Terra Elan McVoy is a very busy woman.  Not only is she the Program Director for The Decatur Book Festival, she is also the author of three acclaimed Young Adult novels including her most recent, THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS  (May 2011, Simon Pulse).

Terra and I got together last week (on what felt like the hottest day of the year) to talk about the festival and the new book.  THE SUMMER OF FIRSTS AND LASTS is the story of three teenage sisters and a pivotal summer in their young lives.  It is an unflinching look at the choices and struggles faced by teenage girls in the same vein as authors like Judy Blume (back in the day) and Ann Brashares (in the here and now).

Though Terra always knew she wanted to be a writer, writing for teens just sort of happened and was actually a bit of surprise to her.  For me, it totally fits.  Terra has a young spirit and a bubbly personality and it’s easy to see how she connects with her characters and readers.

In our conversation, we delve into the characters and into general purpose teenage shenanigans and we talk about Terra’s inspiration for the story.  Of course we also talked about the upcoming Decatur Book Festival and Terra shared some of the programming she’s most excited about including the keynote address which will feature Colin Meloy (lead singer from The Decemberists) and Carson Ellis, the nationally renowned pair behind the new book WILDWOOD (due out August).

As always, I hope you enjoy the interview.  And be sure to check out the rest of the author interview series on iTunes!

– Dana Barrett, Managing Editor