Q: What inspired you to write You Are Not Here?
A: We all struggle with loss (including losing touch with a friend, moving away, or someone dying) and I very am interested in how people cope with those feelings.
There are also a few personal experiences in my life that led me to writing this book. When I was a teenager, a friend of my best friend died suddenly. While I had only met this girl a few times, her death reminded me that scary, unexpected can and do happen. Also, there are people that I’ve dated or been friends with that are no longer part of my life. And that can sometimes be hard to wrap my brain around. And finally, on a lighter note, I’ve had a few “sort-of-boyfriends” like Brian and have plenty of experiences to draw from!
Q: How was writing You Are Not Here different from writing I Don’t Want to Be Crazy?
A: SO DIFFERENT! In I Don’t Want to Be Crazy, I knew the story, the characters, the setting, the ending. But when I started developing You Are Not Here, all I knew was that there was a teenage girl whose boyfriend died and is buried very close to her house. That was it. That was all I had. At times, it was scary to think that every moment — every word — had to come from somewhere inside my brain. I have some friends who write fiction and they think that all those possibilities are freeing (and that writing a memoir would be considerably harder), but it was the opposite for me. One nice surprise, though, was how much I found I could draw on my own experiences. A good bit of what’s in You Are Not Here is based on actual events — just twisted around and reworked. (I think this is sort of a “duh” moment, but since I had never tried fiction, it didn’t occur to me how much I could draw from real life.)