Friday, May 1, 2009

Quick Q and A's with Lori Weber

Lori Weber is the author of several books for Young Adults, including the newly realeased If You Live Like Me.

1) If You Live Like Me is your latest release. Can you tell us a little bit about it?

This is the story of a girl named Cheryl whose parents have dragged her from coast to coast while her father, who is an anthropologist, does his research on what Cheryl thinks of as “dying cultures.” She originally thought, and was told, that they’d only be gone for a year, but one year turned to two, and then two to three, and lo and behold, three is now going to be four. I guess when you are a teen you have little choice over some of the bigger pieces of your life, such as where your family lives. Cheryl is quite shy; she isn’t the type of kid to jump feet first into new situations, so all the moving has been really hard on her. She just desperately wants to be back home in Montreal with her old friends. But she has no choice: she has to follow her parents around. In this new place, Newfoundland, she has decided that she is leaving, no matter what. She is going to get back to Montreal if it kills her.

2) What inspired you to write If You Live Like Me? Did something similar happen to you or a friend?

Actually, no. This one is a mystery, even to me. The only thing that is real is how well I remember that feeling of having so little control over my life when I was younger. I mean, we don’t choose our families, do we? We have to live with them and with what they give us. That’s the great thing about growing older, we take over more and more control of our lives. The other real thing, though, is how I personally feel about Newfoundland, Canada’s newest province. It is a very special, unique and totally bewitching place. It has an effect on Cheryl, just as it did on me when I lived there almost 20 years ago.

3) I always wonder how the author come up with the title of their book, do you have any thoughts to share about how you came up with If You Live Like Me?

Actually, that was originally the title of the first chapter. The book was called The Rock, which is the nickname for Newfoundland. But the editors didn’t like it, for various (good) reasons. Then, when my editor read the title of Chapter One, where Cheryl talks about the things one has to do “if you live like me” she had a eureka moment: she knew that would be the best title for the book, and I think she was right.

4) What is your writing process like? Do you come up with the story first, a characters name, or the setting?

Each book is prompted by something different, but it is usually a kernel, a spark, an image, a recollection of a person, a place, something. I don’t know how to explain it, but opening scenes just come to me. I often have a vague idea of where to go after that, but not much of one. Each book is a journey, a road that I agree to travel on, most often a twisty-turny one with very few sign-posts. The book seems to start brewing somewhere inside me a while before it emerges. I am not the type of writer who can pull story ideas out of the air; they are inside and I have to pull them up. It sounds weird, I know, but that’s how it is.

5) What is your favorite thing about being an author? Least favorite?

My favourite thing is writing, creating, making something seemingly from nothing, because it is what I love to do. I love to play with words, to create scenarios, to bring characters to life, to dig deep. What do I hate? Trying to fit it in to everything else I have to do as a teacher and mother and daughter and …..

6) All of your novels have been Young Adult, so my question is, what made you choose to write for the teen set? Do you see yourself writing for another audience at a later date?
I have to say that the teen set chose me; that was just the voice that emerged. It wasn’t like a conscious, intellectual decision. Although I have to confess: I love young adult fiction. It can just be so good. The story-telling can be so strong and I love stories. I had published quite a few short stories and even poetry in adult journals before, that’s how I got started, but once I started writing my YA novels, I left those other genres behind. Will I ever return? Never say never! \

7) As said numerous times before, I’m always looking for new books to read. So, do you have any favorite books or authors?

I know you are American, so I would like to encourage you to give your northern neighbours up here in Canada a chance. Some greats: Martha Brooks, Kit Pearson, Sara Withrow, Tim Wynn-Jones, Brian Doyle, Susan Juby. My friend Monique Polak wrote a very good book about the Holocaust, What World is Left. For a wild read, another acquaintance, Krysten Dunnion wrote Mosh Pit.

8) Are currently working on anything? If so, can you share some information about it?

Yes, always. I am writing a verse novel about a group of high schoolers whose lives all kind of overlap. It’s a new genre for me and it is very challenging because the book doesn’t run on plot – it runs on imagery. I have also finished a manuscript about a girl who has a crush on a married man who keeps fish and I am starting a book about a girl who lives alone with a despondent father.

9) Do you have anything else to add?

I’d like to add that it’s great to see young people so interested in and passionate about books!!! Keep it up and happy reading.

5 comments:

  1. Great interview! The book sounds really interesting.

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  2. Ooh, I've never heard of this book before but it looks great! And I especially like the cover as well. Thanks for this!

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  3. I enjoyed the interview. I would add my friend, Canadian author Cheryl Kaye Tardif, as an author you should check out. Her novel, Whale Song, is in Canadian schools and libraries.

    Beth Fehlbaum, author
    Courage in Patience, a story of HOPE..
    http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com
    Ch. 1 is online!

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  4. I thought Nunavet was the newest. Oh, but that is a territory. I hate geography. :P No sense of direction here. :)

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