THE SC’s October pick:
I was lucky enough to host the Q & A + GIVEAWAY portion for our October pick. Thanks to Julie for taking the time to chat with us this month and to Sandie for the extra help with the Q & A. 🙂
1. The F-It List takes a different approach to cancer by telling it not from the patient’s POV but from her best friend. What gave you the idea to make the protagonist the best friend?
The story originated from a personal situation, where a friend of mine and I had a falling out. After a few years, I googled her, and the search found her on websites about having cancer. We found each other again because of it. I didn’t feel like the “having cancer” story was mine to tell, but the friend with cancer, feeling helpless when someone else is hurting,was something I could relate to. It brought with it a lot of confusion: what do I do with myself that’s not selfish? And so much guilt! It had a lot of potential for interesting inner-dialogue for the best friend.
2. The riff between Alex and Becca starts when Becca sleeps with Alex’s boyfriend at the time. In girl world this is a huge betrayal and in most circles would be unforgivable but Alex forgives Becca even before she knows about her diagnosis. What made you write it from such a logical POV?
Again, sort of through personal experience (nothing this extreme) a good friend (the same friend, actually!) and I discovered that back in junior high we had a misunderstanding over a boy. We both thought the other felt a certain way, when, in fact, we were completely wrong. I learned a few things from that, including the fact that friends are worth way more than boys ever are. Maybe it’s only something you can learn when you’re older looking back, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing to include in a book directed at teenaged girls.
3. A lot of people like having “life lists” or “bucket lists” as a way of helping them visualize what they hope to accomplish. Do you have one? If so, what kinds of things are *or would be* on your own F-It List?
I don’t have one. I’m pretty much a person who does things when I want to do them, and I believe most things are possible. Which makes me sound very optimistic, although I don’t really think I am. I think I’m more realistic and have the assumption that if people want to accomplish things, they need to make it happen for themselves. But I suppose there are a few things I would still like to accomplish, such as traveling more and learning the flying trapeze.
4. One of the things we really admired about the story is how you presented so many intense issues — death, grief, sex, drugs, relationships, religion, planning for college/the future — without wrapping everything up too neatly. It felt incredibly genuine. Does that authenticity stem from your personal experience, research, or just your imagination?
Life is so messy and uncomfortable and uncooperative. I know that sometimes becomes a no-no in books, particularly in YA lit. I’m hoping that teens won’t be frustrated by the ending. I had a vaguer ending to one of my novels, Don’t Stop Now, and I’m not sure it went over well. That said, without giving the ending of The F-It List away, whether or not someone with cancer dies, the lives of those affected by that person still go on. I try to instill very realistic voices in my characters, and it would feel false for everything in this book to wrap up with a neat little bow, like, “I’m cancer-free! Let’s go to Disneyland!”
5. If we were sick, we imagine we’d read a lot of our favorite books. What are your go-to books when you’re looking for comfort or to cheer up?
I always love Louise Rennison’s “Angus, Thongs, and Full-Frontal Snogging” for a laugh. “Mouse Tales” by Arnold Lobel still makes me smile after reading it for over thirty years. I also like to read a lot of TV companion books for the shows I obsess over: Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Supernatural. It’s fun to read about episodes I loved. That seems like a lame answer for an author and librarian- books about TV! But they’re comforting, and it’s true.
Want to win your own finished copy of The F-It List? Follow the rafflecopter link below to enter! US ONLY, ends 10/31. Winner will have 48 hours to respond with their address. GOOD LUCK!!!!!
Liked our Q & A + GIVEAWAY? Check out the other SC posts!!
Freebie: – Candice @ The Grown-Up YA
Thanks to Macmillian/Feiwel & Friends for providing ARCS for review on the SC.