Celebrating Debutantes, FEATURES, Giveaways, Interviews

Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy (Author Interview + Giveaway)

Celebrating Debutantes 2016 Second Wave

I love reading smart characters in fiction. Not only because they have interesting thoughts but also because they make me more engage in my reading. It’s fun analyzing smart characters and their thread of thoughts. So when I found out that Katie Kennedy’s debut novel feature a whiz kid for the main character, I can’t help but get excited. I can wait to meet Yuri and discover all the science stuffs he knows. But before that Katie Kennedy is here on the blog today to answer few questions for me about her writing, Yuri and his story in Learning To Swear in America. This debut YA contemporary novel surely sounds fun to read.

There’s also Katie Kennedy’s bio and Learning To Swear in America‘s description and links where to buy copies below.

And of course, don’t forget to check the bottom of the post for all the details on a fabulous giveaway. Enjoy, everyone!

Interview with Katie Kennedy

Learning to Swear in America is your debut novel. Can you describe your route to getting published for the first time?

I wrote two adult thrillers before a beta reader noted that I seemed more interested in the family’s relationships than in who’d shot the senator. He was right. I stopped writing thrillers and wrote an historical MG for our son. I got an agent for that book and wrote the sequel—and then my agent retired.

So I wrote an oh-crap-I-need-an-agent book (which I burned at midnight in an undisclosed location). And then I wrote LEARNING TO SWEAR IN AMERICA. It took me six books and two agents to get published.

Can you describe your daily writing routine? Was your own personal writing process something you discovered only as you started to work?

I tend to write from late morning through mid-afternoon. Then I take care of household responsibilities, but if I don’t read in the evening, I might do a little more writing.

When it’s revision time, though, the hours can be much longer.

There are some things you don’t know about yourself until you just sit down to do the work. For example, I can’t write with a necklace on. It makes my skin crawl even thinking about it. And that is perfectly normal.

I love smart and quirky characters like Yuri. How was the writing experience from his perspective? Did you do a lot of research being a whiz kid that he is, especially with the science stuffs?

I read a lot of astrophysics and astronomy, but the only research I did with the idea of developing Yuri as a character was to read Neil deGrasse Tyson’s autobiography, THE SKY IS NOT THE LIMIT. I thought it might help to see what a young astrophysicist goes through. I drew nothing from it, but it was an entertaining read.

And it was fascinating seeing the world through Yuri’s eyes. He’s young, male, foreign, science-brained, and a genius. I’m not any of those things. I did lift some of his dialogue from a couple of teenage guys I knew in Moscow—conversations with them helped inform Yuri’s views of America.

What was one of the most surprising things you’ve learned in creating Learning to Swear in America?

Oh, by far the most surprising—and scariest—is how real the asteroid danger is. And how little is being done about it.

If Yuri could turn the tables on you and write a story based on your teenage years, what would the title of that book be and what would be the first line?

That’s a fantastic question! Remember that Yuri speaks without articles (a/an/the). Title: Katie Kennedy, Uncertainty Principle, and Being Teenager. First line: Katie Kennedy’s bedroom took entropy to new level.

Hmm…those aren’t very good, but then again, Yuri’s not a word guy.

Has math ever tried to kill you?

Why yes, thank you for asking. When I was in high school the administration put in a new furnace over the summer, but instead of pumping the fumes outside the building they accidentally vented into the room at the end of the hall—where I took algebra. The whole class suffered from headaches and weepiness, but it was a math class so no one noticed. Weeks into the semester they realized we all had carbon monoxide poisoning and made us spend the next couple of weeks standing outside in the cold while repairs were made. We wanted to play kickball during that period, but since it was officially a math class they wouldn’t give us a ball.

Are you working on any project right now? What we should expect from you in the near future?

My next book is WHAT GOES UP (July 2017, Bloomsbury). It’s another contemporary/light sci fi/action adventure mash up. I hope people enjoy getting to know Rosa and Eddie.

Thank you so much Katie for stopping by today and for taking the time to answer all my questions above. What Goes Up sounds interesting with those genre-mash up and all. Will definitely look out for it next year. have fun writing Rosa and Eddie’s story.


Author Katie Kennedy Katie Kennedy is a college history instructor. She used to teach in a fire station. When the alarm rang, the entire class jumped up and ran out of the room. She became an LPN in order to write more accurate medical scenes. She has been lost in Moscow, and rousted by the KGB for sitting in Red Square to eat her ice cream. She has been bitten by a fish.

Katie lives in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with her husband, daughter, and son, in a town with a million bats.

Find Katie



Book Details:

LTWIATitle: Learning To Swear in America
Author: Katie Kennedy
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: July 5, 2016
Pages: 352
Format: Hardcover, eBook, Audio

A Summer/Fall 2016 Indies Introduce selection

An asteroid is hurtling toward Earth. A big, bad one. Maybe not kill-all-the-dinosaurs bad, but at least kill-everyone-in-California-and-wipe-out-Japan-with-a-tsunami bad. Yuri, a physicist prodigy from Russia, has been recruited to aid NASA as they calculate a plan to avoid disaster.

The good news is Yuri knows how to stop the asteroid–his research in antimatter will probably win him a Nobel prize if there’s ever another Nobel prize awarded. But the trouble is, even though NASA asked for his help, no one there will listen to him. He’s seventeen, and they’ve been studying physics longer than he’s been alive.

Then he meets (pretty, wild, unpredictable) Dovie, who lives like a normal teenager, oblivious to the impending doom. Being with her, on the adventures she plans when he’s not at NASA, Yuri catches a glimpse of what it means to save the world and live a life worth saving.

Prepare to laugh, cry, cringe, and have your mind burst open with the questions of the universe.

Book Links:

Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Goodreads | Publisher


What’s up for Grab?

  • Hardcover copy of Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy + Swags Pack
    Giveaway LTSIA

The Rules:

  • Open to US / Canada Only
  • There will be one (1) winner
  • Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
  • Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
  • Ends September 14th, 2016
  • Prizes will be sent by the author

To enter fill out the rafflecopter form

Good Luck!!!

Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!

CD2016 Second Wave Collage

7 thoughts on “Celebrating Debutantes 2016: Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy (Author Interview + Giveaway)”

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