Heather Duffy Stone is the author of the newly released This Is What I Want To Tell You. You can check out her blog here.
I’ve always been really interested in the way we define family—how different it is for each of us. This is something I remember being really aware of in middle and high school. About seven years ago I wrote a short story that I think came from this. It was about a young mother who was sending her children to school for the first time. Watching them climb the steps of the school bus, she started to reminisce about the love affair she’d had with their father. I wrote this story and then I put it away for a while. I just hit a wall with it, though I knew there was something about it I really liked.
About four years later I was about to move to Italy and my friends threw a going-away party for me. Through this strange turn of events, someone came to this party who I’d known when I was much younger. He was someone, maybe the first person, who I had really fallen for. And I was completely thrown. Seeing him brought back all of these feelings and memories about why we fall for the people we do and how you can know someone for a few minutes or weeks and years and they can just have such complete impact on you. Anyway, after this party I moved out of the country and I wrote an essay about that night.
And then I was teaching an absolutely amazing group of students in Italy—just really funny, challenging, creative, curious honest students and we were reading The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky—and it was pretty much the only book I could get this class to read and I thought, this is the kind of book I want to write—this truth, this reality.
So somehow, I have no idea how, all of these things came together when I was reading through old files on my computer. Those children from the schoolbus suddenly became 17 and that party I’d gone to suddenly grew a character and my students inspired me to write about the way we fall for people and the two sides of ourselves and the reality of not having it all figured out. And all of this somehow inspired This Is What I Want to Tell You. This is what I love about writing stories though, that all of these things come together in this impossible way that makes a fictional world make sense!
Thank you SO much for having me! This was really so fun to write about.
Thanks, Heather. I can't wait to start your book.
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