Happy release day to Ski Weeked by Rektok Ross! To celebrate its release I’m excited to bring you all a Q&A I was able to have with Rektok about the book and her writing experience/process. If you haven’t already make sure you check out my review for Ski Weekend. Also, huge thanks to Rektok for answering my questions and thank you to the publisher for reaching out to me about reviewing this title!
REKTOK ROSS is the pen name of Liani Kotcher, a trial attorney turned young adult author and book blogger. An avid reader since childhood, Liani writes exactly the kind of books she loves to escape into herself: exciting thrillers with strong female leads, swoon-worthy love interests, and life-changing moments. She graduated from the University of Florida School of Journalism and obtained her juris doctorate at the University of Miami School of Law. Originally from South Florida, she currently splits her time between San Francisco and Los Angeles with her husband, stepkids, and her dogs. You can find her online just about anywhere at @RektokRoss, as well as on her website, www.RektokRoss.com, where she blogs about books and writing.
Let’s get into the questions!
Where did you draw inspiration from for this story?
I’m a huge John Hughes’s fan and The Breakfast Club has always been one of my favorite 80’s movies because it explores stereotypes and why putting each other into boxes is harmful because we miss out on getting to know some really amazing people based on preconceived notions. In The Breakfast Club there are five characters: a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess, and a criminal. There are six characters in SKI WEEKEND (seven if you include Champion the dog). While I wanted to update my own cast to make them relevant for today and more diverse to explore the world we live in now, I still wanted to maintain the essence of these famous stereotypes so I could easily pick them apart. I basically kept a brain (Lily), an athlete/dumb jock (Hunter), a basket case (Sam), a princess (Britney), and a criminal/bad boy (Gavin). Sam’s brother, Stuart, is the sixth character and is a happy-go-lucky, geeky gamer.
How long did the writing process for this book take?
It’s been about ten years from when I first started writing, including the actual writing of the book itself and the business of writing (things like editing, workshopping, querying, and then the publication process).
What are your top five fiction books?
I have been a voracious reader since I was a young girl so I can’t really pick a top five but some favorites that quickly come to mind are: Remember Me by Christopher Pike, Watchers by Dean Koontz, The Night World series by L.J. Smith, Animal Farm by George Orwell, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis.
Do you have any upcoming books in process?
I’m currently working on a summer thriller that will take place in the same universe as Ski Weekend. I don’t want to say too much as it’s still in the really early stages, but it’s sort of my love letter to the 90’s slasher with some added in romance because I love mixing thrillers with romance.
What are your favorite types of characters to write?
Strong smart females in thrilling, life-changing situations.
What are your favorite writing tools?
My laptop, my Beats headphones, and a cup of green tea.
What do you feel are the important themes in this book?
One of the most important themes of the book is the danger of harmful stereotyping, especially in today’s diverse world. I hope reading Ski Weekend encourages people to explore new friendships and relationships with people from different backgrounds who they don’t think they have anything in common with and learn to appreciate each other’s differences—and commonalities. The book also deeply explores a common theme in “natural” horror stories, which is man versus nature. As human beings, we sometimes become so reliant on the comforts of the modern world and dependent on technology that we forget how deadly and unforgiving Mother Nature can really be.
Who would you recommend this book to?
This book is perfect for both teens and adults who like thrillers that are fast-paced and exciting but also have something to say about the world we live in and our society.
Lastly, do you have anything else you want to share with readers regarding this book?
This is a story that almost didn’t get told. There have been so many ups and downs and the book has faced so much rejection, it’s really kind of a miracle that it’s finally out in the world. I want my readers to know that you should never, ever give up on your dreams. If you believe in yourself and your purpose and just keep going, you’ll eventually wind up where you want to be.
A huge thank you to Rektok/Liani for taking the time to answer my questions so I could share her answers with all of you! Make sure to check out the book if it sounds interesting to you.