Siobhan Vivian is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest novel, Stay Sweet, was recently released this past spring. We were lucky enough to get our hands on a copy of Stay Sweet and have the inside scoop on it! Read more below:
Review of Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian
A story of encouragement, girl power, and friendship, Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian demonstrates how one small thing to you can mean the world to someone else. The novel follows Amelia who, for the first time is in charge of Meade Creamery, a place she holds near and dear to her heart. Having worked there for many summers beforehand, Amelia is so excited to be in charge of the female-empowered ice cream stand. That is until things change when the stand’s owner passes away and her grand-nephew, Grady Meade, comes rolling into town.
The beauty of this novel comes from the simplicity of the day to day actions of Amelia. Her beloved ice cream stand that has been run by local females since it’s beginning has now been taken over. Amelia grows in this novel because of the complications set before her. When life throws her a banana split type of curveball, she has to get out of her comfort zone and start on a new path.
Readers will become invested, not just in Amelia, but in the world that has been created in this story. The crazy (and not-so-crazy) adventures Amelia goes on will take every reader on an emotional journey. One summer can be life changing it seems. One summer can change everything. Not because of the actions of others, but because that’s how life is. This novel shows that life goes on, but that doesn’t mean that we as humans stay stagnate. We grow and react to the world around us.
This novel is a sensational read for summer. It has everything anyone would ever want in a novel: friendship, accomplishment, maybe even some romance… Nevertheless, the best part of this entire novel is the characterization and the in-depth look into who Amelia is and who she then becomes.
Ice cream sundaes, love, and determination: Stay Sweet by Siobhan Vivian has everything you’d ever want for a summer (or anytime) read.
Q&A with Siobhan Vivian
We were lucky enough to chat with author Siobhan Vivian. We discussed Stay Sweet, her advice for writers, and how Sesame Street is one of her favorite memories (but not in the obvious way). Read it all here:
To begin, can you tell us a bit about yourself and what you do?
Imagining “Siobhan” as a pie chart, I would carve out the following slices in pretty much equal proportion: YA author, mom, best friend, big sister, teacher, feminist. And then, I’d leave a nice big piece and label it miscellaneous to cover all the rest.
When did you realize you had a talent and a passion for writing? What inspired you to be a writer?
It was my junior year of high school. I had signed up for Creative Writing class as my elective because I heard it was “easy”. And it was easy! But it was also incredible.
Can you tell us a bit about your novel, Stay Sweet, and why you were inspired to write it?
If I were to describe Stay Sweet as if it were an ice cream cone, it would be one scoop of love, one scoop of friendship, and one scoop of feminism. The sprinkles are secret diary entries and the cherry is a mystery.
I became inspired to write it after visiting a small ice cream shop on my way home from a library visit in Ohio more than ten years ago.
You have other novels too! What are you other books about and what is your writing style like?
All of my books are contemporary realism with girl-forward stories. Often times, there’s romance going on, but it’s usually not the primary story. I tend to be more narratively interested in the relationships girls have with each other.
Why did you decide to write for younger audiences? Was it a conscious choice or did your writing naturally lean that way?
Up until very recently, I’ve never even thought about writing a book for adults. All the ideas and characters that pop into my brain have been teenagers.
What is your writing process like and how do you create your novels?
I tend to do a lot of rewriting as I push through a draft. I wish I didn’t. It’s definitely not a good use of time. I often have an outline in mind, but nothing too solid, and then try to feel my way through. Some books come easier than others. With Stay Sweet, I wrote about ten drafts until I was happy with it.
Which writer has inspired you the most and why?
I love Melissa Bank. She’s an adult writer, but in both of her books, Girls Guide to Hunting and Fishing and The Wonder Spot, you first meet her main characters as adolescents. I just love her prose. It’s clean and beautiful and magically specific.
What has been the biggest struggle for you as a writer?
When I began writing my first book, I was a single girl living in New York. Now I am a mother, a wife, a teacher… There’s a lot more things competing for my attention.
What advice would you give to struggling writers out there who are trying to accomplish their dreams?
Push yourself to write an entire book from start to finish. A lot of people who want to write give up somewhere in the middle of a book because it gets hard or frustrating. But to be a writer, you have to learn to push through those feelings and keep going. Also, writing a complete story will teach you loads about pacing, plot, character development… It’s like a full body workout!
Is there a fun fact about yourself that might surprise our readers if you were to share it with them?
One of my most prized possessions is a Polaroid picture of myself drinking a beer inside Big Bird’s nest on the actual set of Sesame Street.
What do you want people to gain most from your novels?
I just want my readers to be entertained and to end the story thinking, “Wow, that felt really real.”
You’re already so incredibly accomplished! Where do you see yourself going from here?
I am so, so, so excited about my next book that I am currently writing. And once I’m finished with that one, hopefully another idea will spring up! That’s how it goes, honestly. I never want my creative well to run dry.
Do you have any final words of wisdom that you would like to share with our readers?
It probably sounds corny, but if you want to be a writer, go ahead and BE A WRITER. I am nothing fancy, nothing special. I got really crappy grades in high school. So crappy, in fact, that I barely got accepted into college. But I fell in love with writing, put in the time and the work and the practice, and now here I am. If I can do it, anyone can. For real.