Meet the Newbies: Kerry Kletter

Meet the Newbies is a blog event dedicated to introducing you to the “newbie” published debut authors. In this event, expect to learn more about the authors, their books, and silly fun facts! Check out the full Meet the Newbies lineup here.

I read an excerpt of The First Time She Drowned, and the writing was exquisite. I've heard nothing but good things about this book, and Kerry is such a talented author.

Author Most Likely To Be a Suspect in a Rash of Candy Store Robberies

Nickname: Gidget
First Day of School: March 15, 2016
Homeroom: Philomel/Penguin
Grade: Contemporary
Extracurricular Activities: Surfing, Running, Reading, Laughing at my own jokes, Texting, Emailing, Texting some more, Binge-watching Netflix.
Favorite Class: Lunch
Favorite Quote/Motto: “If you want to lift yourself up, lift up someone else.” –Booker T. Washington


1. Describe your book in five words. 
Dark, lyrical, complex, emotional, hopeful

2. How do you feel about the portrayal of mental illness in YA? 
I don’t know that I have a feeling about it other than that I love that it’s being written about and conversations are happening because of it.

3. Your book contains such a complex mother-daughter relationship. What do you hope readers take away from this sort of relationship? 
I hope that people who have a similarly difficult relationship with a parent gain some insight into their situation or at the very least feel seen and heard and understood.

4. What inspired you to write The First Time She Drowned
I wanted to write about toxic family relationships, and how they damage kids and how to undo some of that damage. I wanted to mirror and validate teenagers going through that kind of experience with a parent and to offer hope.

5. Your writing is absolutely beautiful and so evocative. Who are your writing inspirations? How have they affected your writing? 
Oh thank you! So many! Pat Conroy, Elizabeth Strout, Donna Tartt, Tobias Wolff, Frank Conroy, Jo Ann Beard etc. I think any time you read great writers your own writing becomes elevated because of it.

6. Can you tell us anything about your latest WIP? 
It’s an adult book! I’ll return to YA when I’m done with it.

7. What is the most fascinating thing you’ve ever done? (Bragging is TOTALLY acceptable ;) ) 
Oh God have I done anything fascinating? Probably not. Maybe just that I’ve surfed some really big waves? Or that I did stunts on a summer blockbuster movie? That’s about as close to fascinating as I get. 

8. I understand that you have appeared in films! If you could co-star with any actor or actress who would you pick? Why? 
Well if he was still alive I’d say Phillip Seymour Hoffman because he was brilliant and I loved watching him in everything he did. Otherwise Meryl. She’s the queen.

9. What is one item on your bucket list? 
I’d love to make enough money to take all my friends on an extravagant vacation.

Five Favorites:
Favorite movie? Ordinary People
Favorite memory? Surfing with my brother in Montauk at sunset
Favorite animal? Dog
Favorite era? The Sixties
Favorite drink? Coffee

About the Book:

Cassie O’Malley has been trying to keep her head above water—literally and metaphorically—since birth. It’s been two and a half years since Cassie’s mother dumped her in a mental institution against her will, and now, at eighteen, Cassie is finally able to reclaim her life and enter the world on her own terms.
But freedom is a poor match against a lifetime of psychological damage. As Cassie plumbs the depths of her new surroundings, the startling truths she uncovers about her own family narrative make it impossible to cut the tethers of a tumultuous past. And when the unhealthy mother-daughter relationship that defined Cassie’s childhood and adolescence threatens to pull her under once again, Cassie must decide: whose version of history is real? And more important, whose life must she save?
A bold, literary story about the fragile complexities of mothers and daughters and learning to love oneself, The First Time She Drowned reminds us that we must dive deep into our pasts if we are ever to move forward.

Book Buy Links:
Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes and Noble

About the Author:

Kerry Kletter is a former film and TV actress living in Santa Monica, California. She has a BA in literature and studied theater in graduate school. When not writing, she can be found surfing, running, working with animals, commiserating with writer friends, or singing loudly in her car while stuck in LA traffic. She is currently working on her second novel for Penguin.
Social Media Links: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads


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Have you read this book? Which books have your favorite mother-daughter relationships?


  1. Wow this book sounds wonderful. I can't think of a book that has a mother/daughter relationship that I love, but if I could choose a TV show I'd pick Gilmore Girls. :)

  2. This one sounds good and I would love to read this. Mother-daughter relationship, hmmmm. I can't seem to think of one now! Thanks!

  3. I'm super excited about this book. I knew nothing about it until reading this post and I can hardly wait to have my hands on it after reading the interview and the synopsis!


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