Thursday, July 15, 2010

Sophie Littlefield

Sophie Littlefield grew up in rural Missouri. Her first novel, A Bad Day for Sorry, was an Edgar Award Finalist and is shortlisted for an Anthony, Barry, and Macavity Award. It won an RT Book Award for Best First Mystery and has been named to lists of the year's best mystery debuts by the Chicago Sun-Times and South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Her new novel is A Bad Day for Pretty.

From a Q & A with the author about her YA novel Banished, due out in October:

What were you like in high school?


I was what is euphemistically called a "late bloomer." I felt ungainly and unattractive and clumsy. I was in the orchestra, did not play sports, excelled at things like math and spelling and found it nearly impossible to understand, much less navigate, the complex social hierarchy at school. I didn't date, and I started working at part-time jobs when I was fourteen so I didn't participate in any after-school activities.

I now understand that I had some serious attention issues, and it was very difficult for me to focus in class. I remember school as excruciating, alternating between deathly boredom and an overwhelming sense that I would never fit in. My parents went through a difficult divorce, which added to my sense of isolation.

One of the gifts of my adult friendships has been to find out that everyone struggled in high school. I frequently felt like I was the only person who hated the way I was, who wished for a fairy godmother who would change not only my circumstances but who I was at the very core. I thought that the cheerleaders and class presidents and football players were all confident and happy, but my adult friends who were in that group in high school tell me they had plenty of their own problems. Growing up is a momentous and difficult job for everyone.

Did you model the main character in BANISHED after yourself?

Sort of...

In some ways, Hailey is very much like I was at sixteen. She also feels socially isolated and is unable to form friendships with the kids at school, although in her case there are other forces at work related to her dark legacy and the powers she doesn't realize she has.

Hailey has a lot of responsibilities since her grandmother expects her to care for the four-year-old boy they foster in order to get money from the state. To some extent this is a reflection of the challenges I faced as a teenager as my parents divorced and dealt with the challenges of starting over. My siblings and I were expected to get ourselves where we needed to go, and to pitch in with household chores. We cooked meals, cleaned (not very well, as my dad can attest) and learned to stretch our allowance as far as possible.

Like me at that age, Hailey...[read on]
Learn more about the books and author at Sophie Littlefield's website and blog.

The Page 69 Test: A Bad Day for Sorry.

Writers Read: Sophie Littlefield.

The Page 69 Test: A Bad Day for Pretty.

My Book, The Movie: A Bad Day for Pretty.

--Marshal Zeringue