Here is a Q&A with Gayle Forman, author of (just to note a few) "If I stay" and follow on/up-coming novel "Where she Went."
This is your local does of Q&A for the week, enjoy!
So, here is the Q&A! Enjoy!
*Why did you become a writer?Because I had stories to tell. I've been telling them since before I could write, writing them down long before I ever thought I'd become a writer. I became a journalist in my twenties, which is a different kind of writer. And then, after I had my first child, I wound up writing a novel, sort of out of the blue.
*Did you always want to write as your profession?No. I started college when I was 21. Initially, I was pre-med, but that didn't pan out and I started taking random classes, a few of which were journalism classes, which I loved. It was then that I realized I could travel and talk to people and write for a living. Wow! I'd always written but never really thought of doing it for a job! And as I mentioned before, I never considered writing a novel until I wrote one.
*What inspires you?Everything. Love. Loss. Music. People I've known. Things I'm curious about. Teenagers. Life. Stuff in the news. Sounds. Smells. Feelings. Feeling. It all goes into a big stew and comes out a book, don't ask me how.
*How long did it take for your first book to be accepted and selling in bookshops?My first book was actually a travel book called YOU CAN'T GET THERE FROM HERE. But the process was about the same for that and my first YA novel SISTERS IN SANITY, about two years from writing to accepting to publication.
*Did you use an agent?Yes.
*What tips can you give to aspiring authors?This might sound hooky but if you tell the story you believe in, the one that is coming from that deep, true place in you, I believe you stand a better shot at success than if you write for the market. A story that is just bursting out of you, impatiently jumping onto the page—which isn't to say you should rush your way through a manuscript—will more often than not, read the same way, which is to say, compulsively. Compulsively readable=good. Emotionally authentic=good. Worry about that first. The work first, the selling, marketing, platform, etc. after. Cart before horse.
*What are your favourite books?I can't answer that—it's too hard and then I always forget other favorite books. I can only say which books I've read recently that I'm gaga over. So I'll say that after being sick of paranormals, I've recently read a bunch of fantasy YA that I've loved, including Holly Black's WHITE CAT and Frannie Billingsley's CHIME. Nova Ren Suma's upcoming book IMAGINARY GIRLS blew me away, too. On the adult side, I finally read Patti Smith's memoir JUST KIDS and wanted to live in that book. But those are favorites from the last three months.
*In a film version of If I stay, who would you ideally choose to play the main characters?That would suppose I have a clue of young actors today, which I don't beyond the obvious ones. What I'd love would be for unknowns to play Adam and Mia (and to have them become huge as a result of the movie, natch) and to see cool actors in the parent roles/grandparent roles. Ryan Gosling as dad. Robert Redford as grandpa. Marisa Tomei as mom. A girl can dream, right?
*What was one of your first jobs?I was a cashier at a healthfood store in high school. Then I was a maid in a backpacker hotel in Amsterdam. Then I waited tables, with a brief turn as a shop clerk in a vintage clothing store, right up until my first journalism job.
*What does writing mean to you? What does it do to you?It opens up whole worlds to me. It creates characters who, though fictional, become real to me, so real I feel a responsibility toward them, so real that they keep me up at night. In the rest of my life, I'm a mom to two young kids, so the writing is also an escape from the, well, tedium of the soccer mom, cook-driver-butt-wiper part of my life.
*Has becoming a well known author opened up a new world to you?Mostly it's allowed me to devote most of my non-parenting hours to writing novels, which is a huge privilege, and it's allowed me to work only the hours that my kids are in school. And of course, I've met lots of great YA authors and librarians and readers!
Thank you so dreadfully much Gayle! I had a great time!
Keep reading, just like me!
And don't stop writing either! I'll be posting more soon!