Back in June I received an advanced e-book of The Summer of ’98 by Tay Marley and wrote about it in this blog post. I loved the book, especially since I absolutely loved Tay’s first published book, The QB Bad Boy and Me and The Summer of ’98 is a prequel (I wrote about The QB Bad Boy and Me here, if you’re interested). I won’t get into a whole review since I already wrote one (linked above), but basically the novel follows the love story of Ellie and Leroy, Drayton’s parents in the original novel.
The book can be read as a standalone novel, but if you’ve read The QB Bad Boy and Me, you’ll appreciate the backstory, connections to the other story, and little Easter eggs in there.
Even though I received an e-ARC courtesy of Tay, when I got the chance to receive a paperback, I jumped on it so I could have both books together on my bookshelf! I was asked if I wanted to participate in a blog book tour for the book, but since I have a sort of virtual friendship with Tay, I decided to do my own interview instead! Thankfully, she agreed to take part so keep reading for our Q&A!
Q: Was The Summer of ’98, a prequel, always the plan when you began writing The QB Bad Boy and Me?
TM: No not at all! I wrote QB with no plans of it being anything but a stand alone. Near the end of the first book, I realised I wasn’t done with the characters so I wrote the sequel, The QB Bad Boy: Playing For Keeps, which is on my Wattpad profile. Then came Lydia, a spin-off. And then came The Summer of ‘98. 🙂
Q: Where did you get the inspiration/idea for The QB Bad Boy and Me series?
TM: The first book came from a fascination with American high school/ football culture. The pep rallies, the cheerleaders, all of it. The series developed from the love I formed for the characters and their world and their relationships.
Q: Of all the characters, who do you relate to the most?
TM: I’m probably a mix of Cass and Dallas. Or I was more of Cass as a teenager and then became more like Dallas the older I got. Especially the homebody part. Haha. Introvert life.
Q: Which character do you enjoy writing the most?
TM: Has to be Drayton. He’s limitless, with him, I can write the craziest circumstances and my readers know him SO WELL. They love him and look forward to his antics. He’s just such a fun character.
Q: You have written additional books on Wattpad in the Lahey series. Do you see yourself continuing to write about these characters?
TM: I’m probably on the last book now. Pure Belleza, about Drayton’s kids. Which, admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve updated. I have every intention of finishing it, I’ve just been working on new books. Although, I am writing a new spin off about Drayton’s cousin, that’ll definitely see Wattpad and hopefully paperback, I just don’t know for sure right now.
Q: Have you always wanted to write young adult/new adult love stories? Would you ever try another genre?
TM: I love the romance genre but I am really interested in branching out into some platonic relationships, friendships or parent child relationships. I can’t see myself ever going into horror or thriller etc. But I like the idea of stepping outside of romance for something new.
Q: Do you have a certain routine when it comes to writing? Things you need to have/do to get in the zone?
TM: I find I just need to sit down and start writing and it’ll take off. Also, putting my phone out of reach because it’s such a huge distraction. Haha. I love a hot coffee on my desk, some good music, rain! Haha. I love it when it rains.
Q: What has been the easiest thing about making writing your career? The most difficult?
TM: The easiest part is that I love it. Writing doesn’t feel like a job because I enjoy it so much and it’s been such a blessing to create a career out of it. The most difficult is going outside of Wattpad and appealing to a wider audience that I’ve found are much more critical! Wattpad writers can leave some very forward comments but they don’t tend to review books like seasoned critics the way people do on goodreads. It took a little bit of self counselling to accept the fact that negative reviews are just part of the package when it comes to publishing.
Q: Now that you have 2 published books, what is the next thing you are working towards?
TM: Another book! I’ll keep doing it as long as people want to read what I write.
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring writers?
TM: Don’t give up! Being a writer is never going to be an overnight success. If you really want it, just keep writing, keep improving your skills, keep reading, submit manuscripts. Don’t ever think, this is too hard or taking too long because sometimes, it can take a while.
If you are interested in buying your own copy, you can click on the photo below!
A big thank you to Tay for doing this interview! Congratulations again, my friend, on your 2nd published book and I know this is just the beginning for you!
*This book was sent to me complimentary, but all opinions are my own. This post also contains affiliate links.*