Fourth Grade Journey

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

Monday, February 11, 2019

An Inside Look #77 (Author INTERVIEW)

Inside Look with Anne Ursu
(Author of The Lost Girl)

*During the summer of 2016, I added this feature to the blog which was called "Season #ONE".  This first season ran from June of 2016 to March of 2017.  

*I started up the interviews again in June of 2017.  It was great to get back to Season #TWO.  This season ran throughout the summer.  

*Season #THREE ran during the school year of 2017/2018.  

*The next season (season #FOUR) of interviews took place during the summer and fall of 2018.  With each interview I became more and more impressed with the authors I was having interactions with.  

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

*This is the SIXTH interview of what I'm calling Season #FIVE.

*Thank you to Anne Ursu for being the Seventy-Seventh author that I've had the pleasure of interviewing.  I truly appreciate it.  

*Here are links to the first Seventy-Six interviews…



Interview #53 with Preston Norton (Author of Neanderthal Opens the Door to the Universe)

Interview #54 with Jonathan Auxier (Author of Sweep: The Story of a Girl and Her Monster)

Interview #55 with Sharon Creech (Author of Saving Winslow)

Interview #56 with Stacy McAnulty (Author of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl)

Interview #57 with Kelly Yang (Author of Front Desk)

Interview #58 with Jennifer A. Nielsen (Author of Resistance)

Interview 59 with Christina Collins (Author of After Zero)

Interview #60 with Eric Walters (Author of Elephant Secrets)

Interview #61 with Phil Bildner (Author of The Rip and Red Series)

Interview #62 with Erin Soderberg (Author of Milla in Charge)

Interview #63 with Laura Shovan (Author of Take Down)

Interview #64 with Donna Gephart (Author of In Your Shoes)

Interview #65 with Alan Gratz (Author of Grenade)

Interview #66 with Barbara O'Connor (Author of Wonderland)

Interview #67 with Lindsey Stoddard (Author of Just Like Jackie)

Interview #68 with Katherine Marsh (Author of Nowhere Boy)

Interview #69 with Dusti Bowling (Author of 24 Hours in Nowhere)

Interview #70 with Christina Uss (Author of The Adventures of a Girl Called Bicycle)

Interview #71 with Adam P. Schmitt (Author of Speechless)


Interview #72 with Dan Gemeinhart (Author of The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise)

Interview #73 with Abby Cooper (Author of Sticks and Stones)

Interview #74 with Abby Cooper (Author of Bubbles)

Interview #75 with Abby Cooper (Author of Friend or Fiction)

Interview #76 with Padma Venkatraman (Author of The Bridge Home)

*I'm so lucky to live in Minneapolis/St. Paul where we have such an array of talented authors.  I've had the pleasure of meeting Anne Ursu in person and she is a wonderful and talented writer and person.  I was so excited when I was able to bring home an ARC of the book during #NCTE18.

*After reading Anne's newest work of fiction, I knew I wanted to host her on the blog.  I was so pleased when she said yes to the interview.  

*Anne was kind, gracious, and giving with her answers to the questions.  It is an honor to post her responses here on the blog.  

*Thank you Anne Ursu for writing this book...

The Lost Girl
by Anne Ursu (February 12, 2019)

How did you come to know Iris and Lark?
I started writing their story several years ago, at a time when I was very frustrated with the way book about girls were treated, and girl protagonists were talked about. I couldn’t help but think about girls growing up in an environment where their stories are so quickly dismissed. At the same time, society gives us so many ways to look on relationships between girls as somehow suspect—“oh, you know how girls are.” When Ocean’s Eleven came out, the comedian John Mulaney joked that “Ocean’s Eleven with women wouldn’t work because two would keep breaking off to talk shit about the other nine.” Well, this is nothing like my experience of female friendship. And it felt like all of this diminishing of girls’ stories and girls’ friendship was because there’s something threatening about them. What would happen to society if we actually listened to girls and women? What would happen if we didn’t divide girls up?

What do you think are Iris and Lark's most admirable qualities?
I just adore how much they take care of each other, how intimately they know each other, and how easily they protect each other. That kind of love and loyalty is beautiful to me.

Is there anything you wish they would have changed or done differently in their story?
That is such a good question, and really hard to answer. Of course you start loving your protagonists and you don’t want them to suffer at all. But the whole point of a story is that they are challenged, they do make mistakes, and they do grow. So as much as I would like none of this to have happened, it had to happen this way so they could come out stronger and more whole on the other side.

What do you think they can offer to other children that are experiencing similar situations to what they went through?
I think middle grade fiction can give kids shapes and names for their feelings, and friends to feel these things alongside. I hope that the books helps with that, and I hope kids see in Iris and Lark the strength of friendship, and that when it seems like the entire world is stacked against them, they can take care of each other.  And that cats are probably magic.

How did you research the twins and the circumstances they found himself in?
I read a few memoirs about being a twin, and that was really helpful. You can try to imagine what it’s like being in those shoes, and I certainly did, but reading first person accounts is the best research.

Do you and the girls share any similarities?
I know people will ask me which girl I’m more like, and the answer is both of them. I don’t have Iris’ rational brain, and so trying to write from her POV was a challenge. But I do have an overdeveloped sense of justice like she does, and a temper. I am also supremely impractical like Lark; I’m not particularly good with the real world, immutable laws of nature, etc. This is extremely amusing for the people around me.

What was the hardest scene to write about them?
There’s a scene when they are fighting—Iris has gone overboard on trying to protect Lark and Lark says how much it hurt her, and it just killed me for both of them.

Who do you think was their biggest supporter and why?
Their parents. Their parents love them so much and are trying their best. As a parent myself, I’m interested in writing parents who are trying their best and still make mistakes, because that feels very real to me.

What do you think Lark and Iris are doing as the present time?
Probably, like me, sitting waiting for their story to come out wondering who is going to be the first one to call them unlikeable on Goodreads.

No comments:

Post a Comment