“Middleview” Interview with Debut Author Laura Golden
Posted by Tamera Wissinger
Today, Laura Golden is joining Smack Dab In The Middle Blog for a guest “middleview” interview. Laura’s debut middle grade novel EVERY DAY AFTER, Delacorte Press/RHCB, releases next week, on 6/11/2013! Congratulations, Laura!
Here is Laura’s short biography and online information:
Laura Golden is the author of EVERY DAY AFTER, a middle grade novel about a young girl learning to let go and find her own way amidst the trials of the Great Depression. It is set to release from Delacorte Press/RHCB on June 11. You can find out more about Laura and EVERY DAY AFTER by visiting her website or following her on Twitter and Facebook. You can order EVERY DAY AFTER from your local independent bookseller, through Indiebound or wherever books are sold.
Here’s a description of EVERY DAY AFTER:
Jennifer Holm's fans will root for Lizzie Hawkins.
Trouble has rained down on Lizzie Hawkins. Her daddy has deserted the family, her mama is silent with sadness, and the bank is after their house.
Daddy always said Lizzie was born to succeed, but right now she can't even hold on to her top grades or her best friend, Ben. Bratty newcomer Erin Sawyer has weaseled both away from Lizzie, but Erin won’t be satisfied until Lizzie is out of her hair for good, packed off straight to the nearest orphanage.
Still, Lizzie refuses to lose what's left of her family. With the bank deadline fast approaching, Erin causing strife at every turn, and Mama and Ben slipping away from her, Lizzie finds comfort writing in her journal and looking at Daddy's face in the heirloom locket he left her. She's keeping her head high and holding onto hope that Daddy returns on her twelfth birthday. Still, she can’t help wondering: Why did Daddy have to leave? And can I save us if he doesn't come home?
Now it’s time to hear from our guest.
Smack Dab Middleview with EVERY DAY AFTER author Laura Golden
1. What does your main character, Lizzie, want?
Lizzie desperately wants her daddy to come home. He has deserted the family, the Great Depression is raging on, and her mama has gone into a deep depression of her own. Lizzie is convinced that her father has left to find work, and it is up to her to take care of her mother and their home until her father (hopefully) returns. She wants to make him proud in doing just that.
2. What is in Lizzie’s way?
Frankly, Lizzie is in Lizzie’s way. She is an over-achiever and this causes her to be quite self-absorbed. She is blind to her own faults (as often we all are), and her actions cause a rift in her relationship with her best friend, Ben, and inflame her worst enemy, Erin. She has to learn to see things from others’ perspectives, to have empathy, to realize that no one is perfect.
3. Did you know right away that this was your story, or did you discover it as you wrote? How did the story evolve? INSERT BOOK COVER
I knew from the beginning that this was my story. Some small details have changed, new characters have come to life and others have disappeared, but the heart of the story has been a constant.
The story itself was inspired by stories told to me by my grandparents about their lives as children struggling through the Great Depression. Those stories ignited in me a passion for that decade. It was such a devastating time—a time of few jobs, little money, staple foods, hobos, Hoovervilles, the Dust Bowl, etc. But that starkness contains beauty. People came together to help one another survive. I hope Lizzie’s story conveys a bit of that starkness and beauty.
4. Was EVERY DAY AFTER always for middle grade readers or not? If so, why did you choose middle grade? If not, what had to change for it to be considered a middle grade novel?
EVERY DAY AFTER was for middle graders from its very inception. My grandparents were middle graders during the early and mid-30s and so I have always associated that voice and age with this story.
5. What is the best part of writing for middle grade readers?
Having the chance to inspire a kid at such a pivotal age. Middle grade can be a super-tough time for kids. Do you dare to stand out or try to fit in? What are the consequences of either of those choices? I see my own middle grade son ponder these questions almost daily, though certainly not in those exact words. A major theme in most middle grade novels is staying true to oneself. It is a worthy theme, and I would love nothing more than for my own children to live their lives doing just that.
6. Is there any downside?
For me the only downside is the general view that your writing or your books are sub-par or not real literature because they are written for kids. The realm of children’s literature—from picture books through YA—contains some of the most beautiful and important books in all of literature. When someone snubs kidlit, I seriously wonder if they’ve ever taken the time to actually read a children’s book. How can someone read a book by Kate DiCamillo or Katherine Paterson or Sharon Creech and not be appreciative of the art of writing for kids? Children’s books are not shallow. They are deep and meaningful and hold immeasurable value. A friend recently remarked that in her opinion there were no good books for children these days. I think that statement shows her ignorance. Nothing could be further from the truth. It was obvious to me that she hadn’t read a children’s book in quite some time, and yet she stood firmly by her assumption. Such a shame.
7. Is there one MG-rated question you wish you could answer about writing, your book, or the author's life, but have never been asked? Here's your chance to Q &A yourself.
Do you believe in writer’s block?
Some do and some don’t. I am a believer. But I have discovered a cure, at least for my own blocks: ridding my life of distractions as much as possible (especially the internet and social media), stepping away from Word or Scrivener, and relaxing. For me, pressure and distractions are the two biggest causes of writer’s block. They crowd my mind, leaving no room for ideas and characters to form and grow. Once I’m free of self-imposed pressure and outside distractions, writer’s block becomes a thing of the past and I become productive once again. A blessed feeling indeed!
Thank you for joining us for a Middleview at Smack Dab Blog, Laura. Again, congratulations on the release of EVERY DAY AFTER! We’ll look for it on bookshelves soon!