Fourth Grade Journey

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

Monday, October 3, 2016

An Inside Look #18 (Summerlost by Ally Condie)

An Inside Look - With Ally Condie
Author of Summerlost

*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 the first SEVENTEEN interviews…

*I remember seeing this cover on the shelf of my local bookstore and I found myself intrigued.

*Some of my twitter friends started chatting about this title.  I became more intrigued.

*During a visit to Anderson's Bookstore in Naperville, a book seller talked about this title to me as one of her favorites.  Ok, now it was time to be more than intrigued and buy the book.

*The story gave me a pleasant summer afternoon of reading.  I loved the story.

*I reached out to Ally to inquire about the possibility of doing an interview with her about the book and her character.

*Here are the interview questions and answers...

Summerlost by Ally Condie (Released March 29, 2016)

How did you come to know Cedar?
I came to know Cedar the way I come to know most of my characters—through writing about her. As I saw the way she acted in different situations and came to know her heart, I knew more and more what her story needed to be.

What do you think is Cedar's most admirable quality?
I think her compassion is her most admirable quality. She’s good to her brother; she cares about other people even in the midst of her own grief. That’s not to say she’s sickly-sweet—she is strong and she’s suffered and she gets mad. She’s a real person.

Is there anything you wish Cedar would have changed or done differently in her story?
No. I think she did the best she could and acted with courage during a very hard year in her life.

What do you think Cedar can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what she went through?
I think she’s an example of the healing power of friendship. She was open to meeting new people and to trying new things—like giving the Shakespeare tour with Leo, her new friend, even though it was scary and different and something the adults wouldn’t necessarily allow them to do had they known. I hope that kids who are the siblings of those with special needs feel that her relationship with her brother Ben rings true.

How did you research Cedar and the circumstances she found herself in?
I lived some of them—losing a sibling, finding happiness in an unexpected and wonderful friendship. This happened to me when I was twelve, too. For Ben’s needs, I spent hours and hours around kids with developmental delays and their families.

 Do you and Cedar share any similarities?
We do! We both spent a summer watching a soap opera with our little brothers when we were supposed to be babysitting them, we both have a boy best friend who came along at just the right time, we both love British actors (I based the character Barnaby Chesterfield on Benedict Cumberbatch), and the town of Iron Creek is very similar to my hometown.

What was the hardest scene to write about Cedar?
The final scene in the novel was both very difficult and very therapeutic to write.

Who do you think was Cedar's biggest supporter and why?
I think she had supporters all around her. In some ways, though, it was Leo. He liked her for her at a time when that was especially powerful.

Why do you think young people, like Cedar, are so resilient to life's difficult challenges like losing a parent? 
I think young people are like any other people—smart, complicated, interesting, and able to change.

What do you think Cedar is doing as this present time?
I think she’s visiting Iron Creek for the weekend and going on a bike ride with Leo.

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