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Q: You started your career as a journalist and your first book is a travelogue about going around the world. Is YA literature a departure for you?
Gayle Forman: Actually, it’s more of a homecoming. My first writing job was at Seventeen, where I spent five years on staff and as a contributor reporting the magazine’s social-issues stories. I loved writing for teens then because—contrary to popular opinion—they really care about serious issues (from child soldiers in Africa to kids embroiled in the drug war here) and the engage in their reading with such passion. So, now that I’m writing young-adult literature, it feels like I’ve come full circle.
Q: This book explores some serious themes. Why is this a book for kids and not adults?
GF: It’s a book for kids precisely because it explores serious themes. Teenagers are grappling with choices about life and love as much as adults, so why shouldn’t their reading reflect that? I don’t set out to write YA. It just seems like I’m drawn to stories about young people. That said, I think If I Stay is for adults, too. I love the idea of teens reading this book and then handing it off to their parents.
Q: Many key characters are serious musicians, and songs are referenced throughout the book. Are you a musician?
GF: No. Except for piano lessons when I was a kid and a brief spate of guitar playing in my teens, I’ve never played an instrument. I am, however, a huge music fan. And my husband is a musician; he was playing in a punk band when we met, so I’ve spent a lot of my life ensconced in that scene. I seem drawn to writing about musicians, though I’ve never been all that interested in the cello until Mia popped into my head.
Q: What inspired you to write this book?
GF: Music. Oregon. People I have loved. And unfortunately, the book is inspired by a real-life tragedy that happened several years ago.
Q: This is a book about death, but it’s not depressing. Why is that?
GF: Maybe because it’s really about the power of love—of family, friends, music—and therefore it ultimately affirms life.
I'm 55 yrs old and usually read horror, post apocolypse, and history. I did like this story. Well written. Not syrupy or sappy. Interesting. Touching. And some humor. Read morePublished 2 hours ago by Mike Steigauf
A good book I NEED to read the second book oh my gosh..... Hey peoples get this book......... Please pleasePublished 6 hours ago by Serena Rice
I was a nurse in an acute hospital setting for 35 years. The passion and insight of this author overwhelmed me. She wrote like a finely tuned cello. Bravo.Published 10 hours ago by kathy smith
Overall a pretty good read. Really quick and easy. The rock music references were a bit above my head, even though I'm a fan, and disconnected me from the story. Read morePublished 11 hours ago by India DuBois
It's the best book I ever read on my kindle. As you get to the middle of the story, you'll be rting this 5 stars. You'll love Mia.Published 22 hours ago by Kevin E. Wolfman
I really expected this book to be much better. Kind of boring at times and very slow. I don't even want to see the noviePublished 22 hours ago by Diana jes
Great book! Read it after seeing the movie. Very touching, well written, all around great book. Can't wait to read the sequelPublished 1 day ago by Mr. Trek
This book had me in tears I love the tragedy that is somehow overridden by love just an awesome book 10/10Published 2 days ago by SammieSammie