Shooting Star is a YA contemporary romance. I had the wonderful opportunity to read it prior to our interview and I think it’s a wonderful YA story for youth who struggle with fitting and in and what labels and definitions are place on them.
MM: The acknowledgement at the front of the book says:
“A shooting star symbolizes hope, that even through any struggles it keeps moving, never wavering, it gives me hope that if a silly old shooting start can accomplish that, then so can I.”
What gives you hope and is there a particular theme from this book that you hope readers take away?
MP: The main theme of the book is based around hope. The book speaks about how the character, Zoey Brightwell, finds hope in a Shooting Star. She believes that if a lost star can keep moving forward, despite all obstacles, then so can she.
A major issue addressed in the book is insecurity and self-doubt. I hope what readers can take away from this book is the inspiration to be themselves and not feel they need to conform to society.
We all have our own story to tell and we need to tell it in our own unique ways.
MM: What was the writing process like for this story?
MP: The writing process has been lengthy. The book has been written over multiple times, and the ending of the book is not the same as the original version. The book has been written from my own thoughts and feelings, and has been changed throughout the time through my different perspectives on life.
MM: There is a line early in the book about fitting in… “until you’re in and all you want is an out”. This sets an interesting tone and theme for your main characters and finding who they are to themselves, especially as one character is new to the school and the town. Do you have experience of being the “new” person at school?
MP: In the 2nd grade I transferred to a new school, nearly at the end of the year, and it was a completely terrifying change. However, I remember transferring to a new high school in the 10th grade and it was not a nostalgic three years.
I have never been skilled at being sociable and often spent my final high school years struggling to fit in, even conforming to make friends – those experiences were the basis of my story.
MM: What inspired you to write Shooting Star?
MP: I have been a victim of conformity for years, trying everything I could to fit in and make friends. However, after high school, all my friends broke off their ties with me. I then came to the realization that I had spent so much time pretending for people that never appreciated me. I never had the opportunity to find myself or to make friends that would have liked the true me.
MM: This story is one that is a deep emotional one specifically for Zoey’s character arc that impacts those around her. Her battle of rejection and conformity is really empowering as she comes into her own beliefs and value. Do you think most youth face an imposter syndrome that they are trying to break free from?
MP: I believe social media makes imposter syndrome more real. Everyone wants to be liked, and to have as many followers as they can. We all have this desire to be someone we’re not, because we have all been made to believe that you need a large following to matter.
I believe that we all need to embrace who we are, because we all have a unique story and we shouldn’t hide behind anyone else’s.
MM: One of the characters is a writer. Does this character mirror you at all and how so?
MP: Zoey is mainly based on me and my past experiences. Like Zoey, I have always known I have wanted to be a writer, but the fear of failure made me constantly doubt my abilities.
However, Zachary is who I was and Zoey is who I have become.
I have learned to embrace who I am and to share my love for writing with the world, because by doing that – I have already achieved so much.
MM: Is there anything else you’d like to add regarding the story of Shooting Star?
MP: Shooting Star may be a short read, but I believe it’s best to say what needs to be said instead of just trying to fill the pages. I hope this book can inspire so many who read it, because that is the impact I have always dreamed of having.