Gayle Forman is the author of 4 YA novels: You Can't Get There From Here, Sisters in Sanity, If I Stay, and Where She Went (sequel to If I Stay).
1. For me, perhaps most prominent aspect of Where She Went was Adam's voice-- it was so distinctive and authentic. Was writing in Adam's voice a breeze or a chore? Did it instantly come to you and just 'felt right', or did you have to spend a lot of time working on it?
The voice did come instantly because it was already there. I already knew Adam from If I Stay, so it was interesting to sit down and write a book from a perspective you knew and understood so well but had never written from before. And in some ways, I think I personally have more in common with Adam than Mia. Mia is so calm, so preternaturally wise. Adam is more emotional and intense. Like me. But writing Mia was a *million times* easier than writing Adam, even though, boy did I put that girl through the wringer. There was something pure about Mia's experience. Whereas Adam, he was so angry and tormented for a chunk of Where She Went. And he was mad at Mia, and writing from his POV, I was mad Mia, which was very confusing because I love Mia. So writing Adam wasn't a chore—nothing about these books has ever felt like a chore—but Where She Went was a much harder book for me to write.
2. I'm always interested in the process from when a book comes from some broad ideas until it materializes into a published novel, but don't worry, this isn't a 'publication process' question. I'm sure I'm not the only one wondering... were there were any scenes, characters, etc. that were near and dear to your heart, but just didn't make it into the final version of the book? If so, could you share one?
I wrote about 25 drafts of this book so there were tons of things that I wrote that didn't make it in, and things that got added, too. I will say that initially, Brooke Vega was much more prominent in this book but I changed that. Aside from that, there are dozens of discarded scenes and alternate endings. There was one scene of Adam almost doing a very bad thing to himself involving drugs and then thinking of Mia and stopping, which I cut for a number of reasons: rock stars and heroin=cliché. I decided I didn't want Adam to have heard Mia's voice through the years. I wanted a happier flashback in there (I replaced it with the camping flashback, which is now one of my favorites). So there are two examples for you.
3. Wow, 25 drafts?! Oh, and I adored that camping scene ;) I read in an interview that there were many tears involved with the writing of If I Stay. Were there many tissues needed for the writing of Where She Went (I know I needed some when reading it)?
I think I teared up a few times but it wasn't the sobfest that If I Stay was. If I Stay was an intensely emotional and very cathartic book for me. Where She Went was a much harder and darker book for me to write and I didn't have the same catharsis, nor was I dealing with the same intensely personal subject matter here. I probably cried different tears, tears of frustration as I tried to figure out who Adam and Mia had become.
4. Mia takes Adam on a New York Easter egg hunt, so to speak. Did you know, before you even started writing, where she would take him? Were the locations based on real places?
I never really know where a book is going to go before I start. So I didn't know. And all of the locations are based on real places, every last one. On my website (www.gayleforman.com) and the Where She Went web site (www.whereshewent.com) you can watch a video tour of Where She Went, in which I take you to some of the locations in the book, including the garden, the ferry, the Promenade. It's a tiny bit spoilerish, but it's pretty cool.
~Here's the awesome video:
5. I loved your article in NPR of the 5 Best YA books of 2010. What are some 2011 YA novels you can't wait to read? And are there any 2011 releases you would whole-heartedly recommend?
I seemed to have missed all the fall trade shows so I didn't really get many ARCs this year. So the only thing I know that I can recommend is I'LL BE THERE by Holly Sloan Goldberg. I've heard amazing things about IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, which is next on my TBR pile and I'm going to be using any connection possible to get a hold of Laini Taylor's DAUGHTER OF SMOKE AND BONE. And I just read an early version of Stephanie Perkins's LOLA AND THE BOY NEXT DOOR, the companion book to ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS, which is due out this fall, and can I just say, SWOON!
~OMG LOLA! I am so jealous!
6. Lastly, with my shameless adoration for Adam, I have to ask: who are your favourite fictional YA boys?
This is a serious question. One requiring thought. *closes computer for a while. browses bookshelves. strokes chin. smiles. returns.*
Todd Sparrow in Blake Nelson's GIRL, the original rock star, even if he's kind of a jerk.
Owen in Sarah Dessen's JUST LISTEN, the angry boy who really cares.
Tiny Cooper in John Green and David Levithan's WILL GRAYSON WILL GRAYSON. He's my fictional gay husband
Joe in Jandy Nelson's THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE. Those eyelashes. Bat. Bat. I'd want to do everything with him, too.
Blake in L.K. Madigan's FLASH/BURNOUT. Not the boy I'd want to date, but one of the truest, realest fictional boys, and one of my favorites.
Cameron in Libba Bray's GOING BOVINE: Oh, my brain-addled slacker, what a transcendent journey you take!
Levi in Dana Reinhardt's THE THINGS A BROTHER KNOWS: Oh, my underachieving little brother slacker, what a transcendent journey you take!
And....Edward Cullen. I am only human!
~I'm a huge Tiny Cooper fan myself, I LOVE the list!! Thank you so much for the interview!
Well, there you have it! I can't thank Gayle enough for taking time out of her hectic life to answer these questions, I really hope you enjoyed the interview. If you haven't read her novels, I highly suggest you do, they are definitely a few of my all-time favourites! But keep some tissues handy ;-)
Gayle's website / Twitter / blog / Where She Went website
Buy* Where She Went:
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