Side by Side
Everyone likes the gorgeous star of their favorite TV show or that super muscular athlete, but there's just something about a celebrity hunk who can play an instrument. A beautiful guy (or girl) who can knock your socks off with a single note, or transport you to another world with their guitar riffs? Yes, please!
Both Miranda Kenneally and Katie M. Stout incorporate musically-inclined hunks into their new novels. In Kenneally's JESSE'S GIRL, Maya shadows teen idol Jesse Scott in order to acheive her dreams of becoming a rock star. When Grace --- the daughter of a famous music producer --- runs away from home to South Korea in Stout's HELLO, I LOVE YOU, she encounters Jason, a famous pop idol, who introduces her back into the world of music where she begins to understand what she is truly running from.
We decided to ask Miranda and Katie some questions about their books, their personal relationships with music and their celebrity hunks of choice --- check out their answers below!
Teenreads.com: What inspired you to write your book?
Miranda Kenneally: I love music! I love listening to it, performing on stage (I lovvvvve karaoke) and singing along to the car radio. With this book I wanted to show readers that they should work hard and go after their dreams, whatever they might be.
Katie M. Stout: My love for Korean dramas was a huge inspiration. I fell in love with them when I was teaching English in China during college. I really like how they portray romances and focus on the small steps of a budding relationship, like hand holding or those yearning looks across a room. I thought it would be crazy fun to write a book that had a Korean drama feel, and the idea really came together when I thought, "What if the boy was a Korean pop star?" It all sort of spiraled after that into this crazy book that's now called HELLO, I LOVE YOU.
TRC: Music is a major theme in your book --- do you have any musical talents of your own?
MK: I'm not a bad singer. I was in my high school's show choir and did a bunch of musicals. I play mediocre flute and piano. I can also gargle songs on command.
KMS: I play piano, and I actually used to be a piano teacher. But I don't have even a fraction of the musical talent that my characters do!
TRC: What was the most interesting thing you learned when researching your book?
MK: The most interesting thing I learned is how little I understand New York City. I've been to NYC a gazillion times in my life and I fancied myself an expert, but I made tons of mistakes while writing the New York scenes in the book, from traffic directions to when certain shops are open for business to what landmarks are visible from the top of the Empire State Building. Thank goodness for friends, family and my editor, who all patiently helped me get my facts straight!
KMS: I learned a lot about Korean food during my research. It was so fun reading blogs about street food and local markets and all the different kinds of soups and kimbap there are. Basically, it just made me really hungry.
TRC: If you could hang out with any celebrity hunk for a day, who would it be and why?
MK: Justin Timberlake. I love his voice and boy, can he dance! One time in Nashville, I paid $20 to go into a club and see him with other members of NSync. I stood behind a rope and watched them dance. Justin did some killer dance moves and pointed around at the crowd. Topanga from “Boy Meets World” was there dancing with Lance Bass. She was a crazy dancer (arms flailing all over the place like Elaine from “Seinfeld”)! I still consider it one of the best moments of my life. Does this mean I technically hung out with a celebrity hunk for a day? I think so. ;-)
KMS: Richard Madden, and I'd just stare into his dreamy blue eyes all day. He's super cute as the King in the North, but there was just something about him as Prince Charming in Cinderella that really got me (*swoons*).
TRC: Who was your biggest celebrity crush when you were a teenager?
MK: Jonathan Taylor Thomas. Also, Prince William.
KMS: I was very much smitten with Orlando Bloom as a teen. He won my heart as Legolas (even though he had better hair than me), and my love for him was solidified when he played Will Turner. Before that, I didn't know I had a thing for pirates... ;-)
TRC: If you were to write a song that summed up your high school experience, what would it be called?
MK: “Ode to Cruising Around Town in my Aquamarine Chrysler Convertible, Sipping on Sonic Cherry-Limeades, Hoping to Spot my Crush in his Maroon Mustang.”
KMS: To steal from Idina Menzel, I think it would have to be called "Let It Go." I let a lot of stuff get me down in high school, from losing best friends to quitting my favorite sport to my issues with insecurity and shyness. My perpetual theme was shaking off stuff that bothered me and moving on. The tagline could have been "This Too Shall Pass."