I recently had the honour of getting to interview the author of “What You Left Me”, “When the Light Went Out”, “Love Scenes”, “A Thousand Miles” and the forthcoming “That Summer Feeling”, Bridget Morrissey!
Bridget Morrissey lives in Los Angeles, California, but hails from Oak Forest, Illinois. When she’s not writing, she can be found coaching gymnastics or headlining concerts in her living room.
She is represented by Taylor Haggerty of Root Literary.
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me!!
Bridget: It’s my pleasure! I’m excited to be here!
Who or what got you into reading?
Bridget: I’m the youngest of five. My sister closest in age to me, Rose, was always reading as a kid. Since I was always in Rose’s business, I too was always reading, rummaging through her stuff to pick up whatever book she just finished.
When you were growing up what book or books did you read and how did they influence your books?
Bridget: Growing up, I read so many series: Ramona Quimby, Wayside School, Sweet Valley High, Babysitter’s Club, The Bad News Ballet, that kind of stuff. There’s a series called The Gymnasts by Elizabeth Levy that was so important to me because I was a gymnast too. Those covers are completely iconic. As for how it’s influenced my own writing, if I really think about it, my love for reading a series with lots of characters is probably why I enjoy creating large casts of characters as a writer. That has never occurred to me until right now, but it makes total sense!
Can you please tell us about your publishing story? How long were you on submission? Favorite part of the publishing process?
Bridget: We took What You Left Me out on submission in the beginning of January 2016. It didn’t sell until the end of August that year. I remember at one point I had to start sleeping with my phone outside of my room because I would wake up and immediately check my email for news. That doesn’t seem very strange to me now, checking my email that much, but at the time I was maybe too obsessive about it? I just believed in the book so much, and I really wanted it to get published, and I thought about it every waking hour of every day! As for my favorite part of the publishing process, it’s probably the moment I turn in a book for the last time, when I know my work is officially done. It’s surreal every time, to make it to the finish line. With each book it still feels revelatory and scary and exciting!
How did you come up with the idea for “What You Left Me”? Did you draw inspiration from your life?
Bridget: I have always loved thinking about who the people are that visit us in our dreams, especially when it’s someone we don’t know. That was the first seed of the idea for What You Left Me. And just dreams in general, really. How they can be prophetic at times. How we can see loved ones we can’t speak to in real life. I wish I remembered how I came up with the ideas for the rest of the book, but I wrote the first draft in 2014, so those other details are lost to time now! It’s a very special story to me all the same. I am so proud of it.
How did your second book, “When the Light Went Out”, come to be?
Bridget: So there are flashbacks in When The Light Went Out that unfold between the present day chapters. I actually wrote those flashbacks as one long excerpt, way before I even wrote What You Left Me. The flashbacks are a play-by-play of the day Marley Bricket died. I remember when I first wrote it thinking, “I need to be a more experienced writer before I can finish this.” I just knew what I was trying to do was really ambitious and intense, and I had to sit on it for a long while before I felt like I could complete it. After What You Left Me sold, I picked up that excerpt again. And I realized that I wanted to follow those characters five years after the initial event I’d written. So that’s how it all came together!
Do you have any plans for another YA book published with Sourcebooks Fire? If so, do you have any ideas on what you want to pitch them?
Bridget: I don’t have any current plans for books with them, but you never know what the future may bring!
Your first two books were YA and your next three books are adult. Do you have any plans to write in Middle Grade or do you already have any books in the works?
Bridget: I actually wrote a middle grade in 2018 that did not sell! Such is the business! It’s something I do think about trying again, because I work with middle grade aged kids in my day job as a gymnastics coach, and I’d love to be able to publish a book for them!
Thank you so much for agreeing to do this interview with me and I look forward to reading more from you!
Bridget: I really enjoyed this conversation! Thanks so much for having me!
What You Left Me
Martin and Petra meet for the first time at graduation, and though they’ve shared the halls of their high school for four years without crossing paths, there’s an instant connection the moment they’re seated next to each other at the commencement ceremony.
Then a car accident puts Martin into a coma, and Petra is somehow left picking up the pieces, using friends, family, and shared dreams to keep their surprise connection going.
Together they must unlock the truth of his situation, and with time running out, their bond becomes Martin’s best shot at waking back up to the life he’s left behind.
When the Light Went Out
Five years after the accidental shooting of Marley Bricket, her friends, who were there the day she died, reunite when a box of letters from Marley is found in her former home. The discovery leads them on a scavenger hunt that reopens old memories, wounds, and betrayals, and leads them to question what they thought they knew about Marley’s death.
Visit her website here!