Author Q&A with Limitless Roads Café Author Samantha Picaro
I’m excited to host a Q&A with contemporary YA author Samantha Picaro here today. She’s the author of one of the contemporary YA books I really wanted to read. I will be reviewing LIMITLESS ROADS CAFE later this week. For now, check out the inspiration and some behind-the-scenes thoughts from the author about writing the book.
I find that a story is often inspired by a question. Was there a question that inspired you to write this story?
The question that inspired me: “Why do most books only have one or two characters with disabilities?” Then I asked myself, “Why don’t I write a book with a cast diverse in ability?”
Which character surprised you the most as you wrote LIMITLESS ROADS CAFÉ?
I was surprised when I realized that side characters, even “minor” characters are just as important as the main characters. Just like in real life, every character has their own personalities, goals, and obstacles.
Who is your favorite character? Are there things about your favorite character that couldn’t be included in the novel?
My favorite character is Kinsey, my main character. That may be too easy of an answer but Kinsey reflects so much of my own life, though not all of it. I couldn’t include the accommodations she receives at school because the book takes place during the summer.
Is there a scene or moment in your novel that really sticks with you? Can you tell us a little bit about it?
One scene that sticks with me is when the main character Kinsey talks to the girlfriend of one of the employees of Limitless Roads Café, Lexie. Lexie is confident and glamorous but Kinsey is shocked to learn that Lexie was rejected from her dream internship/job, just like Kinsey was rejected from her dream internship, and that Lexie deals with trolls who make fatphobic remarks on her channel. This sticks out to me because Kinsey realizes every person deals with judgment and people who think that person won’t make it in the field they’re passionate about.
What is something unexpected that you learned in writing LIMITLESS ROADS CAFÉ?
I learned that finishing the manuscript is far from the end. I’ve made many changes upon finishing it, and even now I worry it’s not the best it could be. Maybe a writer will never stop having ideas for a single story even when it’s about to be published.
What do you most hope that readers take away from your novel?
I hope they take away that anyone can pursue a dream, and that one’s best advocate is oneself.
What is one question about your novel you are often asked by readers?
People usually ask me why there’s no romance between Kinsey and any other character. I wanted to focus on platonic and familial relationships as well as professional. Too often people think romance is the ultimate and only form of love but it isn’t. Plus, I wanted Kinsey to achieve the true ultimate type of love: self-love.
About Samantha Picaro
Samantha Picaro is the author of LIMITLESS ROADS CAFE. Her identity as #ActuallyAutistic informs her writing, where the heroines are determined, and comedy is balanced with drama. She has a B.A. in Psychology and a Master’s in Social Work, and she has put those degrees to use in the nonprofit sector. When not writing or at her non-writing job, you can find her trying new coffee flavors, reading (of course), and volunteering for various causes.
About Limitless Roads Café
Kinsey Fontana relies on lists to navigate the world as an autistic teen. #Goals list: win her dream event planning internship (she knows it’s an ironic dream); master the art of masking; and gain Mom’s approval. Instead, she works at a café hiring teens with disabilities. Although she loves the café and discounted macchiatos, she dreams of more than planning open mic nights.
She has an opportunity to shine by throwing a fundraiser to save the café. The catch: allow her ex-best friend Melissa Castillo to be her assistant and pretend they are friends again so Melissa’s parents respect her.
To-do list: plan the fundraiser with zero fundraising experience; work with the intimidating hotel planner who rejected her for the internship; and use every masking technique to charm rather than repel people from sponsors to a boy band. Although she needs unhealthy amounts of caffeine to handle autistic burnout, Kinsey reconsiders her #Goals list and realizes self-doubt belongs down the drain like incorrect orders.