For this weeks Ask the Author I'm bringing you the amazing Nicola Yoon, the author of Everything, Everything, a very unique and brilliant read that I've loved and reviewed. She took a bit of her time and gave me a few A's to my Q's.
Here's her book and her A's:
Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
Published: September 1st 2015 by Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Number of Pages: 320 Pages (Hardcover)
My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.
But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.
Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster. (goodreads.com)
Interview with Nicola Yoon
1 – Describe Everything, Everything in form of a haiku (or twitter pitch).
Girl who is so allergic to the world that she can never leave her house falls madly in love with the new boy who moves in next door.
2 – What inspired you to write a story about a girl that is literally allergic to the outside world? It sounds like such a unique idea so I’m wondering if there is a unique story behind it.
I started writing EE when my daughter was just 4 months old. I was still a brand new mom and I worried about everything. I worried about her getting sick, accidentally eating dirt, falling down, bumping her head or getting hurt in a million different ways. The instinct to protect her and keep her safe was sometimes overwhelming. It got me thinking about a mother's need to protect her child and that led to thoughts about what if there was a child that needed constant protection not just as a baby but for her whole life. What would that situation do to the relationship between the mother and daughter? What would happen when that daughter wanted to branch out and see the world?
3 – How hard was it to write a story so unlike any other? What was the most challenging about the story and the writing process?
Imagining the world through the eyes of someone who had never seen any of it was the most challenging. I tried to imagine what my daughter was feeling & thinking when she saw things for the first time. One of the most challenging scenes to write was when Maddy sees the ocean for the first time. I grew up in Jamaica and I live in Southern California so I've seen the ocean thousands of times but now I had pretend that I never had. Before I wrote that scene I took my daughter to the beach and played with her all day and just watched how she reacted to the sand and the wind and the water. She was totally delighted and awed by it.
4 – What, besides the obvious, makes Madeline stand out in the sea of female contemporary main characters?
I like to think that Maddy is a part of a great tradition of wonderful female main characters (like Melinda from Speak, Ruby from The Boyfriend List). She has a personality and a drive. She has strong opinions and she makes mistakes. She loves, she learns, she forgives.
5 – How and why did you decide on this particular narrative style of Everything, Everything?
I write really early in the morning from 4 to 6 AM. One morning at 4 AM it occurred to me that Maddy would draw her world as a way to feel like she's a part of it. At the beginning of the book she's obsessed with the Hawaiian state fish — the Humuhumunukunukuapua'a — so a I drew a very terrible version of the fish in my notebook. My husband is a terrific illustrator so I woke him up at 4 AM and asked him a draw me a fish. He is just the sweetest because instead of telling me just to let him go back to sleep, he got out of bed, kissed me, made himself a coffee and drew the version of the fish that's now in the book. So the narrative style all started with that fish.
6 - How long did it take you from first idea until publishing deal? And how many queries did it take until you found 'the one'?
I had kind of a non-traditional publishing process. We sold the book on a partial manuscript. It took just under a year from first idea to publishing deal.
7 – How does it feel like to know that your story is soon (September 1st) going to be out there for everyone to pick it up and read it? What did you feel when the first ARC reader reviews rolled in?
It's amazing and terrifying at the same time! Amazing because publishing a book is my biggest and wildest dream and I can't believe it's actually happening but I'm so happy and grateful that it is. It's terrifying because I put my whole heart into the book and I really want people to like it but what if they don't?
8 – What do you think about the cover? Is it like anything you imagined it might look like?
I looooooooove the cover! I think it's so beautiful and I couldn't have asked for more. It was done by two women artists who own a company called Good Wives and Warriors. They're usually known for doing large scale murals and art installations. I was thrilled when they agreed to do the cover for EE.
9 – What were the last three books you’ve read?
Not including the three picture books I read to my daughter last night, I read: Another Day by David Levithan, The Boyfriend List by E. Lockhart and Illuminae by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff.
10 – Cats or dogs?
11 – If you were forced to participate in The Hunger Games, as female from District 12, what would be your strategy? Fight or flight?
Nicola Yoon grew up in Jamaica (the island) and Brooklyn (part of Long Island). She currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with her husband and daughter, both of whom she loves beyond all reason. Everything, Everything is her first novel.