Saturday, June 16, 2012

The fabulous Jodi Picoult and her daughter Samantha Van Leer talk about Between the Lines, writing together, and more

To me, nothing is more important than writers helping other writers, and honestly, you can't find a better fairy godmother to have than megaseller Jodi Picoult. Warm, funny and with the best curly hair I have ever seen, she now has co-written a book with her daughter, Samantha Van Leer, Between the Lines. The book was Samantha's idea, and it's a classic fairy tale with a twist you won't see coming. I'm completely thrilled to have both Jodi and her daughter on my blog today. I can't thank you both enough! 
Jodi: Between the Lines was Sammy’s idea, and frankly, she’s got a better imagination than I ever did at her age. It’s called Between the Lines, and it’s about what happens when happily ever after…isn’t. Delilah, a loner hates school as much as she loves books—one book in particular. In fact if anyone knew how many times she has read and reread the sweet little fairy tale she found in the library, especially her cooler than cool classmates, she’d be sent to social Siberia . . . forever.To Delilah, though, this fairy tale is more than just words on the page. Sure, there’s a handsome (well, okay, incredibly handsome) prince, and a castle, and an evil villain, but it feels as if there’s something deeper going on. And one day, Delilah finds out there is. Turns out, this Prince Charming is not just a one-dimensional character in a book. He’s real, and a certain fifteen-year-old loner has caught his eye. But they’re from two different worlds, and how can it ever possibly work?

Sammy:  I was most surprised at how hard it was to sit for hours at a computer and just WRITE.  I sometimes wanted to get up and burst through the window – and I’m sure there were times my mom wanted to kill me because I got distracted.  But then there were times it was really amazing to work together. Sometimes we tripped over each other’s sentences just to get to the next line – it was sort of like we were having the same dream and seeing exactly the same images in our heads, so that when we were writing we were telepathic.  So, really, the most surprising thing about working with my mom was how much fun we had together…and learning how similar we can be when we're writing.  

Jodi: Sammy has always been incredibly creative. As a seven-year-old, she wrote a 42-page short story. She's got an innate sense of character and conflict, which is the hardest thing to teach someone who wants to write. When she first pitched me this story idea, I thought it was a remarkable one, not just for teens but for adults. I mean, who hasn't had a crush on a literary character? I thought my role in the writing process would be to encourage her to actually follow through on her idea, and to give her specific goals--i.e. today we're going to write twenty pages! But she came into this with great skills, and I wound up treating her like an equal partner. She's a much better writer than I was at her age, and I found myself being swayed by her choices as a writer, and to my surprise, her instincts were spot on, even when I disagreed at first. The best part about working with her? Well, how many moms get a chance to spend five weeks on a book tour with a daughter who's leaving soon for college? I am so excited about having this concentrated, intense, amazing experience with her!


Melissa Ramos said...

I am so excited for this book! I have read all of Jodi's books and actually recently saw her on her most recent tour. With my fascination of everything fairy tale-like, I am all that more excited for this. I love that it is a Mom/Daughter project being that it makes it so special. My mom and I have similar tastes and ideas when it comes to stories and writing, but I don't know that we could actually sit down and do something like this. Maybe. Either way, I'm very eager and excited to read this new book!! :)

Anonymous said...

Love this! What a great mother-daughter bonding moment--or moments--as I am sure they came to be over the course of writing a YA novel. How completely inspiring it must be to have a mother who churns out bestsellers every year...and perhaps a little intimidating at times, too. So glad Ms. Picoult and her daughter took the time to share with you their experiences writing this book. Keep up your good work, too Caroline!

Robby said...

This is great! I'm looking forward to reading the book. Jodi Picoult is a legend, and more so with each release.

Evelyn Krieger said...

I was so excited to read about their mother/daughter collaboration. A few years ago, my teen entrepreneur daughter encouraged me to write my a YA novel instead of the adult one I had been struggling to complete. She designed the cover, planned the book launch and marketing campaign. Now I have an award-winning book and my daughter sometimes travels with me to speaking engagements and book signings.