I am super excited to feature another amazing author and novel today for Celebrating Debutantes 2016.
Historical novelist Louis Bayard is here on the blog for a quick interview about his first middle grade novel, Lucky Strikes. This latest novel of Bayard is continuously receiving praises from reviewers pointing the strong characters and gripping narrative.
Scroll down to learn more about The Lucky Strikes and the author, Louis Bayard. And don’t forget to check the giveaway at the bottom of the post. Enjoy reading the interview.
Interview with Louis Bayard
What was it like to make the transition from writing adult books to upper-middle-grade?
I wish I could I went through a lot of contortions, but I found it, on the whole, pretty seamless. I just wrote the story I wanted to write, and every time I expected my publisher to push back, they said, “Go ahead.” In a way, it was the least compromised book I’ve ever written.
Do you think you will continue to write books for younger readers?
Yeah, I do. Once you’ve spent time with those readers, you don’t want to leave them behind. And I’ve found, too, that older readers are getting on board, too, which is great.
Lucky Strikes deals with some difficult/heavy themes — as a writer, do you feel a sense of responsibility writing those subjects? Are there things you consider, knowing that you are writing for younger readers?
I try not to be too protective, frankly, because I think young folks can handle a lot of what the world throws at them. I mean, I’ve seen Grand Theft Auto! The only responsibility I feel is to tell the story as well as I can, with all the honesty that entails – even if it means having a heroine who smokes and swears. That said, LUCKY STRIKES has some dark moments, and I wouldn’t recommend it for really young readers.
What are the things you hope your readers will get after reading Lucky Strikes?
I hope they’ll come away with a deeper sense of that period, the Great Depression. People really had to fight for survival in a way they don’t today, and death was a much more embedded part of life. So girls like Melia had to grow up fast. There was no other option.
All your novels are historical fiction, what drew you to that genre? Do you have a particular approach to research and writing?
I used to call myself the accidental historical novelist because it started with wanting to write a book about Tiny Tim (the book that became MR. TIMOTHY) and realizing, with a somewhat sinking feeling, that I’d have to do a lot of research to bring it off. But over time, I’ve come to see that I’m just naturally drawn to the past. I love the challenge of bringing lost worlds back to life. And that involves, yes, a fair amount of research, but I feel my task as a writer is to bury the research as much as I can – eliminate the distance between past and present – so readers feel like it’s all happening in the now.
Have other writers of historical fiction or historical non-fiction influenced you and, if so, how have they influenced you?
More than I could probably list. Ones that come to mind: David Mitchell, Edward P. Jones, Toni Morrison. The one I probably study the most is Hilary Mantel. I love how, in her “Wolf Hall” novels, she manages to impart so much historical data without ever sacrificing narrative momentum or character development. Every sentence is alive.
What project are you working on or planning to write next?
I’m in the early stages of a grown-up historical novel – set in 1840 America. And because I’m a superstitious writer, that’s all I can allow myself to say. But you can bet I’ll be coming back to this readership again. I’ve loved the whole experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Louis Bayard is a New York Times Notable author and has been nominated for both the Edgar and Dagger awards for his adult historicalthrillers. He teaches creative writing at George Washington University.
ABOUT THE BOOK
With her mama recently dead and her pa sight unseen since birth, fourteen-year-old Amelia is suddenly in charge of her younger brotherand sister, and of the family gas station. Harley Blevins, local king and emperor of Standard Oil, is in hot pursuit to clinch his fuel monopoly. To keep him at bay and her family out of foster care, Melia must come up with a father, and fast. And so when a hobo rolls out of a passing truck, Melia grabs opportunity by its beard. Can she hold off the hounds till she comes of age?
What’s up for Grab?
- Copy of Lucky Strikes by Louis Bayard
- Open to International as long book depository ships to your location
- There will be one (1) winner
- Winner will be chosen and announced by rafflecopter
- Winner will be contacted thru email & should response within 48 hours
- Ends September 30th, 2016
- Prize will be sent by me via book depository
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form
Treat yourself to a complete #CelebratingDebutantes2016 experience. Click the image below for the full list of schedule and links to each second wave feature post!