When it comes to teen pregnancy and pop culture, your options are pretty limited 鈥 there鈥檚 the quippy Juno and the uber depressing Teen Mom, but not much in between. In Aftercare Instructions, debut YA author Bonnie Pipkin introduces a new narrative, one that will have you rooting for Genesis as she sorts out the friends and foes in her life and makes major decisions 鈥 including what to do about her unplanned pregnancy. It鈥檚a novel that鈥檚 thoughtful and compassionate, and reading it will make you grateful for all the people standing in your corner.

We caught up with author Bonnie Pipkin and chatted creativity advice, incredible reads, and more. Scroll on to hear more from this brilliant author!

Brit + Co: Describe your book in six words or less.

Bonnie Pipkin: Caring for yourself after the worst.

B+C: Where/when do you do your best writing?

BP: I do my best writing in the morning before my brain becomes crowded with all the noise of the world. Ideally, I鈥檇 go straight from bed to the coffee maker to my little home office and start working. Of course, there are usually detours, but that is always the goal!

B+C: What鈥檚 the strangest thing you鈥檝e ever done in the name of book research?

BP: Lived my life with periodic fits of wild abandon. Every day, I鈥檓 researching even if it isn鈥檛 directly for a book. When I鈥檓 in the thick of a project, my research doesn鈥檛 usually expand beyond reading and interviewing (or an occasional road trip), but the things I do when I鈥檓 just living my life eventually seep into the work. This has meant falling in love with the wrong people, or eating something strange and new, or singing at the top of my lungs. For me, experience is the research.

B+C: What鈥檚 your go-to cure for when you鈥檙e stuck in a creativity rut?

BP: I once had a writing mentor say to me: When you鈥檙e not downloading, you鈥檙e uploading. This was to say that experience (uploading) ultimately leads to putting good writing on paper (downloading). And not to be too hard on yourself when the words aren鈥檛 coming out because all the living is for the work eventually. Remembering this perspective has been really important to my process. I鈥檒l also turn to music if I need instant inspiration 鈥 either I sit down and play the piano for a while, or turn on a song to have a private dance party.

B+C: What two lady heroes do you turn to for inspiration, and why?

BP: I鈥檓 inspired by women who are honest and brave. Kate McKinnon鈥檚 work is making my head spin right now. She鈥檚 just so talented and badass. I also always love anything Roxane Gay has to say, in her essays or on her Twitter feed. She鈥檚 the realest. (Photo via Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty)

B+C: What鈥檚 your latest social media obsession?

BP: Can I veer a little here and say a couple of podcasts I follow obsessively? 2 Dope Queens and Nancy are in my earbuds as soon as new episodes drop.

B+C: Can you name a book that you think deserves a little more love + recognition?

BP:But Then I Came Back by Estelle Laure. Beautiful writing that will pop and bubble into your dreams. This is a companion piece to Laure鈥檚 first novel, This Raging Light, and her writing sinks into my skin when I read it. Everyone needs to read both these novels.

B+C: What鈥檚 next on your to-read pile?

BP: The to-read pile is about to topple and trap me in the rubble at any given moment, but I鈥檓 eyeballing American Street by Ibi Zoboi, and Exit West by Mohsin Hamid for my next reads. Oh, and I haven鈥檛 gotten to either of Nicola Yoon鈥檚 books and that鈥檚 killing me.

B+C: What advice do you have for aspiring creative ladies?

BP: Keep living life boldly. It鈥檚 important to go into the cave and do the work, but you also need to poke your head out and put your heart out there with it so you can feel EVERYTHING 鈥 the good, bad, and the ugly. It鈥檚 all going to manifest in your work. Dance and sing and be brave!

Got an author you鈥檇 love to see interviewed? Tweet us @BritandCo and let us know!

Brit + Co may at times use affiliate links to promote products sold by others, but always offers genuine editorial recommendations.

(Featured photo via Stephanie Levy)