Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Day2: Interview with Daphne Grab!

As promised, We're here with Daphne Grab asking all sort of questions about what being a debut author is all about!

So, where do you do most of your writing? What's it look like? (maybe include a picture if you can get it!) My bedroom! Our NYC apartment is big enough for our family of four (barely!) but there are no extras, like say, a study or a living room big enough for a desk. But mine fits nicely in the bedroom and the cat, who is my muse, keeps me company all day so I can’t complain.

Can you tell us how the book came about? How did you begin writing it?

Six years ago my dad was diagnosed with ALS and he died about six months later. Living with a sick parent was a profoundly difficult and life changing. After he was gone I had all kinds of feelings about it and a few years later, when I was at the New School, I wanted to channel those feelings into a character. Not just the hard stuff but also the parts that were beautiful and real about living with illness but still having the gift of that person in your life. And so Matisse was born.

And how did it find a publisher? Give us the *real* dirt!

I began ALIVE AND WELL IN PRAGUE, NEW YORK in my third semester at the New School. My writing teacher, Sarah Weeks, had us submit five pages of our manuscripts, plus a cover letter, to her editor at Harper, Jill Santopolo. It was a class exercise, not an official submission, so that we could get a feel for how our work might be received by an editor. Jill liked my pages so after I graduated I officially submitted to her. She liked the manuscript and ended up buying it.

Did anything surprise you or caught you off guard when you were writing your book?

How much I liked my main character and how totally different she is from me! I was very insecure in high school and it was a lot of fun to write a character who believed so strongly in herself. When people ask me if the book is at all autobiographical it makes me laugh because Matisse and I, and our experiences, couldn’t be more different!

Imagine you have an offer from your dream press to publish your dream book, no matter how insane or unmarketable it might be (though of course it might *not* be). What story do you want to write next/someday and why?

I’d love to write historical fiction. I studied history in college and got pretty into it. I’d love to write something about the Opium Wars in China or the White Rose in Germany under Hitler. My next book is contemporary about a boy who loves football, but maybe with my next manuscript I can go back in time!

Thank you Daphne! We're certainly looking forward to what's next with you! Next for us is Daphne's take on the KidLit Publishing world--so be sure to come back tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

I LOVED this book! Congratulations, Daphne!

Amanda said...

hi daphne! i loved the book; and I loved reading about your process in this post. good luck with everything to come!

(courtney's friend)

Marissa Doyle said...

I hope you write that book set in China someday!

And your cat is cute. :)

Anonymous said...

Happy Launch Week, Daphne! I loved your book and look forward to reading the next one! :) deb

daphne grab said...


and marissa, he is a splendid little guy :-)

Barrie said...

I'm really enjoying getting to know a little more about you. Looking forward to the rest of the week. :)