Welcome to the blog tour for
The Rules for 50/50 Chances by Kate McGovern!
Today I’m on the blog tour for THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES, hosted by Macmillan/Fierce Reads!! I’m really excited to share an interview with author Kate McGovern on today’s post! We’ll talk about the book, Kate’s personal experiences, and more! Before we hop into the interview, let’s have a refresher on the book first!
Title: The Rules for 50/50 Chances
by Kate McGovern
Publishing Info: November 24, 2015 by Macmillan
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // GoodreadsDate Completed: October 27, 2015
Related Posts: The Rules for 50/50 Chances
A heartrending but ultimately uplifting debut novel about learning to accept life's uncertainties; a perfect fit for the current trend in contemporary realistic novels that confront issues about life, death, and love.
Seventeen-year-old Rose Levenson has a decision to make: Does she want to know how she’s going to die? Because when Rose turns eighteen, she can take the test that will tell her if she carries the genetic mutation for Huntington’s disease, the degenerative condition that is slowly killing her mother. With a fifty-fifty shot at inheriting her family’s genetic curse, Rose is skeptical about pursuing anything that presumes she’ll live to be a healthy adult—including going to ballet school and the possibility of falling in love. But when she meets a boy from a similarly flawed genetic pool, and gets an audition for a dance scholarship in California, Rose begins to question her carefully-laid rules.
INTERVIEW WITH KATE MCGOVERN
Brittany: The Rules for 50/50 Chances is your debut novel — congrats!! How did you choose Rose’s story for your first book?
Kate McGovern: Thanks! RULES is a story that sat with me for years before I wrote it. I read an article about a young woman in a similar situation, and I couldn’t get her story out of my head. My college playwriting professor, who is still a mentor to me, always said to “write the things you obsess over,” and I think that’s very good advice. Rose’s voice came into my head fully formed–she was always herself, right from the first page–and I think it’s because her story just haunted me from day one. I needed to write this book.
B: The book follows Rose who has a 50/50 chance of inheriting Huntington’s Disease from her mother. The main thing she struggles with is when to take that test that will tell her how the rest of her life is going to go. What’s the biggest decision or event (that you’d like to share) that’s changed the course of your life?
KM: Ooh, tough one. This is cheating a bit, but I’d say that each of the major moves in my life was a defining experience: first when I moved to New York City after college, then when I moved to the UK at 26, then when I moved home and settled down in Cambridge, which is my hometown. The New York years were very formative for me as a writer–I had my first full-length play professionally produced, and I was published for the first time, although I didn’t write fiction yet at that point. And I also started working in education, which is my other passion (I now for an awesome education non-profit organization). Living in the UK for three years took me completely out of my comfort zone in all the best ways. There’s something about being an outsider that is indispensable for a writer. I loved it. After I finished grad school at Oxford, I taught in an elementary school in very, very far West London, which gave me a fresh perspective on public education in the U.S. And moving back to Cambridge was the start of a new phase of my life, where I feel much more settled and finally “grown up,” in a way. (It only took me until my 30s :))
B: I really admired Rose’s strength and how she was trying to find a perfect blend of head and heart when it came to the really tough decisions and moments with this disease. What do you hope readers take away from Rose’s experiences?
KM: Dealing with a parent’s illness of any kind is a singular, unbelievably difficult experience. Rose has to grow up in some ways before she should. I’ve had a lot of readers ask me what I would do in Rose’s position, and the truth is, I just don’t know. In some ways, I’m in awe of Rose, and of others who are in her shoes (including readers who have experienced similar circumstances). I hope readers empathize with her, and take away from her that it’s possible to live well and fully even in the midst of incredibly challenging and destabilizing circumstances. Rose might seem indecisive, but I think she’s just scared, and rightly so. She’s doing her best with the hand she’s been dealt, which is all any of us can do.
B: I read on this “Meet the Newbies” post from Dana Square and A Perfection Called Books that there are a lot of personal tidbits and likes from your life that appear in The Rules for 50/50 Chances! (I love when this happens. It’s so fun to identify!) How did you decide which favorites to include in the book?
KM: My cousin described reading the book as a “treasure hunt” because she could see the little bits that were taken from real life in the midst of all the fiction, and I love that. The truth is, it’s all fiction–because even the pieces that are based on my real experiences are taken out of context, mixed up, changed to fit the story, etc. Nothing in the book is taken directly from my life. But I did have fun using some things in particular: Rose’s best friend, Lena, has pieces of several of my closest friends, but especially one of my college roommates/BFFs. So she was really fun to write. Rose’s mom is not like my mom much at all, but my mom does love trains, and so do I, so that’s where that detail comes from. The cross-country train ride Rose takes is based on my own experience–I rode the California Zephyr in 2012, and it was such an unbelievable experience that I knew I had to write about it somehow. I enjoyed reliving that train ride by writing those scenes.
B: What has been your favorite experience so far about being a debut author? Has anything really surprised you?
KM: This is going to sound obvious, but I was really surprised when I suddenly realized, “OH, now people are going to READ THIS.” I hadn’t really thought about that part, but it’s very exciting (and scary)! Beyond that, one of the best parts has been the incredible support I’ve received from my community, near and far. My family, my friends, my colleagues at my day job–everyone has just backed me up, and been so excited, which has been really humbling and wonderful. I’m very grateful for that. I’ve always, always wanted to write a book. So I’m just trying to soak up everything about this experience, because it really is living a lifelong dream.
B: We always like to know what else authors have in the works! Do you have any other projects you’re working on next? Are there other genres you’re considering or is contemporary/realistic fiction where your passion lies?
KM: I’m working on another book in the same genre–YA contemporary. I think that’s where I’ll stay for now, but I might branch out eventually. I love mysteries and thrillers–I don’t know if I’d be very good at writing them, but I’d love to give it a try at some point. My current work-in-progress is really a love story at its core, but it also deals with race and violence–some big stuff. As with RULES, I really started from the characters’ voices, and I’m just trying to do their stories justice.
A big, big thank you to Kate McGovern for this wonderful interview! It was an absolute pleasure and I loved hearing more about THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES!
There is also a giveaway! One Winner receive a copy of THE RULES FOR 50/50 CHANCES! All you need to do is enter the Rafflecopter form below to enter!
Winner must be 13 years of age or older to win. US residents only, please