Interview with Keah Brown for A Secret Summer Promise

In association with Hear Our Voices, I was given the opportunity to interview Keah regarding her exciting debut in the YA fiction realm.

Keah Brown is a journalist, author, studying actress, and screenwriter.

She is the creator of #DisabledAndCute.

Her work has appeared in Teen Vogue, Elle, Harper’s Bazaar, Marie Claire UK, And The New York Times, among other publications. She is currently co-writing a musical and jumping into the film and tv space. (How exciting!)

The Interview

One of my favorite questions to ask authors is about their process for a particular project. With previous work as an essayist and journalist, how did your writing process change when approaching The Secret Summer Promise? What stayed the same?
I love this question because it is quite the change of pace making the switch to long-form fiction. I’ve published short stories and a children’s book but this was the first time that I was able to create a world where people could sit and stay awhile. So I was excited to sit and be in it for as long as possible. This meant that unlike my previous books, I wrote as little as possible outside of the book. I stopped taking on freelance projects and lived in the world with my characters. It was a lot of fun. I think what stayed the same was creating a playlist specific to the book and the characters and writing to it.

What did your average day look like while working on this project?
I began writing first thing in the morning at 9am and stopped around 10pm. I would take lunch and dinner breaks and a few breaks to watch my favorite rom coms for both fun and research.

Summer Promise plays with some tropes in an interesting and unique way and depicts the real-life struggles of many teens. What inspired you to tell Andrea’s story?
I told her story because I couldn’t get the idea of what a list to ensure the best summer ever would look like and who would be the one creating it? Those questions left me curious and I started building out her world and her. It feels very much like the queer book of my dreams especially as a huge rom-com fan.

Friendship plays a big role in Summer Promise. Of Andrea’s expansive friend group who do you think you’d be the closest to and why?
I love this question! I would be close with Fiona. I think she’s very sweet and very supportive. We’d have a great time shopping. I am also a twin so I think it would be fun to talk to her about it!

While you don’t shy away from depicting the natural ups and downs of friendship, the relationship Andrea has with her friends (especially Hailee) is quite healthy for the most part. What do you think is one of the most important ingredients in a healthy friendship?
Definitely communication and trust. My best friends are people I trust wholeheartedly and we have the best times together. We are also there during the low times and I think showing up for the people you love no matter what is healthy and necessary.

As mentioned above there are many themes for readers to explore in Summer Promises. From friendship, to struggles with identity, is there anything in specific you want your readers to take away from Andrea’s summer journey?
I hope readers take away the desire to be their full self flaws and all, I hope The Secret Summer Promises encourages readers to chase after their dreams and spend time with the people who love them.


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