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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Gena/Finn by Kat Helgeson - Interview, Book Review & Giveaway

About Kat Helgeson
Kat Helgeson is a Chicago-based author of novels for young adults. She is a 1980's cake walk champion and claims a career total of 2 points scored during regulation basketball, and she's undefeated at Star Wars Trivial Pursuit. Having retired from the circus at age fourteen, she now creates content for social media channels by day and writes by night. Kat lives with her husband, her dog, and a healthy preoccupation with fictional characters.

1) Could you tell our readers a bit more about yourself?

Sure! Hi, readers! I'm Kat Helgeson, coauthor with Hannah Moskowitz of the novel GENA/FINN. I'm a Chicagoan, a fangirl, a former trapeze artist, and I love caffeine, lemons, and puppies. Dislikes include pizza (sorry!) and driving over scary bridges.

2) Gena/Finn is a novel that focuses on social media. How did you get the idea to tell your story that way?

It was clear from the moment we established what story we were going to tell that it needed to be told via online communication. Gena/Finn is about the connections that happen online and the way they can develop into deep and important relationships, and we needed to show that actually happening to Gena and Finn.

3) How is it to write a book together with another author? Could you tell a bit more about the process?

I think our process was really unique, even for a cowrite. It was more like roleplaying than traditional writing. We opened email accounts in our characters’ names and used them to send letters, gchats, and everything you see in the book. When we needed to write a scene, we would discuss the plot beats that needed to play out in the scene before we started, but then we’d just act it out together. There were many times where we ended up surprising each other and even one time where we made each other cry.

4) You write on your website that you’re a fangirl. Are there any stories in particular that inspire you?
I’ve been deeply involved in the fandom communities of Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Supernatural. I have a more casual fanship with Battlestar Galactica and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’m on-again-off-again with Game of Thrones.

5) What do you like the most about YA?

There are so many great YA books out there dealing with really complex, mature ideas. I think YA literature right now is doing a spectacular job of bridging the gap between childhood and adulthood, and I’m loving being a part of that.

6) What are Gena’s 3 best features and what are Finn’s?

Tough call, but I will say Gena is confident, clever, and funny. Finn is adaptable, caring, and easygoing. They are also pretty good at writing and drawing, respectively.

7) Did you always want to become a writer and can you tell a bit about your journey to becoming a published author?
I don’t think I became a writer, I just kind of was one. I can’t remember a time in my life when I wasn’t writing stories or blogs or fanfiction or something. I didn’t have serious ambitions of becoming published until I got to know Hannah and we decided to work on Gena/Finn together. Since she’s already an established author, submitting the book for publication was a natural move for her, and it didn’t take long to convince me to go for it.

8) Could you tell a bit more about your writing process (how, where, when, etc.)?

All of the times and places. I always keep a notebook on me so I can write ideas or scenes as they come to me. I do most of my writing in Google Docs so I’ll be able to access it from any computer. I don’t have one of those cute writing areas I’ve seen on so many people’s Instagrams. Maybe someday!

9) You have a list of favorite YA stories on your website, how did you get the idea and could you name 5 that we absolutely have to read?

I got that idea from another author I’d seen do the same thing, though I don’t recall who right now. I will absolutely give you a list of recs, but I haven’t updated that section of my page in a while, so you’re getting some all new ones: DUMPLIN’ by Julie Murphy, MORE HAPPY THAN NOT by Adam Silvera, THE TRUTH COMMISSION by Susan Juby, DEVIL AND THE BLUEBIRD by Jennifer Mason-Black, and NOT OTHERWISE SPECIFIED by my beloved cowriter Hannah Moskowitz.

What are your plans for the future?

In the near future I plan to eat some watermelon and take a nap with my terrier, Brody. In the more distant future, my first solo book, BIDDER’S CHOICE, is coming out next summer, so I’m working on getting that ready.

Book review

Amazon USA Amazon UK Goodreads
Review by Suze
Gena and Finn are both fans of the show Up Below. Gena writes fanfiction about her favorite characters in the whole world. Finn draws and also writes blog posts. That's how she and Finn get to know each other. Finn is a few years older than Gena. Gena is a high school graduate who still needs to start her college experience. Finn already has that behind her and is looking for a job. She's also in steady relationship. She's living together with her boyfriend and marriage could be in their near future, which terrifies her.
Gena and Finn have an immediate connection and they become close. When they have the chance to meet their bond becomes even stronger. Everything is going well until disaster strikes for Gena and that is when she needs her new, but really good friend more than ever. Will Finn be able to take care of her or are there too many obstacles in their way?
Gena/Finn is a beautiful story written in an unusual format. I love that this story entirely consists of blog posts, chats, journal entries, messages and emails. There are even a few great drawings. It's a fun way to read a story. The connection between Gena and Finn is deep. They love exactly the same things and they can talk about anything. Even though their are at different points in their lives they immediately understand one another and their connection grows into something special and unique.
Friendship and love can have many forms and they don't necessarily need a label. That is what I liked so much about this book, not everything can be defined. Gena and Finn are both talented girls who are living a large part of their life via social media. I think it's fantastic that Kat Helgeson and Hannah Moskowitz used this platform with limitless possibilities to their advantage. It's a novel in a modern epistolary form and I absolutely loved that. I highly recommend this impressive story, both the format and the writing itself are fabulous.

Copy of Gena/Finn signed by Kat Helgeson and coauthor Hannah Moskowitz to one winner in the US or Canada:

International: Hardcover copy of Gena/Finn


  1. Yay for fangirls! So much for G/F. I know that it's gonna be an amazing epistolary novel. Can't wait to read it!

  2. Question for the author: What are you working on now?

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. Thanks so much for joining the 2016 Debut Authors Bash!


  4. Would love to read this book. Thanks for the chance! Goodluck!

  5. It sounds really good.Thank you :)

  6. Thank you so much for the opportunity, sounds like an interesting book 😊

  7. Thanks for the awesome giveaway :]

  8. The book description sounds intriguing. Thanks for sharing. Enjoyed the interview too.

  9. Would love to win, sounds good x

  10. Sounds great ! Thank you for the chance .

  11. We can all relate to this book in a way. We meet bloggers and book readers online, we become friends, sometimes we meet each other and sometimes we don't, I think this book will be a great read.

  12. sounds like a great summer read xx

  13. I love YA romances and would really love to read your book. I love how you answered to the question What do you like the most about YA? :)

  14. The synopsis sounds really interesting so I'll put it on my TBR list + nice interview.

  15. This sounds really interesting thank you! :)

  16. It would be great to win a copy of
    Gena/Finn signed by Kat Helgeson and coauthor Hannah Moskowitz.
    I liked your interview with Kat Helgeson
    and i think this book sounds interesting.
    I love reading and discovering new authors.
    Thank you for having this giveaway.

  17. Thanks for the prize and competition!

  18. This sounds interesting. Have a few friends who write "Fan Fiction" but not read any books on the subject. I have to settle for tweeting my favourite footballers and trying to get a reply lol.

  19. I like how this book is up to date. Sounds like another book I would like.

  20. I like how this book is up to date. Sounds like another book I would like.