A new school year has started, so it’s time to bring back my Students Want to Know feature. I’m very excited to start the fall interviews with Michelle Hodkin, the debut author of The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer.
Summary (From the publisher):
Mara Dyer doesn’t think life can get any stranger than waking up in a hospital with no memory of how she got there.
She believes there must be more to the accident she can’t remember that killed her friends and left her mysteriously unharmed.
She doesn’t believe that after everything she’s been through, she can fall in love.
- What does it feel like to have people raving about your book?
Every time I hear that someone, anyone, has even read my book, I feel pretty stunned. This whole roller coaster ride was completely unexpected; I never really planned on writing a book, let alone having that book published. And once I was published, I didn’t expect the book to have the kind of support that it has had, from the amazing team at Simon & Schuster to the awesome teenagers who have managed to snag Advance Readers Copies to book bloggers to New York Times bestselling authors who have read it and shared their thoughts with their readers. I am deeply humbled and extremely grateful.
- How do you think it will feel to see it in book stores?
It’s still a few days before I’ll be able to find the book on shelves, but I know it’s going to be surreal. I can’t even get used to the sight of the finished copies on my own shelf!
- Do any of the characters’ emotions reflect your own? At certain times while you were writing the book?
I tried really hard to honestly portray the characters’ emotions no matter what they were going through at any point in the book, even though I’ve never been through a lot of their experiences myself. So I started by trying to put myself in a similar mood; If I needed to write an angry scene, I’d listen to angry music. If I had to write something scary, I’d set aside time when I’d be home alone in the middle of the night to write it.
- At book events, do you find it nerve-wracking to have people lining up to meet you? Or do you feel like a star in those moments?
Since the book isn’t out yet, I’ve only done a handful of signings for pre-publication events, but I can say that it wasn’t nerve-wracking—it was AWESOME. The hardest part was not spending hours talking to each person who came to get the book! I was a reader long before I was a writer, so getting the chance to meet people who love books enough to take the time out to go to signings and events is the ultimate for me. Can’t think of anything I love more.
- Have you ever had really bad writer’s block?
There have definitely been times where I wasn’t sure what would happen next in the story, but as the infinitely wise Cassie Clare says, writer’s block is a symptom that there’s something wrong with the manuscript. So whenever I get stuck, I try to think about why I’m stuck and in the meantime, work on something else.
- When did you come up with the idea for your book?
Funny thing? I know the exact day: May 15, 2009. The full story of how that idea came about (and why it specifically happened on that day) will be posted on www.maradyer.com. And the very first emails I sent to friends telling them I had an idea for a novel are posted on my blog: michellehodkin.blogspot.com.