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First kisses should be legendary—not deadly.

Emmy Duivel believes in true love: heart-stopping kisses, candlelight dinners, and a connection that lasts forever. But not the kind of kisses that land your date in the hospital. Emmy always knew she was different, but not in the supernatural sense. Not in the succubus sense.

Paul Andinn had only one job: watch over Emmy and make sure she doesn’t expose the supernatural world. It should have been easy, but the moment he looked away, she kissed that boy, and everything changed.

He should be more upset. But he can’t. Not when he’s falling hard for her.

Larissa Hardesty is a Young Adult author of speculative fiction. Having lived a fairytale when she met her husband while on vacation at Disney World as a high school senior, all of her stories have at least a touch of romance. When she’s not writing, she can be found pursuing her passion for music as an elementary music teacher and handbell choir director. She lives in Central Florida with her husband and three children.

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1.What is your writing Kryptonite?

Social media. Especially Facebook. I am so bad about getting sucked into watching videos or reading comments (even though I KNOW I shouldn’t read the comments) when I should be writing. I am a horrible procrastinator, and unless I have a deadline, I will waste entire days in the bowels of social media.

2.What other authors are you friends with, and how do they help you become a better writer?

I have so many amazing author friends. My first author friends were J.A. Souders and Christina Farley. Not only did they help me become a better writer through critiques and friendship, but I learned SO much by watching them go through the publishing process ahead of me.

I also have many author friends I met through SCBWI and the Blueboards. The Florida SCBWI region is full of incredibly talented and generous people, and I have learned through their friendships as well as the amazing conferences put on by SCBWI FL. My Blueboard friends are amazing, and some of my favorite people in kidlit. Even though I haven’t met some of them in real life, I consider many of the friends I met on the Blueboards to be among my closest friends, including Katie Kennedy, Marissa Doyle, Cyndi Marko, and Ena Jones.

Finally, I have met some amazing authors through the 2017 Debut group. In particular, Shaila Patel and J.C. Welker are great friends and sounding boards for my ideas and questions.

Through all of these friendships, I have grown as a writer and as a person. I am thankful for everyone who has ever critiqued for me, shared a piece of advice, or just included me in industry events. The kidlit community is an amazing place to be.

3.If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

It’s not gonna happen right away. LOL. But it will happen, so slow down and enjoy the process.

My younger self was so sure she would make it with this book, and then that book. So I’d let her know that, yes, it will eventually happen, but not as quickly as she thinks or hopes. And that’s okay. What I learned in all those years of work and revising and starting over was invaluable.

4.How  did publishing your first book change your process of writing?

I got better at focusing and getting things done. It’s so much easier when there isn’t real pressure to finish something–a draft, or revision. I mean, yeah, I might have had a critique partner or group waiting to read something, but if I didn’t do it, there wasn’t a big consequence. But when your editor wants something… LOL. I learned to just do it. And I’ve gotten better at letting go of insecurities and blocks because I couldn’t let those get in my way–I didn’t have time.

5.As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

Coffee? LOL. I drink coffee all day every day, and I cannot write without it. But if I had to pick an actual animal, I’d choose my cat, Stella. She seems to know when I need a mini-break or snuggle to get through a tough spot. Plus she’s cute, and she’s the softest cat I have ever met.

But really, COFFEE.

6.What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

I do some research into places my characters go, sometimes what they wear, and stuff like that. I’ve researched things that my character researches in the book, like when Emmy researches what a succubus is, because I wanted to know what she would find. LOL. But I do most of that after drafting. I let the character drive the draft, and then hone in on researching details after I know what I need. But I’m also a pantser, so I don’t plot things out ahead of time.

7.What was your hardest scene to write?

This might be a little spoilery if you haven’t read the book, so be warned! But the scene where Paul tells Emmy that he’s the Watcher was gut-wrenching to write. I wanted to give Emmy a big hug and tell her it would be okay. LOL.

8.If you didn’t write, what would you do for work?

LOL. Like many authors, I do have a day job–a couple, in fact. I am an elementary school music teacher (grades K-5th), and I also direct the handbell choir at my church. Obviously, I love music and kids. Right now, even if I sold a bestseller, I would keep teaching. I love my day job. <3

9.What are you reading right now?

I’m finally getting to my friend Katie Kennedy’s WHAT GOES UP. She is one of the funniest people I have ever met, and I cannot wait to dive into this one!

10.What’s next for you?

I’m working on finishing a new project to send to my agent, and then I will tackle writing book 2 of KISS ME, KILL YOU.

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