Day 9 of our month of contests!!!
The winner of day 8 is Megan A.!!! Congrats, you have 72 hours to respond to my email or I pick another winner.
Today up for grabs is a copy of The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner which I will buy the winner off of a site that sells books, so for the most part it's international.
Gae is a great personal friend of mine and I'm really glad to have her here on the blog today!!!
stores (even though it should be)?
GP: It is both exciting and totally stressful. As a debut, we have to worry more about sales than is good for
the artistic personality. And with a piece of realistic, contemporary, even somewhat literary, YA, it’s
even harder to watch those numbers climb so slowly. And, btw, I am with a major publisher. One of the
biggest. But the Bix Boxes (like B&N) are picking up fewer and fewer contemporary YA’s even though
they sell them online.
Bettina Restrepo, author of the beautiful debut Illegal, has (we think) coined the totally fitting
phrase “no wings, no fangs” to describe the quiet nature of our books that don’t get much up-front
attention. No big-bang marketing plans. No major buzz. BUT, I wrote The Pull of Gravity to be a
lasting novel that might transcend generations. And a few important (to me) people and reviewers
have already described it as such, one even calling it “librarian’s gold” and using the word “classic” in
conjunction with it. So, I remind myself that my book is what it is: my book. I try not to compare to
measure it in sales, but rather in heartfelt praise knowing that it isn’t a flashy “wings and fangs” book.
The Pull of Gravity brings something else to the table -- something special that may not blast it off with
fireworks onto “big box store” shelves everywhere, but will trickle it into hearts and be remembered
and talked about for generations to come. At least I hope so. I have faith that it will.
PLTF: Yoda, Steinbeck, and Troll dolls, why?
GP: I’m so tempted to answer “why not?” but I’ll try to do better than that.
Yoda is easy. Both my boys loved Star Wars as younger kids, and Star Wars just reeks of boy, doesn’t it?
And if you know anything about Yoda, you know that he spouts a lot of Buddhist-type wisdom. So, when
The Scoot, who is about to turn 16 and dying, came into my story, I knew I wanted him to be wise, but
not precocious – a difficult balance. By allowing The Scoot to rely on Yoda’s wisdom, I could have my
cake and eat it too. * points to lame metaphor*
As for Steinbeck, and Of Mice and Men, there are long and short answers. If you want the long answer,
ask in a comment or something. The short answer is, I decided to test the power of Jaycee (Nick’s
love interest) by use of a classic novel. I thought, what better way to see if she was as intriguing and
charming as I wanted her to be than by seeing if she could draw Nick into her love of Of Mice and Men.
And, as for troll dolls? Why not? I mean, who doesn’t love the butts on those things? Besides, they’re
iconic, yet out-of-date, another thing that Jaycee can pull off simply because she’s Jaycee.
PLTF: Five words to let people know why they should read/buy your book.
GP: Quirky, poignant. Funny. Real. Memorable. (or so I hope).
PLTF: I assume you’re working on a new project, can you tell us a little about it, or is it top secret?
GP: I actually have several young adult manuscripts in the works, as well as two women’s fiction
manuscripts. But I think my next YA book we’re going to go out to publishers with is a book tentatively
titled Frankie Sky, about a teen girl who falls into a summer job watching a fearless little boy she
believes may be the reincarnate of her dead little brother. It’s not paranormal though, it’s contemporary
realistic YA with a hint of magical (or spiritual?) realism.
PLTF: Describe your book in either a Yoda quote or a Steinbeck quote.
GP: That’s easy because the book opens with a quote from Of Mice and Men that perfectly encapsulates the
“Lennie broke in. ‘But not us! An’ why? Because…because I got you to look after me, and you got me
to look after you, and that’s why.’”
PLTF: What is the hardest part of being an author?
GP: The rejection. And the self-doubt. And the copy edits. ;)
PLTF: Best thing a fan has ever done for you?
GP: There are a few. One lovely fan made me a beautiful pair of earrings that I wear constantly. True story.
Another, constantly writes that she is hugging my book. Hugging it. Really. That means so much to me.
It just really feels amazing when people connect with the book, and moreso, when I make connections
with people through the book that I otherwise would never have made. That part is a very good thing.
PLTF: Who inspired you to write The Pull of Gravity?
GP: I wrote it for my sons. I was writing women’s fiction (though did always want to write a children’s or
juvenile fiction book) and, at the time, reading aloud to the boys every night. They both really loved
contemporary MG and then YA fiction (anything by Kate DiCamillo, Polly Horvath, Katherine Hannigan,
K.L.Going, Sharon Creech, etc.), but the older they got, the more they wanted the books we read to
have a male protagonist. A kid they could relate to. But that got harder and harder to find. Really good
character-driven fiction narrated by a boy. So I decided to write one for them.
PLTF: A few of your favorite books?
GP: MG: The Liberation of Gabriel King (Going); YA: Marcelo in the Real World
(Francisco Stork) and Stupid Fast (Herbach). Women’s/Contemporary: The History of Love (Krauss).
PLTF: Why YA and not adult fiction, or Sci Fi?
GP: Yep, answered this. I love writing women’s fiction. I have a ms I love to death that my agent loves too, that we’ve been unable to sell. But we will. Going to embark on some revisions this summer.
PLTF: How much research did you do for your book? How long did it take you to write it? Were there any
parts you had to rewrite because the facts weren’t right?
GP: I did bits and pieces of research for the book: The Scoot has Hutchinson-Gilford Progeria Syndrome,
so I had to do some basic research on that. Nick’s Dad walks from a fictional upstate NY town (near
Saratoga) to NYC (so I had to do a lot of mapping, and researching how far someone could walk in a day,
etc. and mileage. . . those types of things). And also some mapping of Rochester, NY, where Nick and
Jaycee go to look for Scoot’s dad. Although some of the landmarks are fictional, the streets, the hotel
and the local news affiliate are all where I say they are, so more mapping. Not too many facts wrong
although I did mess up which type of tip a rectal thermometer has (stubby of course!). My editor fixed
PLTF: How do you deal with bad reviews (if you’ve gotten any that is)?
GP: We ALL get bad reviews. Pick the best book in the world, a book considered a classic, and go look. You’ll see bad reviews. And, yes, I’ve gotten a few. Mostly, they’re “not for me” type of comments, and I try to take them at face value. The reader didn’t connect with my book, or even my type of book. I’ve gotten enough good reviews that I hold onto those, accept the praise from the people who “get” my story, and what I was trying to do. Of course, I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want everyone to like my book and me for that matter. But that aint how it goes.
PLTF: You have two sons, is that why you wrote The Pull of Gravity from a boys POV or did it just feel right?
GP: Yes, partly. But I’ve always liked boys. When I was a teenager, most my friends were boys. I related to
the boys better. They were more direct and honest in a way with their communication, even if that
communication was also greatly limited. Boys have a lovely simplicity to them that teenaged girls
don’t have. And, for the most part, they talk less. At least are less forthcoming with details. I love the
challenge of writing from a male POV and I think I do it better than from a teen girl POV. We’ll see if
Frankie Sky sells. It’s a girl’s POV.
PLTF: Last but not least, what do you have to say to all those people out there who have read/bought/rented
The Pull of Gravity?
GP: That it’s totally surreal that you may be out there reading my book. And that you might remember it,
share it, talk about it one day in the future. That you might stay awake reading even though you need to
go to sleep. That you might hurry back to its pages. That is so very cool.
I’m humbled and completely grateful.
Props to Gae for answering all of my questions and giving such GREAT answers. Now, onto the give away. :D