10 Things You Might Not Know About How It Ends by Catherine Lo

Happy Sunday, everyone! We’re sharing something a little different on the blog today and I couldn’t be more excited! Recently my friend, Catherine Lo, celebrated some very special milestones in her publishing career in regard to her 2016 YA contemporary debut, How It Ends. To help mark the one-year anniversary of How It End‘s publication and the recent release of the novel in paperback – available now in a bookstore and library near you! – Catherine has been kind enough to share ten interesting facts you might not have known about her debut. I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I did!

About Catherine Lo

Catherine Lo writes contemporary young adult fiction. Her debut novel, How It Ends, is now available, and was published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. Catherine lives and works in Ontario, Canada, where she teaches high school.

Author Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramGoodreads

Top 10 Little Known Facts About How It Ends

This month has been full of milestones for How It Ends, including the one-year anniversary of its launch, and the release of the paperback version. To celebrate, I thought I’d share my top 10 “little known facts” about the novel.

In a case of irony at its finest, How It Ends didn’t have an ending when it sold to HMH Kids. The acquiring editor, Sarah Landis, loved the characters and story, but wanted some major restructuring, including a whole new ending. Back then, I affectionately (and somewhat nervously) referred to the novel as “How It Ends: The story with no ending.”

I was first inspired to write a book about female friendship after running a Girls’ Group with students at my high school. I was surprised by how reluctant girls were to participate. Hearing teens say “girls are too much drama,” “I don’t trust girls,” and “girls are snakes” inspired me to take a deeper look at the complexities of female friendship.

One of my favorite scenes in the novel is when Annie and Jessie first bond over book quotations. That scene was inspired by a former student (you know who you are!), who kept a journal full of quotes, and who used to share her favorites with me daily.

My children have never read any of my work (they’re still too young for YA), but my daughter was flipping through a hardcover copy of How It Ends shortly after launch day, and caught sight of a curse word in the text. “Mom!” She said, scandalized. “Does your editor know you put a bad word in here?”

Jessie’s social anxiety is loosely based on my own experiences with anxiety in high school. I keenly remember the intense fear of being judged that Jessie feels in the novel, and I pulled from a lot of my own experiences to write about her panic attacks. This is something I could never have imagined doing years ago. It’s taken a lot of time to understand and accept my anxiety enough that I can reflect on it and use it in my writing.

Scott Hutchins bears a striking resemblance to the guy I had a secret crush on all through high school…though probably not as “secret” as I thought, since half the student population of my high school drew his name with hearts in their notebooks. Charlie, however, is the guy we should have been crushing on, if we’d had more sense back then.

Not all students at the high school where I teach are aware that I’m an author. This makes for some funny conversations with students who have signed my book out of the library and caught sight of the author photo inside the back cover. They can’t believe that their teacher wrote a book. I think some of them suspect me of orchestrating an elaborate hoax.

I wrote a lot of the novel at the Queen Street Starbucks in Streetsville, Ontario. My favorite seat was right by a window, and whenever I was stuck on a scene, I’d indulge in some serious people-watching. More than one passerby unwittingly became the inspiration for a character in the novel.

I’m Canadian, and I never realized just how many “Canadianisms” were in my writing until I started working with an American editor. I had to learn how to say “locker room” instead of “change room,” and “tenth grade” instead of “grade 10,” and I routinely have to remind myself to leave the “u” out of favorite (favourite), neighborhood (neighbourhood) and rumor (rumour).

There is nothing quite like the thrill of seeing How It Ends on bookstore shelves, and I’ve taken to “visiting” my book in stores, especially while traveling. I love leaving little handwritten notes inside copies for whoever purchases the book to find. So check your paperback copy after release day on June 13 – you just might discover a little something special from me.

Title How It Ends
Author Catherine Lo
Pages 304 Pages
Intended Target Audience Young Adult
Genre & Keywords Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Published June 7th, 2016 by HMH Books for Young Readers
Find It On GoodreadsAmazon.comChaptersThe Book Depository

There are two sides to every story.

It’s friends-at-first-sight for Jessie and Annie, proving the old adage that opposites attract. Shy, anxious Jessie would give anything to have Annie’s beauty and confidence. And Annie thinks Jessie has the perfect life, with her close-knit family and killer grades. They’re BFFs…until suddenly they’re not. Told through alternating points of view, How It Ends is the story of a friendship from first meeting to breakup, set against a tumultuous sophomore year of bullying, boys, and backstabbing.

Catherine Lo makes her debut with an honest, nuanced tale about the intricacies of female friendship.

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