Interview with How to Breathe Under Water Author, Vicky Skinner ***Excerpt-Giveaway***

How to Breathe Underwater 
Vicky Skinner
Published by: Swoon Reads
Publication date: August 14th 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult

Kate’s father has been pressuring her to be perfect for her whole life, pushing her to be the best swimmer she can be. But when Kate finds her dad cheating on her mom, Kate’s perfect world comes crashing down, and Kate is forced to leave home and the swim team she’s been a part of her whole life.

Now in a new home, new school, and faced with the prospect of starting over, Kate isn’t so sure that swimming is what she wants anymore. But when she decides to quit, her whole world seems to fall apart. But when Kate gets to know Michael, the cute boy that lives across the hall, she starts to think that starting over might not be so bad. There’s only one problem: Michael has a girlfriend.

As the pressures of love, family, and success press down on her, can Kate keep her head above water?

An Interview with Vicky Skinner
Genre: Contemporary YA

About Vicky Skinner

Born and raised in Texas, Vicky doesn’t act like much of a Texan. She likes cold weather and hates country music. She has a wonderful husband and a Literature degree from the University of Texas at Dallas. If she’s not at home reading a book or doing laundry, she’s probably at the bookstore, nannying three rambunctious boys, or stuck on the side of the road with car trouble. She’s a reader, a writer, and a bit of a crazy person.

Welcome to Character Madness and Musings, Tell us about your writing career. How long have you been writing?I’ve been writing novels since I was fifteen, so about twelve years. I wrote novels off and on through high school and college, and back in 2016, I got the opportunity to take some time away from my full-time job in order to get my work submitted, and just a few months later, I got an offer from Swoon Reads!

How did you choose your genre?I read my first Contemporary YA novel when I was 13, and it completely changed my life. I loved that someone was writing something I could relate to so personally. I loved that it was funny and real, and all I wanted was to be able to do for someone else what that book did for me.

Tell us a little about the books you’ve published. Series, or stand-alone?
How to Breathe Underwater is my first novel, and it’s a stand-alone. It’s about Kate, who was a competitive swimmer until she caught her father (who is also her coach) cheating on her mother. When she relocates with her mom to Portland, she realizes a lot of the way she was living her life was for her father and not for herself. She decides to quit swimming, and from there, her world seems to crumble a little, one piece at a time. It’s about making your own path in life and standing up against toxic relationships.

What inspires your work?
Most of my work is inspired by the hardest parts of my life mixed with the things in the world that I find most beautiful. How to Breathe Underwater, for example, was inspired by a toxic relationship I had with an authority figure in high school mixed with one of the most beautiful sports out there, swimming.

Who are your favorite authors, and what is it that draws you to them?
My top three are always Meg Cabot, Sarah Dessen, and Maggie Stiefvater. What drew me to all of them at first was the way I connected with their stories and their writing styles, all of which are very different from each other. Their stories are all pure magic. And then I was drawn to the way they, as people, are kind and inspiring.

Are you working on a story now? Please tell us more about it.
Yes! All I can really share is that it’s about death and anger and forgiveness. And road trips! It’s going to be a lot of fun!

What do you anticipate your release date to be?
Hopefully next year!

Any stories sitting on the back-burner?
Sooo many. I just recently had to push one aside because it wasn’t working as well as I’d hoped it would, so I’m planning to come back to that one as soon as I can.

Do you have a website?
Not yet, but I’ve got one in the works.

Do you have an Amazon Author Page?
I do, though I’ll be the first to admit that it’s lacking

Where else can we find you?
Instagram vicky_skribenten

Thank you for being with us today, and good luck with How to Breathe Under Water, and those future endeavors. 

Keep scrolling for an excerpt of How to Breathe Under Water.


In Salem, every Sunday morning had been the same: a hard swim at sunup with Dad, Mooney’s Caf√© for a recovery meal of pancakes and eggs, and a walk along the river in the late-morning sun.

This was our first Sunday in a long time without Dad, and it showed in the bags under my mother’s eyes.

“I’m off to locate the trash chute,” she said, picking up a bag of garbage.

“Why don’t I take it?” I asked, leaving my breakfast behind to take the bag from her.

She gave a little sigh. “Are you sure?”

“Yeah, no problem.”

I was still in my pajamas, a T-shirt and Superman boxers, but I grabbed the bag anyway. I’d just made it to the front door when I saw the planner lying open on the entry table. I recognized it immediately. Every season, my father put my meets, practices, and workouts in a planner so I wouldn’t get behind. Pages and pages of swim-related activities. My mother must have found it in a box somewhere. I glanced over my shoulder at her. She was digging through a box in the kitchen, pulling out towels and pot holders. I reached out and snatched the planner off the table before opening the door.

I was standing hopelessly in the hallway with no clue where the trash chute was when the door directly across from me opened and someone joined me in the narrow hallway.

It took me a second to place the boy in front of me as the same boy I’d seen in the parking garage the day before, the one leaning over the woman with the bad lungs. Dark, messy hair that might have been styled to look that way or might have been subject to nervous fingers; dark eyes, the color of which I couldn’t decipher with the length of the hall between us; the sleeves of his shirt bunched up around his elbows.

I wanted to ask him if his mom was okay, or maybe ask him his name, but I saw his eyes go first to my boxers and then to my garbage bag.

“Can you tell me where the trash chute is?”

He pointed to the end of the hall. “Take a left and then a right. Last door on the left.”


I hauled the garbage bag up but paused when he said, “Nice boxers.”

Like an idiot, I said nothing. I just turned in the direction he’d indicated. At the end of the hall, before I rounded the corner, I couldn’t stop myself from glancing over my shoulder for one last glimpse. He stood by the elevator, the button illuminated, and then he glanced over his shoulder, too, his eyes meeting mine across the hallway.

I looked away quickly, turning the corner. I almost forgot I had the planner in my hand when I pulled the door open to toss the trash in. The bag fell from my hand, and I looked down at the planner. It contained my entire life. Everything I was expected to do, everywhere I was expected to be. But now it was just as much trash as the expired food I’d thrown down. A new place meant a new swim schedule.

I pulled open the chute again and tossed the planner in.

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