Saturday, October 10, 2009

Amy Reed

Courtney Summers interviewed Amy Reed about her debut YA novel, Beautiful.

The novel is, Summers writes, "an incredibly intense story about a thirteen-year-old girl named Cassie, who makes the decision to sit with wild and troubled outsider Alex, at lunch. From that moment on, the life Cassie had slowly unravels and twists and turns into something much darker, something much less certain from there." From the Q & A:

What made you decide to write Beautiful?

I think I had wanted to write a story like Beautiful since I was young. In a lot of ways, it is my story. Much of it is based on my own life. I think if you did a survey of first novels, you’d find that a huge percentage of them are highly autobiographical. As a writing student, I was told to write what I know. The period of my life that Beautiful portrays was undoubtedly one of the most formative in my life, and I guess I was ready to dive into it, to let it out.

Beautiful is a jarring, raw and devastating portrayal of a thirteen-year-old girl who falls down the rabbit hole, no holds barred. Did you find it an emotionally draining book to write? If so, how did you see the book through to its last page and when you were finished, did you need to regroup?

My experience writing Beautiful was actually kind of the opposite of what you’re describing. While it was a very emotional process and I cried often while writing certain scenes, it felt more empowering than draining, like an emotional release, a liberation. Writing the last chapter was probably the most profound experience I had during the process. By giving Cassie a little hope, a little spark of redemption, I felt somehow healed myself.

That’s fantastic; that it was so empowering for you. One thing I most enjoyed about Beautiful was that you didn’t villanize Alex, who is really the catalyst for the self-destructive path Cassie takes. She seems just as lost and confused in her own way. Was it important to you as you wrote?

Absolutely. I don’t believe in...[read on]
Visit Amy Reed's website and blog.

--Marshal Zeringue