I'm honoured to be joined today by the fabulous and extremely talented Carol Lynch Williams, author of the heart-breaking, harrowing and absolutely captivating YA contemporary novel, Waiting.
If you missed my review of Waiting click here, or simply scroll down a bit (it's the post below this one).
1. Welcome to Bookish, Carol! Thank you! Thank you so much for being one of the guests during the Contemporary Fiction Month feature! Could you start by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Here is a short list a bout me. :)
I am the mom to 5 daughters.
We live in Utah.
I’ve lived in Utah all of my adult life but I was raised in Florida.
My first book came out about 100 years ago in 1993.
I run a giant conference for writers and illustrators. You can read more about that conference at WWW.WIFYR.COM
I am a creative writing teacher at BYU.
I love Ryan Reynolds.
I love to dance.
I love to sing.
I love to read and I love to write.
But the very very very best part of my life are all of my girls.
2. Who or what inspired you to write Waiting?
A few years back I was working in my office when I got a MSG from a friend who translates my books into Dutch. She told me her little girl had just died. I was just heart-broken. Not a month after that I found out an uncle of mine passed away from brain cancer. Then my most favorite aunty died--there didn’t seem to be a reason for it. Not long after that, one of my daughter’s first boyfriends was killed in a car accident and the day he died another friend passed away. Less than a week later one of my daughter’s friends was killed skateboarding.
It seemed like the whole world was crumbling and I was so sad. I’d wake up crying, I was so sad. I had had an idea about two years before about a boy who had died and the idea sat in my brain for a long time. When all this sad stuff started happening, it felt to me I finally had a story to tell: The story of losing someone you love and your world never being the same.
3. What was the most difficult part of the novel for you to write?
The book actually came pretty easily. I think the hardest part was that I was just so sad. Writing the story actually kind of helped me feel a little bit better
4. What would you say is the most important quality your characters possess?
Well, I hope that my characters feel real. I want people to relate to the main character--to be able to maybe see themselves, or someone they love, in what they’re reading.
5. Have you always wanted to be a writer? At what point in your life did you decide that writing is something you want to do?
I have ALWAYS wanted to be a writer. As soon as I could form words I was writing stories. I remember some of my stories from when I was 5 or 6. I wrote plays and short short stories. And after reading like crazy all my life I began writing novels. I love my job.
6. Do you ever experience writer's block? If so, how do you deal with it?
I’ve never had writer’s block--knock on wood-- where I just can’t write . . . but that doesn’t mean I haven’t struggled with my writing. Every novel has it’s own problems that I have to figure out.
7. How do you approach writing a new novel? Are you a plotter or a pantser?
I always get with a character and follow her around. I sometimes have an idea of where she is headed. Like in WAITING I knew that London’s brother was gone. But I didn’t know about the mother, the father, or that they had been a missionary family. I kind of knew there was going to be a love triangle. I wanted there to be! But mostly these were just thoughts, ideas I knew could change. Writing a novel like this is sort of like getting in the car and just driving for the pleasure of it. Not knowing exactly what’s going to happen. Being willing to take a risk of where you might end up . . .
8. What's next in line for you? Are you working on a new book now?
I just finished a dystopian novel that went to my editor and I just rewrote a middle grade novel thank goodness I have a funny ghost story in mind! And then another not-so-funny story. We’ll see which of those two comes first.
9. Which three of your favourite contemporary books would you recommend everybody to read?
The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson, Everything Is Fine by Andy Ellis and The Anatomy of Wings by Karen Foxlee--oh and I loved Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott. That is a hard, dark novel that is terrific. Oh, and I love Rita Williams-Garcia stuff. Okay, I can’t seem to stop!
10. Could you share with us your favourite quote from Waiting?
Mine is “I still believe in God. But does he believe in me?”
My daughters’ is “She has four brothers. Count them. One, two, three, four.
And my one is none”
11. If your book had a soundtrack to accompany it, what songs would be on it?
What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger, Kelly Clarkson.
Mercy’s Street, Peter Gabriel (that song I would actually put to my other novel, GLIMPSE, as well)
I Miss You by Blink 182,
Hallelujah (from Shrek) but when my girls and I sing together around the piano.
Levon by Elton John.
Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, Robert Robinson
I will Always Love You, Dolly Parton.
Apologize, One Republic
Is that good enough?
Carol, thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to join us here today! I cried while and after reading Waiting and will definitely be reading more of your wonderful books! I love all your song choices, too! Especially I Miss You by Blink 182 - I think it's a perfect song for this book!
About the author:Carol Lynch Williams is the author of more than 20 books for middle grade and young adult readers. She has written non-fiction, historical fiction and contemporary novels that have received many awards including ALA Quick Pick, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, PEN Award Nominee, Children’s Literature Choice List, “HM” for Newton Books Best Books of the Year, IRA Teacher’s Choice book, Selected Book for the Social Studies, Top Ten Romance Book for Booklist, Top Ten Barnes and Noble Book, Book for the Teen-Age List New York Public Library List, PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship, Scholastic Book Pick for Humor, and Audie Winner. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College, shares a blog with the amazing Ann Dee Ellis (www.throwingupwords.wordpress.com) and teaches creative writing. Carol is most proud of her five daughters Elise, Laura, Kyra, Caitlynne and Carolina.
Simon & Schuster Canada has generously offered to give away one hardcover copy of Waiting.OPEN TO: Canada onlyEnds: July 12thTo enter:Be a follower of this blogEnter via rafflecopter below:
This Interview + Giveaway was posted as part of the Contemporary Fiction Month feature. Click on the picture for full schedule.