tI’m happy to welcome Christine Hurley Deriso to the blog, she's the author of Then I Met My Sister, and she's joining us today for a little interview!
Let’s jump right into the questions. Can you tell us what Then I Met My Sister is all about?
It's about 17-year-old Summer discovering the diary her sister kept the summer before her death. Summer has always idealized Shannon, who died before she was born, but the diary exposes the full dimensions of a girl who seemed perfect but was far from it, just as all of us are. The diary also unearths long-buried family secrets, ultimately helping Summer understand both her family and herself better.
What was the most difficult part of writing this story about sisterly -dynamics and secrets?
The protagonist in the book, Summer, is very guarded. I am, too. The challenge was to convey Summer's self-protectiveness while still letting the reader know what was going on in her head. I didn't nail it out of the gate; when my editor read my first draft, he said, "Let us into her head! We need to know what she's thinking!" I had to dig deep to open that door, both for Summer and myself, but it ended up being one of the most fulfilling and self-revealing experiences I've ever had.
Out of Shannon and Summer, who are you the most like?
I'm definitely most like Summer ... nonconforming, irreverent, unconventional. I was an underachiever in school like she was, feeling I couldn't live up to the standards of my high-achieving siblings. I rationalized that I was too deep to be concerned with mundane pursuits like grades or trophies, but deep down, I didn't really believe I was up to the challenge. I'm proud I had the courage to march to a different drummer, but I wish I'd had more faith in myself. I taught Summer the lessons I wish I'd learned at her age.
How it was different to write Then I Met My Sister to your other books – geared toward younger readers?
The characters in this book are more complicated and multidimensional than characters in my tween novels, simply because they're older and more experienced. This book deals with more mature subject matter, but never for exploitative or sensational purposes. I try to treat both my characters and my readers with a great deal of sensitivity and respect.
What’s your favorite part of the writing process?
Once I'm immersed in a novel, I no longer feel like I'm writing it. I almost feel like I'm reading it ... discovering it as I go along. It's as if the story and characters existed before they found their way into my head and I'm plucking them from the universe. It feels transcendent ... sublime ... profound ... incredible.
Are you up for some random questions? I like to tackle the timeless questions of what’s your favorite:
… TV show? What Not to Wear.
… Food? Pasta.
…. Color? Turquoise.
Thanks so much for visiting A Girl, Books & Other Things.
About the Book:
Shannon has been the backdrop of my life since the moment I was born.
Summer Stetson lives inside a shrine to her dead sister. Eclipsed by Shannon's greatness, Summer feels like she's a constant disappointment to her controlling, Type A momzilla and her all-too-quiet dad. Her best friend Gibson believes Summer's C average has more to do with rebelliousness than smarts, but she knows she can never measure up; academically or otherwise.
On her birthday, Summer receives a secret gift from her aunt; Shannon's diary. Suddenly, the one-dimensional vision of her sister becomes all too solid. Is this love-struck, mom-bashing badass the same Shannon everyone raves about? Determined to understand her troubled sister, Summer dives headfirst down a dark rabbit hole and unearths painful family secrets. Each revelation brings Summer closer to the mysterious and liberating truth about her family,and herself.
If you want to know more about this story, check out the other stops of this Blog Tour @ The Teen (Book) Scene