Q&A with HOW TO MAKE OUT author Brianna R. Shrum

We’re delighted to have Brianna R. Shrum, author of How to Make Out joining us today on the blog. We can’t wait for her to share a little more about herself with us!


1. Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

So I write in both fantasy and YA contemporary, and I love 8both* because to me, both genres sparkle with magic. In fantasy it’s right there–the stakes are drawn in magic and blood. But in YA contemporary, I can write someone experiencing this stage of life that is there and gone in a blink, where everything feels HUGE and so fleeting. And that is like magic in itself.empire-of-storms

2. What are you reading right now?

I just finished The Hating Game by Sally Thorne, and oh my gosh, if someone could send me a post on How To Get Over A Book Hangover, that would be great. Ha. So to TRY to get over that, I’ve started reading ! (No one tell me what happens but #TeamRowan forever and ever)

3. If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

OH MAN. This is so impossible because it changes depending on my mood! If I’m feeling waggle-eyebrows and amoral, I want to be Alina Starkov and rule RAvka forever with the Darkling. I was gonna say possibly Alucard Emery from A Gathering of Shadows but that’s technically not YA so….I think Puck from The Scorpio Races. Yes. Puck. ALWAYS.

4. Where’s your favorite place to write? 

I spend most of my time writing on my living room couch by the light of my Harry Potter Christmas tree (which I keep up year round). But my FAVORITE place is this little hole-in-the-wall coffee shop downtown that makes the best chai tea in ALL THE LAND.

5. What’s your favorite classic movie?

Empire Strikes Back. No question.stegosaurus

6. If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

A STEGOSAURUS. I would name him Winston.

7. Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

As darkkkk as possible, please.

slytherin8. What’s your favorite holiday?

CHRISTMAS. I decorate my house like Hogwarts at Christmas and we choose which House won that year and rank them by drawing them with chalk on the fireplace. and decorate the tree in whichever won. Last year was Gryffindor. This year I am fighting for my house–Slytherin.

9. What’s your favorite emoji?

The smirky face or the sweating smiley face. The combination of them basically sums up me as a person.

10. What did you want to grow up to be when you were your character’s age?

So when I was 16? A songwriter. I wound up being something pretty close! Ha!

how-to-make-out-revised-9781510701670How to Make Out

Sixteen-year-old Renley needs three thousand dollars for the math club’s trip to New York City, and she knows exactly how to get it: she’s going to start a how-to blog where people pay for answers to all of life’s questions from a “certified expert.” The only problems: 1) She doesn’t know how to do anything but long division and calculus. 2) She’s totally invisible to people at school. And not in a cool Gossip Girl kind of way.

So, she decides to learn to do . . . well . . . everything. When her anonymous blog shifts in a more scandalous direction and the questions (and money) start rolling in, she has to learn not just how to do waterfall braids and cat-eye makeup, but a few other things, like how to cure a hangover, how to flirt, and how to make out (something her very experienced, and very in-love-with-her neighbor, Drew, is more than willing to help with).

As her blog’s reputation skyrockets, so does “new and improved” Renley’s popularity. She’s not only nabbed the attention of the entire school, but also the eye of Seth Levine, the hot culinary wizard she’s admired from across the home-ec classroom all year.

Soon, caught up in the thrill of popularity both in and out of cyberspace, her secrets start to spiral, and she finds that she’s forgotten the most important how-to: how to be herself. When her online and real lives converge, Renley will have to make a choice: lose everything she loves in her new life, or everyone she loves in the life she left behind.

Brianna Shrum has been writing since she could scrawl letters and has worked with teens since she graduated, either in the writing classes she taught or within youth groups. Brianna digs all things YA, as well as all things geeky, superhero-y, gamer-y, magical, and strange. She lives in Englewood, Colorado, with her high-school-sweetheart-turned-husband and her two little boys.

Visit her online at www.briannashrum.com, @BriannaShrum on Twitter, and @bchrumby on Instagram!

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