Interview: Moriah McStay, author of Everything That Makes You


No, I don’t get tired to of posting interviews with the wonderful authors. Because their books really deserve your attention.

Today is the day of the book with the most amazing plot I’ve ever seen.

You’ll definitely realize that this is very interesting.

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.

And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? In this daring debut novel, Moriah McStay gives us the rare opportunity to see what might have happened if things were different. Maybe luck determines our paths. But maybe it’s who we are that determines our luck.

And you’ll definitely realize that this is very beautiful.


So now I represent Moriah, the creator of this amazing book, to you.

1) Were there any funny stories while you worked on Everything That Makes You? Or maybe, at that time, the book had a different name, which now makes you smile?

The first title of the book was Progressions of Fate, which is SOO horrible. I never loved it and willingly accepted input from my agent and editor. We tried out several titles before my editor sent me an all-caps email, late one Friday night. It just said “EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU!!!” It’s a line from a later chapter of the book, and is featured prominently in one of Fiona’s later songs.

2) What inspired you to write Everything That Makes You?

I was in an accident when I was a young child that left me blind on one eye. Growing up, I often wondered how that accident affected the person I was. I remember having conversations like this with friends in college. Which major—and insignificant—events changed the trajectory of our lives? And, if we could go back and change it, would we? I ruminated on this concept for ages. I wrote two other manuscripts (which weren’t very good, honestly) before I felt ready to tackle the project.

3) Can you share your most favorite quote from your book? (If it’s too spoilery, then your favorite quote from another book).

One line I love only makes sense in its particular scene. The line is “Not sure yet.” Since to explain the scene would be pretty spoilery, I’ll just say, it’s midway through the novel. Fiona’s at college, and she’s literally run into a boy who was outside her dorm room, listening to her play guitar. She was heading down to the cafeteria, and he tells her that’s where he was going, too. They have this awesome conversation and totally hit it off. The scene ends like this:

“So, I have a confession.”

Oh no. “What’s that?”

“I wasn’t going for coffee. I was heading for class.” He looked at his watch. “Which starts in five minutes.”

She laughed, feeling so, so fluttery. “You were being a stalker.”

The boy hung his head dramatically. “I know. Five minutes in and I’d already broken my first promise. It’s a bad start.”

“A bad start for what?”

He stood and began walking backward as Fiona stayed at the table. He backed nearly all the way to the automatic doors. They slid open, but he paused, those pretty green eyes still on Fiona. With a sly, uneven smile, he answered, “Not sure yet.”

It still makes me smile, no matter how many times I read it!

4) How long did it take you to write your novel? What was easier to write: the beginning or the ending?

Like I said, I sat on the idea for ETMY for years and years and years. When I finally started writing, it took about a year before I was ready to submit to agents. For ETMY and my other projects, I’d say the ending is always easier. You can’t write a real, edited beginning without it!

5) If right now someone told you that he can perform any of your three wishes, what would you then wish for?

Whew. That’s a tough one. As a mom, I’d probably use the first wish on my kids. I’d ask for my daughters to have long, happy, healthy lives ahead of them.

World peace would be a good one for #2, no? And then, I’d like to be able to fly.

6) If you could, would you write a letter to Fiona? If the answer is yes, what would be the main theme of the letter?

An interesting question. As her writer, my instinct would be to get all lecture-y at her, and THAT wouldn’t work out well. As the book ends, she’s on her way to figuring herself out. I don’t think she would need—or particularly want–my input. I think I’d leave her be.

From my own I can only add that I really look forward to meeting Fiona.

If you want, you can contact her via

Twitter: @moriahmcstay
Facebook: Moriah McStay

And add her debut book on Goodreads.