The View From Here Interview:
Gayle Forman is an award-winning journalist and regularly writes for Cosmopolitan, The New York Times and leading American teen magazine, Seventeen. IF I STAY is Gayle's third novel and it has just hit The New York Times Bestseller list. She lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her husband and daughter.
Can you tell me something about yourself?
Hmm, let's see. I'm a Gemini to the core, hot or cold, love or hate. I have red hair (or ginger hair as you'd say) but I'm not a true redhead. I have both the complexion and temperament of a redhead so I have been correcting nature's mistake every six weeks since I was 13 years old. I'm married to Nick, a former punk rock boy now a librarian at ABC News. We have one daughter, Willa and are about to adopt a second child. Oh, also, I lived in
What's your ideal night?
I love to host parties at my apartment for my friends and their families. I always say it's just going to be a small little thing, but then—I blame those computer e-vites—the next thing I know, it's 30 people, adults and small kids here. It both stresses me out and makes me deliriously happy to see the members of my community in my house, eating food I've prepared, mingling, being a big family together. And of course, there must be a dance party, where we all take turns picking songs, including the kids, and we dance around like maniacs. It's very chic, as you can see.
What's it like to live in
I think the above question answers the
Can you tell us something about your career as a journalist?
I began my career working at Seventeen magazine, a publication for teens. The editor-in-chief at the time was very dedicated to doing serious journalism for and about teens so I became the magazine's senior writer and I covered the most amazing stories, much of them having to do with social justice and young people. Seventeen sent me everywhere from
How did you get your first publishing contract?
My first publishing contract was for a travel book that I wrote and the process was a bit of a rollercoaster. My husband and I had travelled around the world for a year and I'd written two chapters of the book and the proposal and my agent sent it out to about 12 editors and four days later 10 of them said they were going to bid, and I was so excited. Then, one by one, they dropped out, saying that the book didn't fit into any one niche—it wasn't a straight travelogue, it wasn't a straight reported book—so it would be hard to market. In the end, though there were two publishers left so I still wound up publishing it with a house I was happy with, but it was definitely a learning experience. Now I know to keep Zen about the whole thing. And just be glad that I get to publish a book.
In the weeks leading up to IF I STAY's US release, I had a hard time sleeping. I kept waking up at 4 in the morning and then being unable to fall back asleep. There has been quite a bit of buzz and hype around this book, and that's an incredibly privileged position to be in, and, having had two books come out with not a lot of buzz and hype, I'm beyond grateful. But it's a little crazy-making. Now that the book's out, I feel calmer. It's out in the world. I've done what I've done. It's in the readers' hands now. I like the idea of it wending its way now. I have to let go. So now I'm sleeping until at least 6.
It's a very emotional book, was it an emotional process writing it?
Incredibly. Chances are, the parts where people cry reading, I was crying while writing.
What influences and experiences did you bring into the book?
The thing about novels is that they're like a culmination of your whole life. Bits fly in from here and there. So the influences were from all over the place. The years I lived in
Do you have a set place to write and do you write in silence or with music in the background?
I write at my desk, which is in my family's living room. I listen to music sometimes, and for this book a lot more than usual. I always listened to the Once movie soundtrack before writing. The song "Falling Slowly" was like my Pavlovian writing trick. It made me cry. Got me in the mood to write, and then I was ready to go.
For Part 2 of this interview click here.
To visit Gayle's website click here.