Interview with Katie McGarry


Katie McGarry is the author of the highly anticipated Pushing the Limits, which debuts July 31st. Stop on by her website, read her blog, or find her on Facebook. Katie is easily one of my new favorite authors and Pushing the Limits is already receiving rave reviews (you can read my review here). I’m so honored that she took the time to answer a few of my questions. And without further ado, here’s Katie:

How did you first come up with the idea for Pushing the Limits?

Pushing the Limits was born when I was free writing for another story. I thought it would be fun to write a scene with my characters in therapy. Halfway into the scene, I realized that my heroine’s voice had changed. That new voice became Echo.

I gave Echo room to play and when I asked myself who would be the best person to bring her out of her shell, Noah was created.

Did you always know you wanted to tell the story from both perspectives?

Yes! I write love stories and there are two sides to a love story. I enjoy exploring both sides and examining why each character fell for the other.

Which character was harder for you to write, Echo or Noah? Who do you relate to more?

Honestly, it depends more upon the scene than the character. Whenever I had to write either Echo or Noah going through something emotionally difficult, it was hard on me. I become my characters as I write and their hurts become my hurts.

I relate to both. I gave Echo my memory loss and I gave Noah that feeling of loyalty to my friends.

Was it difficult writing such an emotional story or did you have a way of distancing yourself from/coping with the subject matter?

The best piece of writing advice I ever received was: if I’m not hurting when I write, I’m not writing the right thing. For me, this is very true.

I sobbed a good portion while writing this book, but at the same time I laughed. Echo’s internal sarcastic wit and Noah’s one liners kept me sane.

How much research went into the story?

Quite a bit. I researched on the internet and talked to people who were professionals or had personal experience with bipolar disorder, clinical social workers, the foster care system, and therapy sessions.

A lot of Echo’s friends are hyper-focused on the superficial. Is this something you noticed or dealt with in high school?

Unfortunately, yes. I remember a specific girl who used to act like my best friend when no one else was around, but then gave me the cold shoulder in public. I wasn’t the only girl she did this kind of thing to and she wasn’t the only girl I had noticed do this to other people.

High school could be brutal, but I was lucky enough to have a handful of true friends.

Are any events in the book based on your own experiences?

I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. I based Echo’s memory loss off of my own and gave her the confusing emotions I experienced during that time.

Despite their occasional bad influence, Noah has very loyal and trustworthy friends. How did you come up with such rich secondary characters? Are any based on people you know?

No, none of my characters are based off of anyone I know. With that being said, my best friends are very loyal and trustworthy. I value those qualities in a friendship almost over all others.

Beth and Isaiah were initially created by looking at the plot and arc of the story. Noah needed a best friend, an ally. This would be Isaiah. He would be that one guy who would help steer Noah in the right direction. Beth was created because Noah needed a character who would question his every decision, but would always do that out of love.

Beth and Isaiah were a blast to write. Their banter kept me smiling and their affection for Noah warmed my heart.

Are you satisfied with Echo’s and Noah’s conclusion or do you have more of their story to tell?

I love the conclusion to Echo and Noah’s story. I knew the ending of my story before I knew the first kissing scene.

Do Echo and Noah have more of a story to tell? I don’t know. I know their story. I can tell you what happens to them five years from now. I can tell you what happens to them when they are eighty. I have no idea if I’ll ever write their continued story. I guess we’ll have to find out.

In the meantime, I’ll let you know that Echo and Noah do make an appearance in my next novel, Dare You To. This book will be released in 2013 and follows the story of Beth, a secondary character from Pushing the Limits.

What, if anything, do you hope readers take away from this story?

That there is hope. Life can deal us some devastating hands sometimes, but no matter what the circumstance, there is always hope.

Thank you, Katie! Don’t forget to pick up your copy of Pushing the Limits on July 31st. Seriously, this is a book you’ll want to read again and again.