Fourth Grade Journey

A Fourth Grade Teacher's Journey Through the World of Books

Monday, September 5, 2016

An Inside Look #13 (The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner)

An Inside Look - With Gae Polisner
Author of The Memory of Things

*Another Monday, means another "inside look" with an author.

*It has been such an honor to connect with authors and "chat" with them about their novel, the characters, and their thoughts about the story.

*I have had such fun connecting with authors and "picking" their brains.

*Here are the links to my first TWELVE interviews…

*I first heard of Gae's novel almost a year ago.

*Many of my Twitter friends received ARC's of it and were raving about the story online.

*I put it on my TBR list and waited.

*During #NerdCampMI, I was lucky enough to meet Gae and attend her session about the novel.

*It was truly a highlight of my first time to camp.

*Before I left Michigan, I received an autographed ARC of the novel.  I couldn't wait to read the book once I got back home.

*Gae knew of my "Inside Look" feature on my blog and as soon as I asked her to be interviewed' she said yes.  

The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner (Released September 6, 2016)

How did you come to know Kyle?  
 Like all the characters in all my books, Kyle just came to me, but the girl in the book -- with her ash-covered self and costume wings -- she came to me first. She was my big enigma and mystery (to herself, to Kyle and to me!) and, once she presented as such, I knew Kyle would be the anchor, and the one to save her, and by doing so, likely save himself.  

What do you think is Kyle's most admirable quality?
Oh, hard question! He has a bunch of admirable qualities, ones that truly come out during the course of the story, doesn't he? I love how kind he is, and gentle, and that he really wants to be a good person. He's pretty raw and honest. If anything, he worries too much about what others -- his family especially -- will think of him, which makes it hard for him to just be himself. He learns to trust in his own gut a lot more by the end of the story. 

Is there anything you wish Kyle would have changed or done differently in his story? 
 Nope. I think Kyle gets where he needs to be in good course. :)

What do you think Kyle can offer to other young people that are experiencing similar situations to what he went through?   
Maybe the idea that we can really be okay with who we are while also not being afraid to do better. To be better. To want to do more, be braver, try harder. And to give ourself credit for our strengths and not quit on ourselves too soon. 

How did you research Kyle and the circumstances he found himself in? 
As a native New Yorker, I remember well what it felt like to be close to the city -- to the twin towers -- that day. As a mother of two fairly sensitive boys (now young men), I think I'm pretty insightful about that type of young male personality. So I didn't have to research Kyle so much, or how he might feel. What surprised me was the meticulousness with which I had to research the timeline of the day, and how I had forgotten many of the "smaller" things that had occurred, for example, that a third building -- 7 World Trade Center -- had gone down by the evening, or that the city's emergency command center had been located there. I also had to be careful with the technology and hadn't really grasped how technology had evolved in those short fifteen years. We were really still in the infancy of cell phones back then -- not every kid had one for sure, and there were no iPhones or very smart phones (they certainly didn't have cameras or take video!). The internet was slow... pages had to load, Google search engine was brand new and looked like this: ( screenshot attached) and Wikipedia was a brand new, highly unreliable research site. Wow, a lot has changed!!!

Do you and Kyle share any similarities?   
I'm guessing that most of my characters share some similarities with me -- sometimes their strengths and sometimes their weaknesses. More interestingly, do YOU and Kyle share any similarities? That's a great question I'm going to ask my readers from now on! :D  

What was the hardest scene to write about Kyle?
Hmmm, kissing scenes are always hard. To get them just right. To make the reader feel the longing and the thrill but not read as cheesy or gross. And, of course, given the time and setting of this story, to make sure that it was okay to find and share romance in the middle of the darkest tragedy.

The first scene that we see Kyle interacting with his dad was also a really hard scene to get right. The balance between love and toughness, between being afraid to let others see us weak. . . for both of them. 

Who do you think was Kyle's biggest supporter and why? 
Definitely Uncle Matt. They have a bond. It's been there for a long time.

How do you think the human population, especially young people, can survive such horrific events like 9/11?     
By always focusing on the human connection, and reaching outside of ourselves to help. But also, by finding the humor in life no matter what. I'm a firm believer that laughter can save us. 

What do you think Kyle is doing as this present time?   
Isn't that a great question?! I keep wanting to return to these characters, Kyle, Uncle Matt and the bird girl. Kyle would be thirty-two! I have this fantasy that, after losing touch for a long, long time, Kyle seeks the girl out, finds her, and their connection is still there, as strong and potent as it was during that brief  bubble of time. And they ride off into the sunset. But maybe that's why I don't write actual romances.  

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