Hello, Readers! I hope you enjoy this month's interview with the fabulous author of Alive and Well in Prague, New York: Daphne Grab!
Bookworm: What/who inspired you to write Alive and Well in Prague, New York?
Daphne: When the story idea first came to me, I was at New School getting my MFA in writing for children. I'd just finished a mediocre manuscript and was trying to come up with some new ideas. One of my teachers was talking about writing from a life experience and I suddenly thought I'd like to write about the experience of having a parent with a degenerative illness that is ultimately fatal. Fun idea, right? But really, I wanted to have a character who deals with that, which is such a huge and life changing thing, but to be coping with it along with the rest of her life: friends, guys, evil cheerleaders, etc.
Bookworm: How long have you been writing?
Daphne: It's strange but although I always knew in the back of my mind that I wanted to be a writer, I didn't really write until I started the program at the New School back in 2004.
Bookworm: What are you going to write next?
Daphne: I have an MG novel called Halftime coming out in spring 2010. It's about a boy who is a huge football fan and one of the kids who gets teased at school. The book starts with him learning that the baby his mother gave up for adoption 21 years ago is the best college football player in the country and the story is the ups and downs that follow that discovery. I'm a huge football fan so this was a fun one to write.
Bookworm: What are your favorite things to read?
Daphne: My main love is contemporary realistic fiction and within that I will read about almost anything. Dairy Queen (by Catherine Gilbert Murdock) is one of my favorite books, even though dairy farms were never a big interest of mine. But I can get into any book that tells a story well. And there are some books I love that fall outside that category, like right now I am in agony waiting for Breaking Dawn to come out on Saturday!
Bookworm: Do you feel like you can relate to Matisse, the protagonist of your novel?
Daphne: I relate to the feelings she has, especially her sadness and fears around her dad's illness. But she is much more confident than I ever was in high school. She says what she thinks and could care less how people might judge her for it. I was a bit of a wimp, always worried about what people thought of me and concerned about being seen as cool. It was pretty fun to write about someone so different!
Bookworm: What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Daphne: I have two kids who keep me pretty busy, and we do lots of fun stuff, especially now that it's summer. Yesterday we went to Coney Island, which is such a neat place. I also read a lot, do yoga and I love to travel, though that's a little harder these days with two kids!
Bookworm: What is your advice for kids and teens who want to be writers?
Daphne: The most important thing is to keep at it! Tell the story that is in your heart, work on it until it is as good as you can possibly make it, see if you can find a critique group to help make it even better and then send it out in the world. Don't let rejection take the wind out of your sails-just use it to make your work even better.
Well, many thanks to Daphne for the awesome interview. If you haven't already, check out her debut YA novel, Alive and Well in Prague, New York-I adored it! And watch out for her next novel, Halftime, premiering in spring of 2010!