author of What I Like About You and As If On Cue. Born and raised in the suburbs of Boston, her obsession with books led her to New York City, where she got her degree in Media Studies and Creative Writing from NYU. Marisa works in the publishing industry to help books find their perfect readers.

Keep up with Marisa: Website / Twitter / Goodreads

The Book Bratz: It's so great to chat with you again! 

Marisa: Hello! I am SO happy to be here and chat all things AS IF ON CUE with you! 

The Book Bratz: How was writing AS IF ON CUE different from writing WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU?

Marisa: AS IF ON CUE is definitely my most indulgent project to date, in the sense that while drafting I just wanted to pack everything I love into one book: enemies-to-lovers, prank wars, puns, and so many theater references! Natalie, the protagonist, is VERY different from Halle. She is chaos personified, a creative who has trouble letting go of control and will do whatever it takes to save the drama club. She’s for all the girls who have ever been told they are “dramatic” or “too much” for simply expressing themselves. Also, in WHAT I LIKE ABOUT YOU, navigating grief and loss are central themes, so that writing experience was a bit heavier in that sense. CUE feels lighter and more classic cinematic romcom in terms of structure and how Natalie’s rivalry with Reid unfolds throughout the book. 

The Book Bratz: Did anything surprise you about the publishing process for your sophomore novel?

Marisa: After my debut experience, right at the beginning of this panini, I don’t think anything will surprise me! Actually, some days the fact that this book exists in its final form is surprising, because editing it throughout the course of last year was quite the creative struggle. It wasn’t until the third draft or so that I had the headspace to really allow myself to escape into this story and let it be fun. But once I did? It was almost cathartic, being able to write in an alternate universe where theater and bat mitzvahs were happening, and I am so proud of how this story turned out!  

The Book Bratz: Do you think that Halle and Natalie would be friends in real life?

Marisa: I LOVE this question. They’re both creatives in their own way, so it’s definitely possible. But honestly, I think Halle would be so intimidated by Natalie. Like, I can totally see a scenario where Natalie recruits Halle to help with the crew and set design after seeing her cupcake art! Halle would bring cupcakes, but Natalie wouldn’t have one (cupcakes are too sweet!), and Halle’s anxiety would manifest that into “okay cool she HATES me.” Halle would flee, and the crew experience would be extremely short-lived, thus fizzling out any true friendship potential. But I can absolutely see her befriending Henry, so there would be possible inroads there! Just a slower friendship burn. (I took this question way too seriously!) 

The Book Bratz: Where did you get the idea for AS IF ON CUE?

Marisa: Writing a theater book always felt inevitable! Growing up, I was a theater kid who memorized as many Broadway soundtracks as possible. AS IF ON CUE is actually inspired by a true story! After a series of circumstances left our drama club advisor-less during my junior year of high school, my friends and I wrote and directed our own original one-act play. It was my first time collaborating creatively, and such a unique experience that I always thought would be so fun to incorporate into a novel! Because there is nothing quite like the found family that is forged in theater and the bonds that are created while working together on a show, and I wanted to explore those cast and crew dynamics too. So that premise sat with me for a few years, while I was waiting for the right characters and story to shape it. On the flip side, enemies-to-lovers is my favorite trope, one I’ve always wanted to write and was waiting for the right premise to execute—and once the idea of a rivalry between a drama student and a band student came to me, the earliest draft poured out of me, and AS IF ON CUE was born!   

The Book Bratz: What do you hope that readers will take away from AS IF ON CUE?

Marisa: AS IF ON CUE is a love letter to theater, but it’s also a love letter to artists and the value and impact the arts can have during such a formative period of your life. Natalie is navigating a lot of complicated feelings about her relationship to art, feelings that are shaped by her own fear of failure and how everyone in her life relates to their own art. I hope that readers, especially teen readers, take away that art can be fun and serious, and like Reid says, it doesn’t need to be an either/or thing. Truly, there is no singular way to art.  It’s okay to reach for dreams that feel impossible. But also, your art isn’t less valid even if it’s just for fun! Just let your passions lead you forward, and don’t be afraid to stumble along the way. 

Title: As If On Cue
Author: Marisa Kanter
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 400 Pages
Publication Date: September 21st, 2021

Summary: Lifelong rivals Natalie and Reid have never been on the same team. So when their school’s art budget faces cutbacks, of course Natalie finds herself up against her nemesis once more. She’s fighting to direct the school’s first ever student-written play, but for her small production to get funding, the school’s award-winning band will have to lose it. Reid’s band. And he’s got no intention of letting the show go on. But when their rivalry turns into an all-out prank war that goes too far, Natalie and Reid have to face the music, resulting in the worst compromise: writing and directing a musical. Together. At least if they deliver a sold-out show, the school board will reconsider next year’s band and theater budget. Everyone could win. Except Natalie and Reid. Because after spending their entire lives in competition, they have absolutely no idea how to be co-anything. And they certainly don’t know how to deal with the feelings that are inexplicably, weirdly, definitely developing between them…

Thank you so much to Marisa for stopping by and answering our questions! We are super excited about AS IF ON CUE, and it'll be out on September 21st for you to enjoy! 

Thank you so much to Simon & Schuster for coordinating this interview with us and for inviting us onto the blog tour!

Celebrate So Excited GIF by Hey Violet

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