Interview with Kelly Yang, author or Parachutes

I had the pleasure of asking author Kelly Yang a few questions about her new novel, Parachutes, out June 25 in the UK. Parachutes is one of my favourite novels of the year so far and I so encourage you to pick it up! You can read my review here, and I’m also hosting a giveaway for a copy of it on my Instagram, @midnightb00ks 🙂

Hi Kelly, thanks so much for answering my questions! Could you start by telling us a little about you?

I’m Kelly Yang, the New York Times bestselling author of FRONT DESK, and the winner of the 2019 Asian Pacific American Award for Literature. Parachutes is my debut young adult novel.

If you were to describe Parachutes in five words, what would they be?

Gripping, emotional, raw, modern, feminist

What was your initial inspiration for Parachutes and how did it evolve from there?

My inspiration for Parachutes was my 13 years living in Hong Kong and teaching parachute kids! I was fully immersed in their world and all the complications and drama that come with having a lot of wealth. Parachutes was also mirrored on my own experience with sexual assault as a young law student at Harvard Law School.

What was the most difficult thing about writing Parachutes, and what did you enjoy the most? 

The most difficult thing about writing Parachutes was writing in dual POV. It was like writing two novels and then combining them, so it was an incredible challenge. I often joke that the book almost killed me! The most enjoyable thing about writing Parachutes was writing authentically from two strong, dynamic girls’ experiences going through the same heart-wrenching issue. 

Can you talk a little about the topic of sexual assault dicussed in Parachutes?

Absolutely. I hope that Parachutes shines a light on rape culture and the roles played by many, even at the highest levels of institutions, that allow it to perpetuate. I hope teens understand what it is and how it can happen to any of us, so they are better equipped to deal with the world and to change it!

On a lighter note, is there anything particular you’d like to see if Parachutes was adapted to screen? 

I hope the sisterhood of Dani and Claire and the female camaraderie remain! To me, Parachutes is a celebration of what can happen when women come together!

What’s a piece of advice you’d give any aspiring authors reading this?

Keep writing! And don’t give up! It took me 17 years to find the courage to write Parachutes. Be patient with yourself and read, read, read!

What books inspire you as a writer?

Speak and Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson really inspired me when I was writing Parachutes. I also loved Allegedly by Tiffany Jackson. 

With Parachutes out now, what do you hope readers take away from your novel?

I think the biggest takeaway from my novel is how complex sex is. I really hope Parachutes can be a conversation starter about sex and consent – what it is, what’s it like when you don’t have consent, what happens when you lose control. We need to start having these conversations about our bodies and our rights with teens early, before they get violated, so they don’t get violated. If Parachutes is able to help start some of these critical conversations in families and schools, I think it can be a real gamechanger. 

Finally, are you currently working on anything you might be able to tell us a little about? 

I’m working on more middle grade and YA! I’m very excited that the highly anticipated sequel to my debut novel FRONT DESK, THREE KEYS, releases in Sept! 



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