Students Want to Know Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You

Moriah McStay is the debut author of the March 17th release Everything That Makes You. I received an ARC and instantly passed it on to my students because they’ve been so interested in this story. One of my freshmen tore through it and then it was passed on to one of my senior boys who loved it as well. I’m thrilled to feature this interview between two of my students and Moriah McStay.

Moriah McStay

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Everything That Makes YouSummary (From Goodreads):

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

Did you enjoy writing the character swapping every chapter?

I did it enjoy it! At times, it got challenging keeping each girl’s story straight—I had charts and post-its everywhere! I’d write only one for awhile, and then switch over, which helped me stay true to each voice. Plus, giving each girl her own chapters provided some fun opportunities to play around with a single character. I got to create twice the wants, quirks and flaws—all good stuff for a writer!

Will there be a sequel?

No, EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is a stand-alone. I like it that way. It’s in keeping with the overall theme—who can say what’ll happen next? I have another contemporary YA coming out with HarperCollins sometime in 2017, though.

Do you like Fi or Fiona more?

At first, I identified more with Fiona. I approached Fi—the one “without any problems”– with the same assumptions lots of us have about people who look whole from the outside. Without much empathy. But once I realized Fi had her own issues, I connected with her more. Now, I feel motherly towards them both. I share characteristics with each, as well. For example, I’m creative like Fiona, but not painfully shy. And while I’m not a jock like Fi, I’m pretty competitive.

Do you believe, like in your novel, that one incident can change your entire life?

ABSOLUTELY! I believe everyone has a “What if?” question—several “What if?” questions, probably. What if my family never moved across the country when I was a kid? What if that girl didn’t sit next to me in third grade, and we never became friends? What if I picked a different major in college? What if my dad never got cancer?

And then there are the what if’s and maybes we can’t even guess. In one scene, Fiona gets into this with her brother Ryan, when she theories about all the random, unknown events that send us one direction or another. The possibilities of change in a single day are endless. But I think she’s right when she tells him, “If we try to analyze how every little thing changes us, nobody would get anything done.”

Playing around with how your past has affected your present—and future—is an interesting exercise. But I think the bigger point is that, no matter which path you find yourself on, you have the potential for fulfillment and happiness.

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