Author Interview: Retro by Sofía Lapuente & Jarrod Shusterman
I was instantly interested in Retro based on the cover – and extra interested after finding out it’s a thriller! Also living with technology for a year? Sounds…idk. Fun and hard? We checked in with Sofia and Jarrod on writing Retro, which is out tomorrow! Check out our interview below!
TY to Simon and Schuster for sharing Retro with me!
Retroby Sofía Lapuente, Jarrod Shusterman
on January 24, 2023
What starts off as a light-hearted competition to live without modern technology for a year turns into a fight for survival in this unputdownable young adult thriller by New York Times bestselling author Jarrod Shusterman and debut author Sofía Lapuente.
To save her struggling family, Luna enters a competition offering reward money to anyone who can successfully live without modern technology for a year. But when this social experiment turns sinister and her classmates start disappearing, her family’s livelihood might not be the only thing she’s in danger of losing.
Interview with Sofia and Jarrod
1. Where did the story of Retro originate from?
Sofi: Retro all started because the world went crazy and Jarrod and I could only consume light-hearted media, like Schitt’s Creek. And we realized that there was a lack of warm-hearted, funny, addicting stories that were also thrilling, so we wanted to be the cure. And it’s so rare that we see a happy-go-lucky vibes with back-stabbings, conspiracy, and twists and turns, so we went for it : )
Jarrod: Also, we learned this statistic that modern humans have an average attention span of 8.25 seconds, which also made us think: whatever we’re writing has to be even more shiny, interesting, and fun than even our phones! Which is why in RETRO, every chapter title is a song, so the index is a playlist with a QR code that leads to Spotify, Youtube, or itunes—so you can literally listen along as you read!
2. What was your co-writing process like? What advice would you give to other writers?
Sofi: As we are a couple, we have learned that communication, communication, communication is cardinal! We talk everything through: what characters’ personality traits are, what their dreams may be, their fears. We analyze the plot long term, and even block out emotional beats in scenes. It’s completely collaborative, so that you can’t read a line and know who wrote what, because literally we’ve learned to fuse our voices together into one voice that is a mix of both of us!
Jarrod: When I first started writing as a teenager, I was intimidated by the idea that maybe I didn’t have a vocabulary big enough, or that maybe I couldn’t come up with the most beautiful sentences—and although, there are remedies for those things, I discovered that writing was about communicating. It’s telling a story. That’s more important than any bells, whistles, or even artistic expression! And because I started by writing screenplays, my thought process has always been very structured. And just so you know, a vast majority of people who start writing a story don’t finish it. So, if you have a completed story you should be very proud of yourself. It’s not easy!
3. Retro is a YA thriller. What are some of your favorite thrillers?
Jarrod: Our favorite thrillers are the ones that keep you guessing. The lies, the backstabbing and the deceit. WE WERE LIARS is good fun. And GONE GIRL is just a personal favorite. And the show WEDNESDAY combined multiple genre’s from paranormal thriller, to comedy to YA drama. They blended genre’s in such a unique way that everyone was hooked! That’s exactly how we want you to feel about RETRO!
Sofi: Thank you SO much for this interview. And muchisimas gracias to all of our readers. You are our gasoline to keep writing! If all of you out there want to hear more of us, and see some fun behind the scenes author content follow us on IG and TikTok @Sofiandjarrod <3