July 8, 2011

Interview with Julie Halpern (author of Don't Stop Now)

I recently read and adored this perfect road trip book that instantly became one of my favorite contemporary read this year. Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern. You can read my review here! I was lucky enough that I got to meet the author at ALA (which I was more than stoked about!) and today I have a great interview to share with you guys. Enjoy!

What was the idea that sparked the novel?

Don't Stop NowI actually had a semi-friend who faked her own kidnapping. We were freshmen in college, she left a message on my answering machine that said, “I did it,” and I was the only person she told. I didn’t turn her in right away, lied to the police and the FBI, it was crazy. After I eventually did turn her in, we never talked about the why or what happened. I always thought it was a weird story, so I made up everything that happened afterward. Except for the being in love with my boy best friend and all of the great road trip stops.

Have you had a relationship like Lil & Josh's?

Sort of. I had a best friend in high school, a Josh, and I wanted him to take me to prom. We were pretty tight, and then all that changed when I went away to college. Maybe even before that. It was a strange time in my life and I remember it in vague, abstract ways. We’re facebook friends now, of course.

Did you take that same road trip or visit those places?

I have been to every single place in the book. I love road trips. I am the best road trip planner, which I say with complete confidence. If I were more business savvy, I could turn it into my job: planning other people’s road trips. It’s a thought.

What was the hardest part of writing it?

The time constraint of having a young daughter and trying to write the thing in a summer. I have since quit my job as a school librarian, although that has not afforded me as much extra time to write as I thought. Being a mom is crazy hard work, and anyone that thinks differently should step into a stay-at-home parent’s shoes for a day. Half a day even!

Why did you decide to give Penny a dark story?

I had to give her a reason to run away at 18. I wanted to complete the story that began so real in my life and turn it into fiction, and that’s where my mind went.

Do you have any favorite road trip books?

Nothing yet in fiction, although that doesn’t mean there aren’t tons out there. I probably just haven’t picked them up. My favorite road trip companion book is Roadside America. They have a website now, and I use it to plan all of my trips, road or otherwise.


  1. Darn it I passed this book up last time I was at the bookstore and am now regretting it. I loved your review and now this interview has me kicking myself for not picking it up. Next trip for sure. Awesome interview.

  2. Fantastic interview! It cracks me up that the kidnapping was based out of a real-life experience. Ahh I loved this book so much.


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