I recently fell in love with Something Like Normal after reading it on a whim and followed it up with Where the Stars Still Shine almost immediately. I found a new favourite author and wanted to ask her a few questions...
1. Both Callie and Alex and everyone in their lives are so rounded and realistic. Do you write detailed histories and information about them or do you just let them develop as you write?
I think about my characters for a long time before (and during) writing, but I don’t write out detailed histories for them. I get to know them as I’m writing them and kind of let them tell me about themselves. Sometimes they turn out different than I expected.
2. I found the focus of a ‘normal life’ in both your novels a really interesting topic to explore. What about that subject attracted you strongly enough to include it in two novels?
Focusing on normal was just happenstance, really. I didn’t set out to write two books where the characters are trying to learn what normal means, but in both cases I was very interested in the “after” and how Callie and Travis handle it. I’ve joked that my “thing” as a writer is trauma and recovery, but maybe it’s not so much a joke. I’m interested in seeing how characters – how people – respond to the bad things life throws at them.
3. What were your favourite scenes of both Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine to write?
My favourite scene to write in Where the Stars Still Shine was one in which Callie is paying farm animals with her little brother, Joe. It’s such a small scene, but it’s adorable and I think it’s one of those moments when you see Callie wanting to fit in, but not wanting her family to know.
And my favourite scene in Something Like Normal is the one in which Travis is remembering Charlie’s story of how he came to join the Marines. It gives us a peek at Charlie and it’s such a funny story that even now it makes me laugh.
A few quick ones!
4. Favourite story world?
5. Favourite era of history?
Civil War (although not so much the war itself as the stories)
6. Current read?
This Dark Road to Mercy by Wiley Cash.
Thanks so much Trish! You should all go and read Something Like Normal and Where the Stars Still Shine if you haven’t already while we suffer the long wait for her third novel, Arcadia Falls.