Thursday, June 14, 2012

Apocalypse Now: an interview with MY LIFE NEXT DOOR author Huntley Fitzpatrick

Today we welcome Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of the amazing MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, debuting this week! 


“One thing my mother never knew, and would disapprove of most of all, was that I watched the Garretts.  All the time.”

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them…until one summer evening Jase Garrett climbs her trellis and changes everything.

As the two fall fiercely in love and stumble through the awkwardness and awesomeness of first romance, Jase’s family makes Samantha one of their own—even as she keeps him a secret from her disapproving mother and critical best friend.

Then the unthinkable happens, and the bottom drops out of Samantha’s world. She’s suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

A debut novel about family, friendship, first romance, and how to be true to one person you love without betraying another.

Welcome, Huntley, and let's dive right in!

With your first book out, what will you do to celebrate?


Everything about this book feels like a celebration. I get to go to Books of Wonder in New York City and read! I just got an actual hardcover in the mail! My children will see the book in bookstores! All of it astonishes me and gives me pinch-me moments. I’m a lifetime dedicated reader and can list the books that changed my life. It’s astonishing to think that now I might share shelf space with some of them on a bookcase.

MY LIFE NEXT DOOR is an incredible story--part falling-in-love and part finding-yourself. What did you enjoy most about writing the book?

I enjoyed writing a “good boy”. My first few YA attempts featured heroes who were more difficult and angsty—couldn’t commit or had issues that made them harder to make loveable. Writing Jase was just a pure pleasure. Sneakers after heels.  I also had fun with Samantha. I gave her my childhood habit of looking at people from afar and imagining what their lives were like. It was nice to be able to make her part of the story she’d watched from a distance.

Was there anything about it that surprised you?

Aside from the whole getting an agent and an publisher thing? Tim. I’d planned for him to be a rather minor character in the book and he just strolled on in and had other plans (I know, sounds a little schizophrenic, but writers are like that).

What has your journey to publication been like?

Extraordinarily lucky. I think I have the best agent and the best editor on the planet. Both have eagle eyes about what doesn’t work and amazing instincts about what will. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR started out as an entirely different story—changing the book I had in my head was a challenge—and totally worth it.

Do you have a typical writing day, and can you describe it?
It varies from season to season—a little harder in the summer as all the kids are home from school and the pool and the beach beckon me away from a disciplined routine. During the school year I get everyone off to school, then race to the computer and barely look up until I hear the wheeze-sigh of the school bus dropping off.

What’s next for you?

I’m working on my next book, which is set in the same general vicinity of the first, but with a very different hero and heroine. This heroine has not led a charmed life and she and the hero have had a mutual attraction for a while, but something has always gotten in the way ju-ust when they are about to act on it. But not this summer!

And last of all, because we’re a superstitious lot here at the Lucky 13s, we love to find out what other writers’ superstitions and lucky charms are. Do you have any, and if so, what are they?

Maybe too many. I avoid walking under ladders and I get worried when we break a mirror. I KNOW everyone is crazier when the moon is full. That’s not just me, it’s been confirmed to me by both ER nurses and grocery clerks, which is kind of fascinating. Apparently people get sick more often and are more rushed and rude during a full moon. Kind of makes you wonder why. Hmmm. Maybe there’s a story there.

About Huntley Fitzpatrick

Huntley was lucky enough to be born to parents who read every kind of written material with interest and enthusiasm, and let her do the same. From the start she searched for books that let her fall in love…with the story and with the boy. 
For most of her childhood she divided her devotion between Almanzo Wilder from The Little House books, C.S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and Tom in Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl. Now she writes her own stories of love and discovery while living on the coast of Massachusetts with her six remarkable and eccentric children and encouraging husband.


  1. I'm so happy to read this interview. I love contemporary YA romance and am always scouring Amazon to see what's new and coming out. This book has been on my watch list for a while now--it's exactly my kind of book! Today is the day! Congratulations, Huntley!

  2. Huntley, thanks for joining us today! I look forward to reading MY LIFE NEXT DOOR--it sounds like the perfect beach read!

  3. so exited 4this1
    gr8 interview

  4. It sounds like such a great book! I'm a fan of first love books especially. It's definitely going on my to-read list.

  5. What a great interview, Huntley. MY LIFE NEXT DOOR sounds like a great story. Congratulations on the release.

  6. I've had this book on my list since I first read about it! Great to see an interview with the author. Thanks, Lucky 13s :-)