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1 Author, 7 Questions: Ronni Davis

Looking for a sweet, poignant, and funny coming-of-age story? Look no further than This Night Is Ours from Ronni Davis! We got to virtually sit down with Ronni to discuss her writing process for this book and her previous novel, When the Stars Lead to You, and we gained some insight into Ronni’s inspirations and character writing! Plus, a tiny sneak peek at what she’s working on next!

1. What was your initial inspiration for This Night Is Ours?

This Night Is Ours had so many different inspirations! I really wanted to write a summer story, and I wanted it to take place over a fixed time period, sort of like a Clerks-style story, and I wanted it to be a true romcom. Setting it in the same universe as When the Stars Lead to You felt like a no-brainer since I was already familiar with how that world worked.

2. Can you describe your writing process? Are you more of a pre-plotter or do you let the plot develop as your write?

Every project has been different! For When the Stars Lead to You, a few of the characters had been marinating in my head for literal years, but the story developed as I wrote. There were a lot of false starts, but once things clicked into place, the story flowed out of me. It was a mess to revise, but it felt easy once I figured it out.

For This Night Is Ours, which I sold on proposal, it was a little more complicated. I had to write out a synopsis and figure out an outline, and I was so paranoid of messing up the outline that I had a hard time letting the story come out. Once I learned that outlines are more like guideposts, the story came easier. Brandy, as much as I love her, and as much as she wanted her story told, really fought me with actually telling it!

So, to put it simply, I’m still figuring out the kind of writer I am. 🙂

3. Oh Brandy, sweet Brandy! How could you not fall in love with her? She’s such a great main character. Where did you get your inspiration for her and what was it like developing her character?

My inspiration came from myself and from my son. I’m such a dreamer, and I knew that Brandy would have some of that in her. My son is an artist, so I grabbed
Brandy’s love of art from him. The thing about Brandy is that she has a strong voice and a lot of feelings, but they don’t always come out the right way. She also cares so deeply about other people, sometimes at her own expense. So, developing her character was complicated and took a lot of work, but I really love who she became.

4. I loved the relationship between Brandy and her mom! It felt so layered and loving and alive, and the conflict between the two felt so real. What was it like tooling out that relationship as a writer?

I was actually able to draw from a lot of my own experiences! As a teen, my head was almost always in the clouds, dreaming of what seemed like impossible futures, and my mother really tried to drill in me the importance of being practical. My mom also had me when she was 19, so she knew a lot about taking care of oneself and a child. I was a lot older when I had my son, and I was still overwhelmed those first few years. I can’t imagine doing it at 19.

Tooling out the relationship was interesting because as a parent myself, I can understand her mom’s perspective. As happy as I am to take care of my son indefinitely, I know he eventually wants to be independent. I want to make sure he is prepared to do that and be successful. I think this book was me wrestling with both sides of that coin. And as an adult with my head still in the clouds half the time, I really get Brandy’s longing to be more than ordinary, because I feel it too. All the time.

5. Okay, we need to talk Ben and Brandy’s ROMANCE!! I adore it! It’s so sweet! What were some of your favorite scenes of theirs to write? 

I had a blast with those two and their constant bickering and picking with each other. But a few of my favorite scenes to write were the Tilt-A-Whirl, when he kept throwing his body so she’d slam against him, the scene when she has a panic attack and he calms her down, and every almostkiss. Those were so fun to write! I also enjoyed writing any scene where they saw opportunities to be there for each other and took them. I liked showing that they really did care for each other even though they tried to hide it by teasing each other.

6. What have you been reading recently or would recommend?

I’m kind of all over the place with my reading, and I tend to be a mood reader on top of that. But because I’m in grad school getting an MFA in Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults, I’ve been reading a LOT of YA, middle grade, and picture books, as well as craft books! We have to read 40 books a semester and that’s a LOT of words!

Right now, I’m finishing up The Breakup Lists by Adib Khorram, but I’m also reading Check and & Mate by Ali Hazelwood! (I am one of those people who have a million books going on at once!) I’m also making my way through Story Craft (a craft book about narrative non-fiction), and I just finished reading That’s Not My Name by Megan Lally. I recommend all of them.

I really enjoy reading adult thrillers and romcoms. Earlier this year, I went on a non-fiction kick and read too much about cults. See? All over the place!

Also thought I’d note that my TBR is literally taller than I am. It’s wild.

7. What are you working on now? Any exciting ideas you can share?

I’m working on another YA romance, and I’m having so much fun with it. I can give you some hints: prom, friend group, unexpected, tender, unhinged.

This Night Is Ours

“Ronni Davis perfectly captures the terrifying joy of shaking off others’ expectations and coloring in your own future—a sensitive, stirring, deep breath of a book.” —Becky Albertalli, #1 New York Times bestselling author

For one teen girl, the summer before college brings uncertainty about the future and a budding romance—perfect for fans of Nicola Yoon!

It’s the longest day of the year, and eighteen-year-old Brandy Bailey has just received the worst news of her life: She’s been accepted to a top nursing school, making her mother overwhelmingly proud.

The thing is, Brandy wants to be an artist. She knows all the risks of chasing her dream. She’s heard them from her mother time and time again.

Plus, Brandy’s annoying classmate from high school, the annoyingly handsome Ben Nolan, is catching his far-fetched dream of being an actor. Why does he get to be fearless while she has to be practical? Ben is the last thing Brandy wants on her mind, so of course today is the day he decides to glue himself to her hip. Now his perfect face is right there in the cacophony crashing through her head.

Swirling in too many directions, Brandy’s emotions clash with the flashing lights at the town’s summer carnival. Can she have one extraordinary night before everything changes?

Ronni Davis spins a whirlwind summer romance full of cotton candy, funnel cake, and the sweetness of first love.