Young Adult fiction writer Kasie West, has been giving us exhilarating and captivating novels that are full of breath-taking and awe-inspiring moments that make us fall in love with the characters and leave us filled to brim with hope. West teaches us some of the most important lessons in life, making us believe in ourselves as well as showing us the importance in trying to be our most authentic selves, and showing us that having popularity is not the same as being remembered for doing something. Through her books, her characters and their stories, West reminds us of the most important things in life.
West lives in central California with her family, where the heat tries to kill her with its 115-degree stretches. She graduated from Fresno State University with a BA degree separate from her writing. She is the mother of her three daughters and son. Her books include: Pivot Point, The Distance Between Us, Split Second, On The Fence, The Fill-In Boyfriend and the books she’s currently writing, The Sun, The Moon, and the Truth and PS, I Like You.
West speaks about her inspiration for writing, the underlining meaning for her stories and offers advice to young aspiring writers.
When asked what inspires her to write such beautiful stories and where she gets idea for her novels, West tells us that she gets inspired from everything around her, that anything can be used as inspiration. She says:
“I get my inspiration from all sorts of places–experiences I’ve had or places I’ve been or stories I’ve read or people I meet. Everything is a story.”
It’s sometimes said that authors have favourite characters from their own stories, or characters that they secretly like the most. It can come from being able to relate to them more, or just because they stand out more. When asked if she has any characters that are her favourite, West tells us:
“I don’t have any favourite characters. In general I’m a fan of humour though, so a character that can make me laugh is always easier for me to write.”
West’s most recent novel, The Fill-In Boyfriend, is one of her more popular books, featuring not only a romantic and special love story, but also important and deeper messages about our society. It teaches us to be more open about our true feelings, and reminds us that sometimes when we make mistakes and do the wrong things, it doesn’t mean we’re horrible people. It just means we have to learn that we’re not perfect, and that being popular, isn’t the same as being remembered for things you’ve done.
When Gia Montgomery is dumped by her boyfriend, Bradley, in the parking lot of her high school prom, she needs to come up with something quick. She’s been telling her friends about him for months and this was supposed to be the night she proves he existed. So when she sees a cute guy picking us his sister, she enlists his help. All he has to do is be her fill-in boyfriend for a few hours with no commitment and a few white lies and then after she can win back the real Bradley.
However, after prom, she’s not thinking about Bradley, but the stand-in. Whose name she doesn’t even know.But tracking him down again doesn’t mean they’re done faking the relationship. Gia now owes him a favour, and his sister make sure he collects it: to be his fill-in girlfriend for his ex’s graduation party for a few hours, with no commitment and a few white lies.
Just as Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into her real one, Bradley swoops back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy not only her new-found relationship, but her friendships as well.
When asked what the underlining meaning is in The Fill-In Boyfriend and what she wishes readers will take from the novel, West tells us she wants people to learn about finding out who they are, especially in the world where social media plays such a powerful role. She says:
“Most of my stories are about the character figuring out who they are. I would say this one is no different. I think in this book, another theme came to light about finding out who you are in this world where it seems everyone is watching you and has an opinion about what you’re doing–the social media era. It would be hard growing up with that kind of scrutiny and need for validation. So Gia was trying to figure out who she was without trying to let other people (especially strangers) tell her.”
After being asked what advice she would give to young aspiring writers, West offers:
“I try not to give advice because everyone writes differently and what works for one might not work for another. But I do like to say write write write and read read read because those things can never steer you wrong.”