Dahlia Adler. We all know her. We all love her. And most importantly, everyone who’s read her books will agree: we love those best of all! She is a much lauded blogger at B&N Teen Book Blog as well as the opening act of this year’s Queer Romance Month. She is the author of recently released, Just Visiting, a story of two friends who “struggle to learn who they are and what they want in the present [and] discover just how much they don’t know about each other’s pasts.” She is sweet and irreverent and has a razor sharp wit. I, for one, have been dying to learn more about her!
For November’s edition of Authors Interviewing Authors, I decided to do just that and fellow YA author, Marieke Nijkamp, so graciously volunteered to interview Dahlia. So without further introduction, here’s Marieke Nijkamp interviewing Dahlia Adler about life, love, and her latest release, Just Visiting.
Marieke: I don’t think I’ve made a secret of it that I fiercely love your books, a little more so with every book, and Just Visiting most of all. I love Vic and Reagan’s journey, their friendship, and that perfectly captured on-the-brink-of-the-future feeling. To start with, what is your favorite aspect of or your favorite scene from Just Visiting?
Dahlia: My favorite aspect is probably how many little things are in the book that I haven’t seen anywhere else in YA—especially college visits, but other things as well. It’s still a fairly quiet book, but I think it speaks loudest in those little moments you see a mention of something you never have before. As for my favorite scene…let’s just say it involves a field, a pair of glasses, and non-matchy-matchy underwear.
Marieke: Conversely, what scene was really hard for you to write and why? What scene are you most proud of?
Dahlia: The first scene with Reagan and her mom in their trailer park sucked to write, because I just felt so sad for her, but also angry and frustrated on her behalf. I absolutely would’ve exploded in her shoes. The most proud…probably a certain “after” scene, not because the scene itself is so great but because I’m proud to discuss that particular thing in this book. Of all the things in JV I don’t think we talk about nearly enough in YA, it’s definitely top 3.
Marieke: Vic and Reagan absolutely do not see eye-to-eye on road trip music. What would your road trip music of choice be? What (if any) is your writing music of choice?
Dahlia: My taste is definitely closer to Reagan’s (female-fronted rock) than Vic’s (the poppiest of the pop), but the most key to me for driving is something I can sing along to. That can be Nirvana, Dispatch, the Decemberists, Hole, Less Than Jake…if I know the words, it’s fair game. For writing, I have playlists for each book, but when I’m listening to one artist at a time, it’s usually Mother Mother, Foo Fighters, Halsey, the Pretty Reckless, Deer Tick, or the Beastie Boys.
Marieke: One of the things I love so much about your books is that all your characters feel so very real. They have hopes and dreams and flaws. They all have loud, unique voices. Is characterization something that comes easy to you? How do you go about creating characters? (I realize that I’m showing my inner plotter here.)
Dahlia: Characterization is probably the thing that comes easiest to me, yeah. I think about my characters all the time, what they’ll be doing when the book ends, what conversations they’re having off the page, etc. It helps so much not to restrict them to what everyone gets to see. Reagan and Victoria were tricky because I’d never written dual-POV with characters of the same gender before, but with every revision pass, you see more and more how their lives inform them differently, how their different goals and access and privileges feed them. And characters are more than just themselves, too—what attracts them to other people and vice versa is also a key element, and it’s one reason I really like writing romance. I think you learn so much about a person by observing what draws them to another.
Marieke: Speaking of characters, if the cast from Radleigh University, your Daylight Falls-verse, and Just Visiting hung out with each other, who do you think’d hit it off? Any love or hate at first sight?
Dahlia: Oh God, this is such a fun question. I think in her pre-Connor days, Lizzie would have made some questionable Josh-related decisions. And I like to think Bri and Frankie would have some out-and-proud kinship. But man, Reagan and Josh would probably clash even worse than Josh and Van used to.
I actually think Vic and Van would probably click the best—both of them being really passionate about what they’re into and caring about pleasing their parents, being women of color who feel markedly like outsiders because of it, loving beauty and fashion…plus I think Van would be drawn to Vic’s fierce loyalty like she is to Ally’s, and Vic would admire the the hell out of strength of Van’s convictions.
Marieke: What’s next for you in terms of writing? What are you working on?
Dahlia: Next up are Right of First Refusal and Out on Good Behavior, which are the second and third books in my NA trilogy. I’m working on both simultaneously, for release in March and April, respectively. I also have three YAs in the works—a dual-POV contemporary inspired by the War of the Roses, an f/f sports romance, and a contemporary David/Jonathan story.
Marieke: Finally, as Queen of the Book Recommendations, which books would you recommend to Vic and Reagan? And why?
Dahlia: I’ve decided that Maggie Hall’s The Conspiracy of Us would probably be Vic’s favorite book, between the fashion and the travel and the romance. I think she’d love the pacing and the drama and probably both Jack and Stellan. Reagan’s already a big fantasy reader, and I think she’d love Melina Marchetta’s Finnikin, etc. I’d have to throw a few of my other favorites her way, too—The Girl at Midnight by Melissa Grey, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh…those would keep her happy for a while!
About Dahlia Adler
Dahlia Adler is an Associate Editor of Mathematics by day, a blogger for B&N Teens by night, and writes Contemporary YA and NA at every spare moment in between. She’s the author of the Daylight Falls duology, the upcoming Just Visiting, and Last Will and Testament, as well as over five billion tweets as @MissDahlELama. She lives in New York City with her husband and their overstuffed bookshelves.
About Marieke Nijkemp
Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies, and wants to grow up to be a time traveler. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends will be published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016.