Interview with Katie McGarry

Posted by Goodreads on December 9, 2014
Katie McGarry's Pushing the Limits series is a genuine sensation that ratchets up the emotion and heartbreak with each entry. Fans love the way that each book stays in the same world, telling the story of a couple whom they've already gotten a glimpse of in an earlier story. In Breaking the Rules, Katie goes back to the couple who started it all—Echo and Noah! The two are still just as complex, troubled, and soulful as ever when we meet them at the beginning of their postgraduation road trip.

Ready for some exclusive info on Katie's next project? "I can't discuss too much yet about the first novel in the Thunder Road series, Nowhere But Here," says Katie, "but because I love my readers so much, I'll share the names of the first featured couple: Oz and Emily." What do you think? Good names for a new series set in the thrilling world of teens who are raised in a motorcycle club?

Read on for Katie's answers to your questions!

Rate this book
Clear rating
Haley: "How were you even able to come up with such an ingenious series? Is it hard to set the books within the same circle of friends and be able to further develop the characters?"

I never looked at these books as a series as much as I continually found characters who jumped off the page and demanded that their story be told.

When I set out to write Pushing the Limits, I always thought of Echo and Noah's story as a stand-alone, and then I met Noah's sort-of foster sister, Beth. There's a scene in Pushing the Limits where Noah walks in to find that Beth has been abused by her mom's boyfriend. I wrote this sentence:

"Beth's voice broke. 'I can't lose you guys.' And there it was. She sat here bleeding because she loved me and Isaiah."

And as soon as I'd written it, I knew immediately that Beth had a story that needed to be told.

When I meet new characters with each story, it's one of the most amazing experiences. There is so much depth to each of them. So many wonderful traits and so many hurts. I want each of them to find their happy-ever-after.

Ryan: "Why did Echo forgive her dad and stepmom so easily? I mean, I get that she didn't want to be like her mom, but her mom was blaming others for her problems. In Echo's case, she had every right to be mad. [His actions] speak volumes for the kind of father he is, and I don't think she should've been so quick to forgive."

Forgiveness, to me, can take time. I don't feel that Echo completely decided to forgive and forget everything as much as she decided to come to terms with the people in her life.

Part of growing up is the understanding that your parents are fallible. As children, we often look at them as the center of our universe and think they can do no wrong, and as we age, we begin to see them as they really are—as human.

They can love us, but they are still capable of making tragic mistakes.

There is no doubt in my mind that Echo's father loved her. In fact, he loved her so much that he wanted to fix her. After what happened with her mother, Echo was broken, a shell of the person she used to be. Echo's father wanted to take the pain away. He wanted her to return to who she used to be, but no matter how hard he tried to squeeze the pieces back together, Echo would never return to the girl he used to know.

Echo came to understand that no matter how hard either of them tried, they couldn't return to what used to be; instead they needed to move forward. I'm not sure she totally forgave him as much as she decided to move forward.

"My last question is, how did she learn to write so honestly, to tell the stories the way they could happen instead of what people want to believe happens? I don't know of many authors who can write with that kind of honesty and do it so well."

Rate this book
Clear rating
There's a lot of hurt wrapped up in me. Some of it has become entwined with who I am, right down to my bone marrow. When I was younger, I was desperate for hope. I needed to know that life was going to get better. It was books like S.E. Hinton's The Outsiders that helped push me through some difficult times.

I write the books I needed when I was younger. I also write the books that I need now. I do my best to write honestly about problems that teens and adults alike are facing, and to give real credible emotions to these characters. What makes life weirdly devastating and amazingly fantastic is that we are capable of feeling so many things at one time. We can feel profoundly sad at one moment, then heartbreakingly happy the next. We can be falling in love with someone while dealing with the death of a loved one. We can be meeting our best friend for life while going home to a family member with an addiction issue.

None of us are one- or two-dimensional. We all have something going incredibly right in our lives while something is going awfully wrong. When I write, I remember this and do my best to always show that there is hope.

Stephanie: "Hi, Katie! I adore all of your books, but Crash into You has a special place in my heart, as do Isaiah and Rachel. My question is: In Crash into You, Isaiah tells Rachel about his tattoos and the reason why he gets them, to remember. He told her that he'd get one for her because she's the best memory he has. Will we find out what that tattoo is?"

Rate this book
Clear rating
Oh, Isaiah and Rachel. I can't even begin to tell you how unbelievably happy those two make me. Yes, Isaiah will one day get a tattoo for Rachel. It will be angel wings placed right over his heart.

Brooke: "What author have you met that you totally fan-girled over?"

Simone Elkeles. I saw her walking in the food court area while I was talking with my editor at Book Expo of America. I totally freaked out when I saw her. My editor told me to go introduce myself, and I became paralyzed. I mean, I was me and she was Simone Elkeles, and I couldn't just walk up to her.

My editor basically took me by the hand and introduced us. I was so nervous, I thought I was going to explode, but Simone was so super nice and amazing! I'm pretty sure I stuttered through the whole conversation, but that was a BEA highlight for me!

Lucila: "How did you know that writing was what you were meant to do? Was it always your first choice or something you discovered as a grown-up?"

I've always been a storyteller. Since I was a small child, I've been spinning stories in my head, but I didn't attempt to write my first novel until I was in my early thirties. To give some perspective, I'm 38 now.

In high school I pushed aside what I naturally enjoyed and decided I wanted to become a family court judge so I could right every wrong I saw in my neighborhood.

To be honest, the reason I didn't write down my stories when I was younger is because I didn't feel like I was special enough to be a writer. Being a writer sounded awesome and big and beyond my reach, so I didn't even try.

Something changed in me in my early thirties. Instead of thinking, "I can't," I began thinking, "Why not me? Why can't I be a writer?"

It was terrifying to try, because what would it mean if I failed? Here's the truth: I did fail. I have plenty of manuscripts that were rejected, but you will never succeed unless you take a chance and fail. Failing teaches us what we need to improve.

Don't be afraid to fail. Failing only makes you stronger, and it brings you one step closer to reaching your dreams.

Rate this book
Clear rating
Caitlyn: "What is your advice for aspiring young authors?"

Read a lot. Write a lot. Study the craft of writing. My favorite craft book is John Truby's The Anatomy of Story.

Find a critique group. Learn how to take constructive criticism. But also learn how to keep the integrity of your story intact while listening to what others have to say.

We are our own worst critic. Don't listen to the haters in your head telling you that you can't. I'm living proof that you can. There is nothing special about me. I just like to tell stories, and I finally found the courage to write them down and let other people read them. If I can do it, you can, too.

Anne: "I hope you know how much your book Pushing the Limits touched me, hurt me, helped me. I have known bullying in my life, being an outcast because of things you aren't necessarily responsible for...How do you think we as a community, on and offline, should deal with bullying? Shouldn't we stand up for one another? What about public bravery? Intervening when we see bullying happening? I think we should. What about education on bullying? Many people see kids harassing someone and look away because "they're kids! they're just playing around!" That needs to stop, doesn't it? I believe that we can do something against bullying by spreading awareness and by standing up for one another, as Noah and Lila did for Echo."

I'm so sorry to hear that you have had to deal with bullying. This absolutely breaks my heart.

I do believe that we need to stand up for each other, and this is what I teach my children. Staying silent isn't OK, but that doesn't mean that we bully back. It means that we try to speak with truth and love. I try to teach my children that when they see someone being treated badly, they should step in. If the situation is one that makes them very uncomfortable or if they feel there is physical danger, I tell them to find a person of authority, a teacher, for instance.

If it's a situation where someone is saying something nasty to someone else, I encourage them to step in and just say the simple words, "Can we all just try being nice?"

I've seen my children do this. I've done this, and it's amazing how startled that person becomes when they are called out. Often someone continues their behavior because no one will say anything. Be courageous. Be brave. I'm a believer that when people see that you want to treat people nicely, they will end up flocking to you.

Mary Wisuri: "Your books are filled with action and romance—my two favorite things. How much did you pull from your own experience to write these novels?"

All my books are fictional, but I do pull quite a bit from my past. Most of the times it is the emotions that I have experienced through my life that I end up using as inspiration.

For instance, like Echo, I experienced a memory loss. Unlike Echo, I was a child when it happened, and my memory loss was due to the trauma of being bitten by a dog. I take my past experiences and slice them up until they are no longer me, and then I use them for my stories.

Tania21kml: "Why are all the mothers in the Pushing the Limits series so careless? Or bad? In Echo's story her mom wasn't much sorry about what she did to her daughter; in Beth's story her mom was so high on drugs, she didn't care what happened to her daughter. In Crash into You Isaiah's mom abandoned her, [and] Rachel and West's mom was so in over her head in grief, she didn't really attach to them. Why is that?"

I don't set out to write bad or careless mothers. I meet my main characters first, and then I learn about their family lives as I flesh out the character.

Something I do think about as I write is that I believe a part of growing up is realizing that our parents are human, too. That they have their own emotional baggage and that they can make mistakes.

What's odd with these mothers is that if you asked them, they would say that they do love their children, but each of them was unable to get past her own issues in order to love their children properly.

Dee: "What clique did you fit into in high school? You have a great understanding of teenage drama!"

I was one of those strange people who floated. I had one best friend who knew me from the inside out and two other friends who knew me pretty well, but other than that, I bounced around from group to group, making acquaintances and getting by.

Here is my attempt to draw a picture of who I was my senior year of high school: I was class president, straight A's, co-editor of the yearbook, and voted Most Intelligent. I was number one seed on the tennis team and went to state that year, where I lost in the first round.

I only had two private tennis lessons in my life (that I had to work full-time for a month during the summer to pay for) and taught myself the rest by playing against a brick wall.

I worked at the Kmart shoe department, and because minimum wage paid crap, I was lucky to bring home enough to pay for my college applications. I was so broke that I couldn't afford real wrap for my tennis racket, so I used gray tape instead.

I smiled at school and cried a ton at home. There were circumstances in my life that were out of control, and all I wanted was to get out. College was my only hope, so I joined every club and did anything that I thought would help get me a college scholarship.

High school, at times, was a living hell, but I remember moments with my best friend that are still some of the highlights of my life. I understand and remember that high school was and is tough, and I think that helps to inform the characters and situations I write about.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Here is a list of YA authors I absolutely love. It was so tough to narrow it down.

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Rate this book
Clear rating

Comments Showing 1-20 of 20 (20 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Corina (new)

Corina You have always been such an inspiration to me and so have all of your characters! Thank you for that! ❤️

message 2: by Sandra (new)

Sandra Please, please write Abby's story. I loved her in Crash into You and it was great to see her in Take me On but little glimpses aren't enough. I want a whole book about her.

message 3: by Kenna (new)

Kenna Winters Sandra wrote: "Please, please write Abby's story. I loved her in Crash into You and it was great to see her in Take me On but little glimpses aren't enough. I want a whole book about her."

Absolutely! You build her as such a dynamic character with so many layers and since we know so many of your characters know her it will just add depth!

message 4: by Asif (new)

Asif Yasin nice i love

message 5: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth Guzman i love your books they are so perfect to me

message 6: by Nancyorte (new)

Nancyorte An amazing author..Love every single story.. I lived every character entirely

message 7: by Nassir (new)

Nassir nice

message 8: by ابراهيم (new)

ابراهيم halo my name is aprahim from sohag egybt

message 9: by Nassir (new)

Nassir nice

message 10: by Karimi (new)

Karimi Asif wrote: "nice i love"

Sandra wrote: "Please, please write Abby's story. I loved her in Crash into You and it was great to see her in Take me On but little glimpses aren't enough. I want a whole book about her."

message 11: by Nooshin (new)

Nooshin i love your books

message 12: by Mony (new)

Mony i love all your books!! they are absolutly perfect :*

message 13: by 건마 (new)

건마 마짱 모든 마사지 건마 정보 공유 강남마사지,선릉마사지.역삼마사지,마포마사지,종로마사지,구로마사지,목동마사지,영등포마사지,분당마사지,일산마사지,수원마사지,안양마사지,부평마사지,부천마사지,인천마사지지,건마,1인샵,왁싱|강남건마|역삼건마|일산건마|마포건마|강서건마|구로건마|영등포건마|사당건마|이수건마|종로건마|건대건마|홍대건마|

message 15: by Septiya (new)

Septiya nice...:)

message 16: by Genphilipmark (new)

Genphilipmark Hello Dear

My name is General Philip Mark Breedlove I am an American soldier serving in the military with the army ’s 3rd infantry division. With a very desperate need for assistance, I have summed up courage to contact you. I am seeking your kind assistance to move the sum of $4.860.000 million dollars and 33 kg of 999 gold to you, as far as I can be assured that my share will be safe in your care until I complete my service here, this is no stolen money, and there is no danger involved.
Source of Gold:
Some Gold, Money in various currencies was discovered in barrels at a farmhouse near one of Saddam’s old palaces in Tikrit-Iraq during a rescue operation, and it was agreed by staff Brigadier Kenneth Buff and I that some part of this Gold be shared among both of us before informing anybody about it since both of us saw the Gold and the Money first. This was quite an illegal thing to do, but I tell you what? No compensation can make up for the risk we have taken with our lives in this hell hole. Of which my closest work friend was killed by a road side bomb last week. You will find the story of this Gold and Money on the web address below;

The above figure 83kg of Gold was given to me as my share, and to conceal this kind of Gold became a problem for me, so with the help of a British contact working here and his office enjoy some immunity, I was able to get it packaged and i have as well got the package out to a safe location entirely out of trouble spot. he does not know the real contents of the package, and believes that it belongs to a British / American medical doctor who died in a raid here in Iraq, and before giving up, trusted me to hand over the package to his family in united states.

I have now found a much secured way of getting the package out of Iraq to your country for you to pick up, and I will discuss this with you when I am sure that you are willing to assist me. I want you to tell me how much you will take from this Gold for the assistance you will give to me. One passionate appeal I will make to you is not to discuss this matter with anybody, should you have reasons to reject this offer, please and please destroy this message as any leakage of this information will be too bad for us soldier’s here in Iraq. I do not know how long we will remain here, and I have been shot, wounded and survived two suicide bomb attacks by the special grace of God, this and other reasons I will mention later has prompted me to reach out for help, I honestly want this matter to be resolved immediately, please contact me as soon as possible my only way of communication email.

God Bless
General Philip Mark Breedlove

message 17: by Uday (new)

Uday Edase Nice

message 18: by Nassir (new)

Nassir facebook nassir mco

message 19: by Amanuel (new)

Amanuel Mamo nice

message 20: by Man (new)

Man dezhamkhoo nice

back to top