St. Louis book blogger Christina Hickey at Ensconced in Lit recently interviewed Zac Brewer, author of “Madness,” and Nina LaCour, author of “We Are Okay,” as a spotlight on the BookFest St. Louis Young Adult Panel!
From the interview with Zac Brewer:
“Madness is about a teen suffering from severe depression and suicidal tendencies. For me, the first half of the book was very difficult for me to read just because Brooke’s mind is a dark place to be. But you had to live in her head for much longer, and I can imagine this process of writing this book was very difficult. Could you tell us a little bit about this process and why this book was so important for you to get out into the world?
You’re right – Brooke’s mind is a dark place during the first half of the book. But the thing is, it wasn’t so much that I lived inside Brooke’s head, but that I used Brooke as a conduit – a way to express my thoughts and feelings during the deepest depression of my life. At the time I began writing the book, I had decided that I would pour my most private thoughts, my darkest feelings onto the page and then take my life. I had imagined it as an unfinished goodbye letter.”
From the interview with Nina LaCour:
“Marin is in a haze of grief for most of the book, trying to find her way out of it. I know you’ve had personal experiences with similar grief. What was it like to be able to write this book? Was it therapeutic in some ways? How has writing helped you as a person?
I always write from a place of my own struggles and questions. The events in my books rarely reflect my life, but the feelings behind them almost always do. ‘We Are Okay’ emerged during a tumultuous time in my life. I had lost my beloved grandfather; one year later, on the anniversary of his death, I had my first child; less than a year after that, my parents separated and eventually divorced. It was a time of lessons about family–beautiful lessons and hard ones–and the wonder of love and family along with the grief over things falling apart were integral to my writing. It was absolutely therapeutic to write it. It helped me learn more about myself and to channel all of my messy feelings into a book that, hopefully, captures some of the complexities of familial relationships.”