Today, I'd like to welcome Lynn Weingarten, author of WHEREVER NINA LIES to Booking Mama. Earlier today, I reviewed her YA novel; and I found the book to be quite suspenseful and full of twists and turns. After finishing the book, I had a few questions for Ms. Weingarten.
Booking Mama: When did you realize that you wanted to write books? What made you decide to write a young adult novel?
Lynn Weingarten: I’ve pretty much always loved writing and always loved the idea of writing a book. When I was in first grade my school had this publishing program where you could get your stories bound into little books with cardboard and wall-paper covers. I thought this was basically the best thing ever and I made a ton of them. One of them was about a hermit crab who kept getting bigger and bigger and it turned out it was because he’d accidentally eaten a balloon.
Jump ahead fourteen years and my first job out of college was at a media production company where we made up plots/ideas for books, found authors to write the books and then edited those books. Seeing the process broken down into so many tiny steps made the process of creating a book seem less like a magic trick and more like something a person could just sit down and do so long as they’d done some planning ahead of time. Eventually I left that job to write full-time and trying to write a YA book just seemed like the natural next step.
Booking Mama: I loved the gorgeous pictures throughout the novel. Did you always know that you wanted to include artwork in this story?
Lynn Weingarten: Oh I’m so glad, I love them too! They’re by a fabulous artist named Vicki Newman. The idea for the whole book came about in a slightly backwards way: I was talking with Scholastic about potentially writing a book for them and the mentioned wanting to do a YA book with drawings in it, and so I made up a plot for which having drawings would make sense.
Booking Mama: The ending of the novel was especially touching for me. Was the ending something you knew when you started the novel or did it come to you as you wrote it?
Lynn Weingarten: Thank you very much! Before I started writing I knew where I wanted all the characters to end up (in terms of what I wanted to happen/to have happened to them), but when I wrote the first draft I ended the book about thirty pages earlier. I didn’t write what now appears as the ending until I was almost done with the second draft.
Booking Mama: Since this book is part mystery, was there anything special that you had to do to make sure that the clues in the story all lined up?
Lynn Weingarten: I wrote a lot of lists and made a lot of charts with lots of arrows and squiggly lines and stick figures with various types of mouths and hair and eyebrows.
Booking Mama: I can't let you get away without asking about your favorite authors? Whose writing inspired you? And, what are some of your favorite books?
Lynn Weingarten: Some of my favorite authors are: Lucy Ellmann, Graham Greene, Tom Robbins, Margaret Atwood, Raymond Carver, Jane Austen and Alice Munro. I find all of them inspiring in different ways and any of their books that I’ve read are probably on my list of favorites. As for other books: I just read The Russian Debutante’s Handbook which was fantastic, and a book of Isaac Bashevis Singer short stories which were also great. And I just recently reread Pride and Prejudice for the first time in a few years. I don’t usually reread books but oh boy that book is one of the coziest things in the world to me (and I say that as someone who is very, very big on cozy). Right now I’m reading a book of short stories by Richard Russo and also Jedediah Berry’s Manual of Detection, both of which I am loving.
I'd like to thank Lynn Weingarten for answering my questions! If you'd like to win a copy of WHEREVER NINA LIES, you're in the right place. Thanks to the publisher and Big Honcho Media, I have five copies of the book to share with you! Just leave a comment with a valid email address -- it's that easy. The contest will be open until Thursday March 4, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. ET, and I will notify the winners the following day. This contest is open to those of you with U.S. addresses only. Good luck!
Photo by: Jena Cumbo