We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler is such an amazing story that examines loss, grief, and guilt with my favorite found family trope. Hepler wrote some wonderful characters that show a lot of development throughout the book and I found myself falling in love with them. In this post I’ll be sharing some information about We Were Beautiful, an interview with the author, and you’ll have the chance to win one of five copies of the book!
This post does contain affiliate links. I will receive a small amount from any purchases made through Book Depository.
It’s been a year since fifteen-year-old Mia Hopkins was in the car crash that killed her older sister and left her terribly scarred. The doctors tell her she was lucky to survive. Her therapist says it will take time to heal. The police reports claim there were trace amounts of alcohol in her bloodstream. But no matter how much she tries to reconstruct the events of that fateful night, Mia’s memory is spotty at best. She’s left with accusations, rumors, and guilt so powerful it could consume her.
As the rest of Mia’s family struggles with their own grief, Mia is sent to New York City to spend the summer with a grandmother she’s never met. All Mia wants to do is hide from the world, but instead she’s stuck with a summer job in the bustling kitchens of the cafe down the street. There she meets Fig–blue-haired, friendly, and vivacious–who takes Mia under her wing. As Mia gets to know Fig and her friends–including Cooper, the artistic boy who is always on Mia’s mind–she realizes that she’s not the only one with a painful past.
Over the summer, Mia begins to learn that redemption isn’t as impossible as she once thought, but her scars inside run deep and aren’t nearly so simple to heal … especially when Mia finally pieces together her memories of the night Rachel died.
Was there a defining moment that made you realize Mia’s story needed to be told? If so, what was it?
I knew as soon as Mia stepped off the train in New York City, I was going to follow wherever she led. In spite of the pain she holds inside, she still tries to see beyond herself to those around her. She is like so many of us, wanting to hide, but desperate to be seen. I wanted to watch her learn to trust and love again without fear.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I like to write early in the morning before my life takes over. That way my only thoughts are of my characters and not my to-do list. Other than that – hot tea, my writing sweater (an old cardigan that belonged to my grandfather), and music (but not always – sometimes quiet is best).
What does your writing space look like?
I write at my desk which is in what should be a formal dining room. (But we’re not that formal.) It’s filled with plants, artwork, and pet beds, which makes it my favorite place in the house.
What specific challenges did you face when writing We Were Beautiful and how did you overcome them?
I was lost about halfway into the book because I had originally conceived of Mia’s story as a fairytale. She was going to be saved by magic in my first version, but that never felt right. I had to backtrack and figure out the story I really wanted to tell which was the one that eventually was published. I wanted Mia to find her own path to life and healing with the help of her friends and family.I felt like that story had a lot more power in it.
What are Mia’s three favorite songs?
Dreams by The Cranberries
These Are Days by 10,000 Maniacs
Return to Innocence by Enigma
What is the last book you read that you loved?
I recently reread The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. It hit me just as hard this time as it did the first time I read it years ago.
Thank you so much, Heather, for taking the time to answer my questions!
What: 5 finished copies of We Were Beautiful by Heather Hepler
Who: open to US residents
When: starts 4/22/19 and ends 5/1/19
How: Use the Rafflecopter form to enter and remember to read the rules first!