I’m excited to share with you my author interview with Karen Hattrup, debut author of Frannie & Tru!! Also, be sure to enter the giveaway at the bottom :). Also, be sure to check out the rest of the #2016DABash here!
– Finished signed book!
with Karen Hattrup!
Who is Karen Hattrup?
A person who fears questions like this! I am intensely jealous of all you people with charming bios – how do you do it? Okay, here goes. I’m a mom, a resident of Baltimore City, an INFJ. Used to be a ballerina. One-time newspaper reporter. Lover of pizza and television. Had no interest in football and then couldn’t get enough. Has seen the Princess Bride more times than you.
One Magical Summer with Frannie & Tru – the inspiration behind the story and how it came to be.
I was studying nonfiction writing, and found that my essays always came back to the same thing: coming-of-age themes. I’d been madly obsessed with YA novels growing up, and had a suspicion that I really wanted to write one. Then I was listening to a teacher lecture, and he explained the theory that there are only two kinds of stories: man goes on a journey and a stranger comes to town. When he said those words about a stranger, the characters of Frannie and Tru just came to my mind. I knew who they were right away. I knew that they were cousins and that she was quiet and isolated while he was bold and charismatic. He would come for the summer and her world would change. I wanted the book to be about those larger-than-life friends that appear when we’re young, the ones who inspire us to want to be someone different.
I sat with the idea for a while, letting it rattle around in my head. And then there came a day when I was filled with a weird panic – I knew I wanted to write a book, but felt like I never would. So I promised myself I would wake up early every morning and write before work, until it was done. About four months later I had a first draft.
The Importance of LGBT in YA lit.
Whew! That is a big and important question. Let me give it a go. I would say that we need LGBTQIA stories and voices because YA lit will be a more meaningful and beautiful space if we have them. Readers that are part of marginalized groups need and deserve to have their stories told and authors from those groups should be represented – because it’s wrong if they’re not, but also because all of us who read will benefit when they are. We’ll have better, richer, more real books, books that teach us things, but also books that make us swoon or laugh or feel swept away. Having diverse stories and voices matters, whether the books are about coming out or steampunk pirates, first love or alien space wars.
Soundtrack of My Summer – from the perspective of Frannie, Tru, or yourself!
How about an all-Baltimore playlist for their summer in Charm City? Shuffle some songs by Wye Oak, Beach House, Rye Rye, Future Islands, Dan Deacon, Matmos, J. Roddy Walston and the Business.
Top Ten Things I Learned While Writing Frannie & Tru
1. That whole “room of one’s own” thing is no joke. I’d wanted to write a book for forever, but the only way to finally do it was to carve out time and space and DO THE WORK.
2. Getting the first chapter down is exceedingly painful and exceedingly important. It sets so much in motion: tone, pacing, voice. . .
3. Always use a calendar to track the timeline of your story. Because all of a sudden, you realize there are fireworks going off in August, and you’ve got some explaining to do.
4. It’s really fun to write kissing scenes.
5. Cut the dreams! My first draft was full of Frannie remembering these very telling dreams she was having, which was kind of indulgent and silly. Only write dreams if you have a really good reason and can do it well.
6. I am overly fond of dashes. Oh, look! Here comes one right now. . .
7. Driving around and talking, sitting around and talking, walking around and talking – Frannie and Tru do a lot of that, and you know what? I think those moments are some of the best parts of being a teenager.
8. I wish there were more YA and MG books set in Baltimore.
9. When it pains you to write something, when it makes you absolutely cringe to have a character do or say a certain thing, then you’re probably doing something important and right.
10. And finally, I learned that writing a book feels a lot like having a baby – I was twenty percent excited, 80 percent terrified, and just wanted this thing to be born already!
Since I mentioned kissing, here’s a kissing scene:
I swallowed hard.
“I guess . . . were you going back?”
Those were my words, but the tone in my voice said something else. It said don’t go back, stay here, stay with me, and I knew in that moment that I had laid the truth before him.
He said nothing, just shifted his body toward me, closing the gap, three inches, two inches, one. . . The wind whipped around like it was wrapping us up, and now we were as close as two people could be without touching, so close that I went dizzy with closeness, my mouth so near to his I might have been breathing in the air he was breathing out. My mind flew back to biology class, thinking how this would make me a plant, a flower in the ground, just waiting for someone to come along and exhale. To feed my core. To give me life.
Breathe, little plant, breathe.
That was the very best moment, when his lips had not touched mine but I knew they would and all I could think was, Oh!
Karen Hattrup grew up in the suburbs of Washington, D.C. with her parents and brother, devouring books from an early age. At Loyola University Maryland, she studied journalism and spent a semester abroad in Thailand. She went on to become a newspaper reporter, first in Maryland and then in Indiana, writing features and serving as an award-winning arts critic. Karen later studied nonfiction writing at the Johns Hopkins University. She lives in Baltimore City with her husband, daughter, and son.
Until next time bibliophiles,