After telling my students about Megan Bostic’s debut Never Eighteen, they were looking forward to interviewing her. Like many teens, my students are drawn to road trip books and stories dealing with cancer. I’m very happy to add Never Eighteen to my class library. Thank you for participating with us, Megan!
Summary of Never Eighteen (From Goodreads):
I had the dream again. The one where I’m running. I don’t know what from or where to, but I’m scared, terrified really.
Austin Parker is never going to see his eighteenth birthday. At the rate he’s going, he probably won’t even see the end of the year. But in the short time he has left there’s one thing he can do: He can try to help the people he loves live—even though he never will.
It’s probably hopeless.
But he has to try.
** Megan Bostic’s Website **
** Megan’s Blog: The Angsty Writer **
** Follow Megan on Twitter **
- What’s your favorite memory from when you were eighteen?
So many good memories, it’s hard to pick just one, but I think I will go with a road trip weekend. Two girlfriends and I drove from Tacoma, Washington to Portland, Oregon to visit my future college, University of Portland.
My sister attended school there, so we had a place to stay. We checked out the campus and journeyed through the dorms, meeting people and acting crazy. On Saturday night, my sister had a party to introduce us to some of our future classmates.
It was a lot of fun, and was nice to meet some people in advance, so I didn’t feel so overwhelmed starting college the following school year. And of course, there is nothing like blasting the music and laughing with friends on a three hour drive.
1987 Road Trip Playlist:
BEASTIE BOYS – (You Gotta) Fight For Your Right (To Party)
R.E.M. – The One I Love
INXS – Need You Tonight
U2 – Where the Streets Have No Name
ECHO & THE BUNNYMEN – Lips Like Sugar
SMITHS – Girlfriend In a Coma
LOVE AND ROCKETS – Ball of Confusion
THE CURE – Why Can’t I Be You
THE CULT – Love Removal Machine
COMMUNARDS – Don’t Leave Me This Way
- Was there someone in your life that had a terminal disease that inspired you to write about this topic?
Yes. Late in 2001, my mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer. By the time they found it, it had coursed throughout her body. At the time, I had a home day care. My husband and I decided to close up shop, and take her into our home to do hospice for her. I saw firsthand the effects of the disease, chemo, and radiation on her body. She’d also had a stroke a couple years earlier, and lost the ability to speak and eat.
I had to feed her through a tube in her stomach. I sat and “talked” (I talked, she wrote notes) with her. I watched movies with her and sang to her.
The doctors gave her 6 months to a year to live, but sadly, she lasted just under three weeks, dying just before her 60th birthday. Being a witness to the disease made me think about my own mortality, how I would feel, and what I would want to do if I only had a short time left to do it. So the experience I had taking care of my mother-in-law definitely inspired me to write this story.
- Did you use any symbolism in your book?
To be honest, I don’t normally set out to use symbolism when I write, but I suppose subconsciously it just happens.
At the beginning of the book, Austin can only stomach an apple for breakfast, he then tells Kaylee that’s what she should name her beloved Ford Mustang. An apple normally suggests wisdom or knowledge. Austin, though only seventeen has a wisdom beyond his years because of his disease, and he’s hoping to use that over the weekend to show the people he loves the value of life.
The story takes place in autumn. Autumn is a symbol for death as the leaves on the trees change, fall, and eventually die. The cancer has changed Austin, physically, emotionally, mentally, and soon he will be facing death.
Austin and Kaylee take a hike up Mount Rainier to see Comet Falls. Mountains are the place where heaven meets earth, the closet we can get to God, so it’s only appropriate that Austin would make a pilgrimage up the mountain. Water (Comet Falls) many times symbolizes rebirth, or purification. Austin’s weekend journey is in a sense a cleansing of his soul. He’s doing everything he can to help his loved ones see the value of life before his own life ends.
- What’s your favorite quote?
So many, I’ll share a couple.
- “Do or do not. There is no try.” ~Yoda
- “My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things–trout as well as eternal salvation–come by grace and grace comes by art and art does not come easy. ” ~ Norman Maclean, A River Runs Through It
- “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”~ Mahatma Gandhi
- My friend is an amazing writer, but doesn’t know what to do with her books. Do you have any advice?
My first piece of advice would to get some constructive criticism. She could join a critique group of like-minded writers and share her work. Sometimes others are more capable of seeing the problems with our work. She should also revise and edit make sure it’s to a point where it’s publishable. Perhaps hire an editor. At that point she can decide whether to self-publish, which many are doing these days, or seek out an agent to help her get published traditionally. A great resource for finding agents is agentquery.com