Hi Esther, welcome to the Eight Questions With… interview for Teen Librarian:
The first question I generally ask is for authors to introduce themselves to the audience- who they are, where they come from and so on, if you wouldn’t mind?
My pleasure! So, right now I’m sitting at my desk, looking into the branches of the oak trees right outside my window in Wildcat Canyon in the San Francisco Bay Area, where I live with my family. I like it here, but I miss the east coast, which is where I was born and raised. NEST takes place on Cape Cod, and I really enjoyed hanging out there in my imagination—dunes and swimming ponds and salt marsh—while I was writing the book.
Nest is your debut novel and a thoroughly enjoyable read! Can you let me know what inspired you to write it?
Hmmm…There are so many answers to that question! In a way, I feel like everything I’ve ever experienced in my life filters through me and shapes my writing. What’s true is NEST began with an image that came to me and captured my attention—two sisters dancing together in the road in a summer rainstorm while their mother, a dancer who wasn’t feeling well, watched them from the porch. I wrote that scene and the rest of the story unfolded from there.
Did you set out to write specifically for younger readers or do you write for yourself and hope that your work finds an audience?
Honestly, I wrote the book that I wanted to write, not even thinking about an audience. It was other professionals in the book world who decided what niche NEST fit into. I’m glad that younger readers and adults seem to be really enjoying the book.
What is the most rewarding part of the writing experience for you?
I love discovering who my characters are. There’s a kind of careful listening that I have to do: What hints are my characters throwing in my direction? If I pay careful attention, I find out what matters to them. Over time, I get to know them really well, and that’s so gratifying.
I also just love words—the sounds and rhythms, and, of course, meanings. I like stringing them together and creating something new. It’s deeply satisfying.
Do you read the works of other writers for children and young people? If yes, can you give some recommendations?
Let’s see. I love The Pictures of Hollis Woods. Counting by Sevens. The One and Only Ivan. Okay, for Now. As a child, The Secret Garden was one of my favorite books. Charlotte’s Web. Stuart Little. The Trumpet of the Swan. I’d strongly recommend all of these to everyone. I recently read All the Bright Places and thought it was wonderful. Without Tess is another beauty. These last two, I’d recommend for teenagers and adults.
Which books would you recommend for readers who enjoyed Nest?
All of the above!
Are you currently working on anything new, or do you have any new books planned?
You are based in USA so visiting schools and reading groups in the UK may be a bit difficult but do you ever do Skype visits to international groups that are interested in meeting you?
I haven’t done Skype visits yet, but I’d like to give it a whirl! Also, I’d be thrilled to visit the UK. I’ve never been “across the pond!”
Thank you so much for giving up your time to answer these questions!
Thanks for your interest in me and NEST!
NEST publishes in the UK on 2nd July (Rock The Boat, £7.99).