Since I adored Wintergirls so much, I could not pass up the opportunity to ask Ms. Anderson if she was interested in an interview. Lucky for us, she found some time in her super busy schedule to answer a few questions. Enjoy!
1.) Wintersgirls, for those who don’t know, is about a girl who is not only struggling with an eating disorder but also the death of her best friend. What inspired you to write about both? Was there anything specific based on your own personal experiences? Inspired by letters from readers and my own struggle with self image. I was not anorexic, but did not have healthy eating habits.
2.) Your books for teens seem to deal with a lot of difficult and emotional subjects (eating disorders, death, abuse, etc). Why do you choose to write about such difficult subjects? Do you ever get to a point where you have to step back and take a breather while you’re writing a particularly emotional scene? I write about difficult subjects because teens are facing difficult subjects. I often have to take breaks to stay emotionally healthy; that’s why physical activity, running, working in the garden, exercising, is very good for me.
3.) Can you tell us a little bit about your high school experience? Were you anything like any of your characters? There is a little bit of me in all of my characters. Because of some issues my family was facing my high school years were not much fun. That is why I became a foreign exchange student and spent my senior year in Denmark through the American Field Service.
4.) If you could give the teens who read your books and go “That’s exactly how I feel” any advice, what would it be? Being able to identify what you are feeling and why, is huge; that is a hard thing to do. Teens need to be validated for that. I would hope that if they are feeling overwhelmed that consistently that they can find a trustworthy adult to talk to about this. Let them know that adolescence has an end point and when you can survive to reach that end point, life gets better.
5.) Can you tell us a little about your writing process and what you’re working on now? One tenth mystical inspirations, nine tenths hard work. Right now I am working on a picture book about Abigail Adams, my next novel about the american revolution, and I am beginning to think about my next YA novel, but can’t talk about it yet.
6.) What are your favorite books? Movies? Musicians? American Gods, by Neil Gaiman; VanHelsing, Dave Mathews, Coldplay, Tori Amos
7.) Finally, what advice do you have for any aspiring writers? Make time to write every day.