Blog Tour – Alice Kuipers Guest Post & Giveaway!

29 Jul

Today, we have the pleasure of being the very first stop in Alice Kuiper’s Blog Tour! She’s the author of the award-winning and bestselling novel, Life on the Refrigerator Door, and her newest book, The Worst Thing She Ever Did. The thing that was the most compelling in her newest novel was the mother-daughter relationship; it is complex, and certainly not perfect. The characters are flawed, and can be at times weak – but ultimately, they grow and find strength. So, we asked Alice if she could talk about the process of creating the complex and dysfunctional mother-daughter relationship that both her books involve.

Take it away, Alice!


Alice Kuipers


I’ve been reading Let the Words Flow and I think you’ve got a great site, full of useful information for emerging and published writers. You’ve asked me to write a blog entry about how I create the complex and dysfunctional relationship between mothers and daughters in my two books – Life on the Refrigerator Door and The Worst Thing She Ever Did.  I think the best way I can answer this is to talk about character.

A while ago, when I was writing, I realized that although my characters had to be themselves all the way through a manuscript, it didn’t mean that they couldn’t be contrary and difficult and sometimes even horrible. I know, it seems obvious, but it took me a while to really get this. I love my characters so when I gave them more flaws writing about them became a lot more challenging. And interesting. And real.  In Life on the Refrigerator Door, Claire and her mom, Elizabeth, felt very real to me as they fought, made up, loved each other and hated each other. In the opening of The Worst Thing… Sophie’s mum is suffering terribly, just as is Sophie. Both of them are barely able to hold it together – without sounding cruel, this dynamic was fantastic to write about. And emotional too. Because I haven’t been able to write about mothers and daughters without thinking about my own relationship with my mother. It was, and is, a complicated, loving, essential relationship, and so when I’m writing I use that to ground me and keep my fiction feeling true.

Practically speaking, when I write about characters, I need and want them to act and react to the events of the plot. As they do that, I feel like the story is created. Everything evolves from their interactions with each other and with plot events.  I keep this in mind when I’m writing – if I get slowed down, I make my characters do something. Fight or try to talk. Or both. (An editor told me to do this and it’s superb advice!)  When your characters (or my characters) have to do something, you get to see who they really are.

I’m gratified when readers feel that the relationships between mothers and daughters in my books feel true. They feel true for me, too.

Thanks, I hope this gives you a practical (useful?!) insight into how I write – I have lots of thoughts about writing and tips on my website:


Thanks so much Alice!

Now, since we love to share, we’re giving away a copy of The Worst Thing She Ever Did! Sound awesome? Well, click here to browse inside and read some of the chapters!

But first, here’s a description from Goodreads:

“My New Year’s resolution: I’m moving on from everything that’s happened. I’m not going to talk about it, think about it, let the memory pounce upon me like a waiting tiger, nothing.”

All Sophie wants to do is forget. But it’s not easy now that everything’s changed. The house feels too big, school drags on for too long, lights are too bright, the room spins, and her hands get sweaty for no reason. And she can’t remember why she was ever best friends with Abigail, who is obsessed with parties and boys. Only the new girl, Rosa-Leigh, with her prose poems and utter confidence, might understand. But talking to her seems impossible.

Lost in memories of the life she once had, Sophie retreats into herself. But there’s only so long she can keep everything bottled up inside before she explodes. Maybe by confronting the tragedy of her past she’ll figure out how to fix her future.


Giveaway details:

All you have to do to enter the giveaway is leave a comment and respond/offer your thoughts in regards to Alice’s post, and/or your experience with creating dysfunctional relationships.

For +1 extra entry, follow Alice Kuipers on Twitter (and let us know if you have!)

Don’t forget about adding your email so that we can contact you! This contest is open to US and Canadian residents only (sorry!).

The contest ends at noon EST on Saturday, August 28th. The winner will be picked using, and will be announced on Sunday, August 29th.


Alice Kuipers is the award-winning author of Life on the Refrigerator Door and The Worst Thing She Ever Did. She was born in London, but has since moved to Saskatoon, Canada, where she now lives. Her hobbies include belly dancing, playing Ultimate Frisbee, teaching Pilates, cooking, and – of course -reading. You can follow her on Twitter, or check out her Website, which is chock-full of writing tips!

15 Responses to “Blog Tour – Alice Kuipers Guest Post & Giveaway!”

  1. Kat Zhang July 29, 2010 at 11:20 AM #

    Thank you for dropping by, Alice! I also had the opportunity to read THE WORST THING SHE EVER DID and I love the advice you’ve given here on how to sketch a realistic character and character relationships. Character dynamics are one of my absolute favorite things to write about.

    I’ll definitely be checking out your website for more tips! 😀

  2. Mandy Hubbard July 29, 2010 at 11:28 AM #

    Ooooh! I had never even heard of this book– it looks spectacular! *adds to TBR list*

  3. samanthabina July 29, 2010 at 11:54 AM #

    Thanks for such an excellent guest post, Alice! My stories tend to involve dysfunctional relationships as well, and your advice has definitely given me something to think about!

  4. Savannah J. Foley July 29, 2010 at 12:04 PM #

    I remember seeing your first book in the bookstore a while ago… I thought the idea was so unique; it’s great to see what else you’ve come up with!

    I also think it’s really brave for you to tackle mother/daughter issues. The relationships there are so complex, I’m not sure I’d feel comfortable exploring them.

  5. jenn fitzgerald July 29, 2010 at 12:29 PM #

    Thanks for guest posting, Alice! I haven’t gotten a chance to read your book yet but I’m itching to get my hands on it! Great advice on grounding character relationships in your own relationships to keep them realistic.

  6. Sarah J. Maas July 29, 2010 at 12:45 PM #

    Thanks so much for the fantastic guest post, Alice!! This is REALLY excellent advice! THE WORST THING SHE EVER DID sounds intriguing–and the cover is awesome! I’ll add it to my TBR pile!

  7. Biljana July 29, 2010 at 2:16 PM #

    Great advice about getting your characters to do stuff to break through sludge. I do that too, and it can be a lot of fun. It’s always easy to go edit it out later if it doesn’t fit and more often than not it actually goes towards helping me understand the characters and plot more.

    Thanks for the great blog post :).

  8. Taffy July 29, 2010 at 2:50 PM #

    The book sounds interesting. Thanks for the post. My WIP in progress has a dysfunctional relationship between mother and daughter. The mother is an alien and the daughter doesn’t know…yet.

    • Vanessa July 29, 2010 at 3:13 PM #

      Oooh! That sounds so interesting! It must be so much more complex when you add such a big secret like that!

  9. Joana July 29, 2010 at 3:29 PM #

    Relationships can be one of the hardest parts in a book, especially when the characters are younger. Us teenagers take everything so seriously 😛

    Oh, and I followed Alice on Twitter 🙂 (@joanawritesYA if you need to confirm).

    • Vanessa July 29, 2010 at 7:09 PM #

      I completely agree!

  10. Jill Jones August 8, 2010 at 10:52 AM #

    Don’t you love your characters? And you want everyone else to, as well, right? I do. And it is really hard to make them do stupid things or things you (the writer) might never do. But Kuiper’s point is well made … characters have to do things that make them real. And sometimes – as crazy as it may seem – people do stupid/crazy/unlikeable things. I love this point and have taken it to heart.
    Plus, I really loved Kuiper’s first novel; and look forward to reading the second one!!

    • Vanessa August 13, 2010 at 7:01 PM #

      I definitely agree! Characters need to be flawed (and do stupid/unlikeable things sometimes).


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