Google+ Reading Teen: Interview with Julie Halpern, Author of Don't Stop Now

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Interview with Julie Halpern, Author of Don't Stop Now

Hi Julie! Thanks so much for answering our questions!

• This seems like it would be a really fun book to write. Did you enjoy writing Don't Stop
Now? How did it compare to writing other books you've written?

I loved writing the road trip pieces of Don’t Stop Now, since I have been to most of the places and am a big road tripper. The relationship piece, while not frustrating to write, was ultimately frustrating because Lil was so frustrated. The Penny passages were more difficult because I thought about people I have known who dealt with abuse, and I tried to get into their heads as to how and why they would let someone do that to them. It was a pretty fast write, and I did enjoy it very much. I think because all of the characters are more unlike me than any of the other characters I have written, it made it a more challenging book to write than my others.

• Lil and Josh visit a lot of places, have you been to all of them? Which was the most

I have pretty much been to all of the places Lil and Josh visit in the book. My favorites were probably in the town of Mitchell, South Dakota, where they stopped at the Corn Palace and the Enchanted World Doll Museum. Sadly, the doll museum closed since I visited. It was the best doll museum I have ever been to! Plus, the Mars Cheese Castle, which forever had been just a junky building with a castle in the name, recently turned into an actual castle. So my book has at least two travelling inaccuracies already.

• If you could go on a road trip with one of your characters, which one would you pick?
Would you get along? Where would you go?

I don’t think I’d want to go on a roadtrip with anyone in Don’t Stop Now. Maybe Ethan. The other characters are a little too passive in life. That drives me nuts. I like to make things happen, and they sort of let things happen to them. When I wrote the book, I thought about making a character that wasn’t necessarily the smartest or the most clever, but a normal person that was also relatable. All of my other main characters have been quick-witted. Not that Lil or Josh aren’t, but they are more laid back for sure. Unlike me.

• If you could go on a road trip with a character from someone else's book, who would you
go with?

The first character that sprang to mind was Ed Kennedy from Markus Zusak’s I am the Messenger. Maybe that’s because I can still hear his voice in my head years after I listened to the audiobook. He had a lovely Australian accent.

• Penny seems like an interesting character. Did you know anyone like her growing up?

I did have a friend who faked her own kidnapping, and her mom was really into TV shopping. But so was my mom! So I used the jumping off point of the faked kidnapping to tell the story, but Penny isn’t actually based on the person who faked her kidnapping in real life. I always thought it was such a crazy thing to do, I had to use the detail in one of my books. As far as the abuse, I have had close friends in dark relationships. As their friend, I don’t know if I dealt with it very well. I didn’t really know how to deal with it. Maybe writing Lil, who really wanted to help Penny, was my way of trying to reconcile those feelings.

• Is there anything in Lil or Penny's personality that you wish you had?

Not really. Just because I’m well into my adulthood, and I have lived a pretty full life to the point where I have no desire to be a) a different person or b) a teenager again.

• Are you working on anything else right now that you can tell us about?

Don't Stop NowI’m working on the sequel to Get Well Soon. I am really in love with it, which I’m sure will change as it gets closer to pub date (fall 2012) and I start to panic, as always.

Thanks again, Julie!

You’re welcome! Thanks for having me over to your blog!

Check out Kit's review of Don't Stop Now.


  1. Great interview! I love Julie's books and am so excited for the sequel to Get Well Soon. Don't Stop Now was amazing.

  2. Awesome interview! I actually just finished Don't Stop Now yesterday and it was AMAZING. Now I can't wait to read her other books. :)


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