OAAA Interview: Edith Pattou on Ghosting

April 26, 2015     erinbook     Uncategorized

Today’s OAAA author is the very cool Edith Pattou.
She is the author of several books including Ghosting
and East. Ghosting is a very different style of writing,
similar to that of author Ellen Hopkins.

Please welcome Edith Pattou!

What was the inspiration for your most recent novel Ghosting?

Ghosting was inspired by several things. First, it came out of memories from my childhood, the times my best friend and I would scare ourselves by sneaking into grumpy neighbors’ yards and stealing horse chestnuts or by playing hide and seek in a nearby cemetery. But it was also inspired by actual events I have read about in newspapers. Kids daring each other to venture somewhere they perhaps shouldn’t and paying a price. There was a local story I read some years back that involved a man in a house shooting at a car full of teenage girls he said he thought were trespassing, with tragic consequences. It got me thinking about issues of guilt and bad choices and, even more important, how you heal after an experience like that.

What are you hoping readers will take away from the book?

I hope that Ghosting offers a message of hope and healing for those who have experienced trauma. I read a great quote by John Green that really resonated with me: “We never need to be hopeless because we can never be irreparably broken.” I think that is true for the kids in my story.

Your previous novels were all in the fantasy genre. What made you decide to take on a more contemporary story? And why did you choose to tell it in free verse?

I think I wanted to challenge myself, try something new. But in truth capturing a character is really the same whether the character lives in a high fantasy world, Norway in the 1500’s or in today’s society. As a writer you want the characters you create to ring true, to have feelings and thoughts that readers can empathize with and understand. And as to the free verse, it just felt like the right way to tell the story—spare and poetic. And I loved how the visual of the words on the page revealed something about each character, how you could identify who was talking just by the formatting.

Do you have a favorite character in Ghosting, or one you identify with the most?

I do feel like there are bits of me in all of them. Maxie is probably the most obvious, since she is the outsider, the observer, and the artistic one. But I have Emma’s drive, Chloe’s humor, Faith’s innocence, Felix’s good humor, Anil’s basic kindness and empathy, and Brendan and Walter… well, I do understand the effect on one’s psyche of having been bullied, which is something those two characters have in common.

Are there authors you read as a child and teenager who inspired you to be a writer?

The authors that made me love reading and in turn made me want to write my own stories were C.S. Lewis, Lloyd Alexander, E. Nesbit, J.R.R. Tolkien, Madeleine L’Engle, and Ursula LeGuin, to name just a few.

What are you working on now?

I am writing a sequel to my novel East. It is called West and it picks up Rose’s story with her white bear a few years later. And I have to say it is quite thrilling to be back in that world, like being reunited after many years with a group of well-loved friends.

Thanks to Edith for stopping by! If you’re interested in winning some books and swag check out the month long OAAA giveaway!

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