Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/2m5y9OC
Praise for Dating the It Guy:
“A sweet, endearing story—you’ll fall in love with Emme just like I did!” --Kimber Leigh Wheaton, YA/NA author
"Hager's authentic characters will resonate with readers of all ages as they are immersed in the story - complete with teen drama and angst, but also the relationships which make it all worthwhile." -- Leslie L. McKee, book reviewer, Edits and Reviews by Leslie
Let’s start with, how are you this find day?
I’m doing well!
Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
The idea for Dating the It Guy came when I was watching something on TV about JFK Jr. I started thinking what it would have been like to have dated someone like him when he was in high school. I started thinking about what it’d be like to deal with all the stress and insecurity when the guy you’re dating is so well-known and popular. So I created Emme, a sweet, empathic girl who is kind of New Age-y, who falls for the senator’s son, Brendon, who is preppy, rich, and the guy every girl wants to date.
When did you write your first book and how old were you?
I’ve been writing for years, but I think I finished a book for the first time when I was about 25. It went through some rewrites, but that book was True Colors.
What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I love to read, watch movies and TV shows. I just finished binge watching The Newsroom and now I’m watching Enlightened, but my favorite show is American Dad. I also like exploring new areas and shopping.
What does your family think of your writing?
My mom likes reading all my books and my sister is onboard as long as there is no character that’s anything like her—ha ha! Years ago I wrote a column for a newspaper and wrote about her. I swear I mentioned it to her, but I guess being that it was in a university paper, I didn’t think it was that big a deal. But several people saw it and told her. They liked it, but she was a teensy bit thrown. My husband reads all my books and says he has learned a lot about women from them. One of my cousins says she’s my biggest fan and that means a lot.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
After my first book, True Colors, came out, I had a lot of readers and interviewers ask me if I had dealt with the things in the book my character, Landry, deals with, like friend issues, frenemies, anxiety, cliques, etc. I never thought about having to reveal anything about my personal life when I was writing the first book, but after I got a big reader response from it, I decided that I would use those awkward cringe-y moments in my books and maybe other people would benefit from them. I got a huge response from that from readers after sharing my stories via my books. All those painful moments I went through with friendships and dating have now inspired storylines.
How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
I have six books out: True Colors, Best Friends…Forever?, Landry in Like, Next Door to a Star, Competing with the Star, and Dating the It Guy. It’s hard to pick, but I guess I’d say Landry in Like is a favorite because I get the most reader mail on that one with people saying it helped them to feel better about themselves or help them deal with their anxiety or open up about it. And Dating the It Guy is special because the humor in it helped me when I was rereading it during edits and I had just lost a relative. Humor can be very healing.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do. The preteens and teens often tell me they thought they were all alone in going through something and the book made them feel less alone. Some mothers and daughters read the book together and it opens up a conversation. One grandmother wrote me to say her granddaughter opened up to her about something she was going through. My adult readers often tell me how they were still dealing with insecurity from their teen/preteen years and reading the books helped them to see what negative stuff they were hanging onto and put it in perspective. I love getting those messages that someone finally sees that the mean girl they dealt with were cruel to them because of their own insecurities.
Have you even been sent far art?
I’ve gotten a couple drawings and I even had people make jewelry based on the books. That was amazing!
What do you think makes a good story?
Anything that makes people feel something. To me, a book that makes me feel and where I have an emotional reaction makes a good story to me.
As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I always wanted to be a writer. I also thought it would be amazing to create a TV show. I used to create TV storylines when I was a kid.
What is that one weird quirk about yourself that no one else knows?
Like Emme I have strong intuition and I often bring things up to people that they’re going through without any prior knowledge. My mom often jokes I must have a camera in her houses to know the things that I do!
If you had your time back what would you tell yourself about writing?
I think I’d tell myself to enjoy the process and not put so much pressure on myself to get published. It takes away from the creative process when you add that kind of anxiety to the writing process.
Last but not least,
Do you believe in ghosts? Or have you ever had an encounter with the other kind?
I haven’t had an encounter or anything, but I have gotten little signs—like on the anniversary of the day my grandpa passed, I ran into a friend who was wearing a shirt with his last name on it!