Part 2 of Interview with Julia Hoban-YA Author
Staci: Is Young Adult your genre or do you feel that you may write for a different audience in the future?
Julia: Both! I do feel a special connection to YA literature, even more so since WILLOW has come out, and I've had the opportunity to talk to and connect with some very remarkable young women. It's a privilege to write for them. Having said that I very much intend to write adult fiction as well. I'd love to write a mystery more than anything, but I don't think I ever will. I'm in awe of those who do.
Staci: I really loved how vulnerable you made Willow's brother and that you allowed Willow to see him crying and releasing his pain. It really shows how healthy crying is and how Willow's cutting is so destructive. Where did that idea come from? How did you come up with this?
Julia: To my mind, David's crying and Willow's response to it, is really the heart of the book, and I'm thrilled that it not only spoke to you but that you got what I was trying to do. David's crying IS a healthy response to the situation he is in. It is the absolute opposite of the way that Willow processes her pain. There are three scenes where Willow watches her brother cry, and her reaction to each is an integral part of her growth. The first time she see him crying, she cuts herself. The second time, she forces herself to watch him without resorting to cutting. This is a tremendous step for her. It is after this that she is finally able to release her own feelings in a healthy way. And finally, the third time, she is able to go to him, to connect with him and comfort him in a way that she had not been able to do before.
Staci: I know that some readers feel that when author's write about such heavy topics such as, eating disorders, suicide, teen pregnancy, cutting, prostitution, that they should include a list of resources for someone who is dealing with the same problem. Do you feel that it's an author's responsibility to include this?
Julia: Well, that's an interesting question. I feel strongly that a YA author has responsibilities to their audience that a write in another genre might not. For instance, I would never have a character of mine have unsafe sex, unless the point of the book was about the consequences of unsafe sex. This is actually something I've gotten into arguments with other YA writers about. Certainly I felt it was crucial to show how very wrong, how absolutely destructive cutting is, not to glamorize it in any way. I wanted to have my character move beyond this terrible behavior. I would have felt as if I had committed a moral wrong if I did not show that her cutting and its consequences were dreadful. But as to including a list of resources, do you know that never even occurred to me! I can say that nobody at the publishers suggested it either. Perhaps it would have been a good thing to do, but I do think it is secondary to the first responsibility ---that of portraying the 'heavy topic' in a serious manner, of alerting the reader to the profound consequences of those particular issues.
Staci: Can you discuss with us what you're currently working on?
Julia: Well the fact is I'm horribly superstitious. Really!! In fact the corrections for WILLOW were due on April first, and I begged my editor to let me hand them in April second. I just couldn't bear the thought of sending in the book on April fools day! In any case, I would feel all sorts of worry if I let the cat out of the bag as regards my current project before I was finished.
Your readers may be interested in the fact that I connected with you because I was going through a ferocious case of writers block, and stumbled across your blog while (yes!) procrastinating. As I emailed you back then, something I read in one of your posts got me back on track. I won't say what it was now, but I do hope that whets your appetite!!
I want to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to Julia for being so gracious in taking the time to answer my questions and also to correspond with me. I hope that you enjoyed my first ever author interview!! Remember, every comment left on this post will be entered to win a copy of WILLOW!!!
***Edited: I am so sorry that this is being posted so late!! I came home from a very long day of motorcycle riding in Canada only to find that I thought I had this all ready to post this morning but guess what? Today is May 31, not June 1st!! I never claimed to be the sharpest tool in the shed!!! Forgive me, please!!