meet jodi picoult and sam van leer!
Seventeen sat down with best-selling author Jodi Picoult, who broke our hearts with My Sister's Keeper, to talk about her latest book Between the Lines. Oh, and her co-author also happens to be her teenage daughter Samantha Van Leer!
17: What was it like for the two of you to work on a book together?
JP: I’d like to believe that she was excited that I was taking her idea so seriously. We have a great relationship, and I really think that it was mom/daughter time. She saw the chaos involved in getting a book published – I don’t think she ever thought we could get this published. She also knows that the work ahead of her is colossal. A book tour is huge; she’s going to be gone for eight weeks, on three continents. But we’re going to have so much fun.
Sam: I really got to see how hard my mom works. I never realized how challenging her job is. Every day, she’ll just go upstairs in her office and write for a few hours. I thought it was cool that she could “just sit and write at her house all day long.” I never realized how much work goes into creating a book.
17: Jodi, what is one lesson you hope Samantha takes from this experience?
JP: It would be “Dream Big” because you might just get what you wish for. Also, it’s interesting that my daughter is going to have this profile on Seventeen.com at age 16 going on 17, because I was published for the first time in Seventeen Magazine!
JP: Yes, I was 19 years old and my very first short story was published in Seventeen Magazine.It was February 1987. It was called “Keeping Count” and then the magazine published a second short story on August ’87, although I have no idea what it was called.
17: Sam, what do you think was the hardest part of writing the book?
Sam: There were times when the book was flowing and we knew what to write about next. There were other times we’d get stuck, I guess that's what you would call writer’s block. I had to learn to block it out and figure out how the characters are going to move on. You can ask my mom—there were definitely times she had to tie me down and force me to write. The hardest part was getting it all out. Once you have the book fully written, then things come more naturally.
17: Do you think Oliver and Delilah’s story is over?
JP: I gotta tell you, I don’t think it’s over yet. However, I do know that a certain co-writer has to get into college soon. I don’t anticipate finding out what happens any time soon.
17: Jodi, what advice would you give to our readers who find themselves in Delilah’s shoes and have a tough time fitting in at school?
JP: Everything is going to look different 10 years from now, or even five years from now. The really interesting thing about high school, from what I remember, is that you think the whole world revolves around your life and your friends. Part of growing up is seeing that big picture, and figuring out the things that matter.
Sam: And try to find someone today with similar interests, someone who loves you for who you are!
17: Jodi, what advice would you give to readers who are aspiring writers?
JP: I would say, first of all, read a ton, because that’s what inspires you. You want to write something as good as what you’ve read. You should take a writing workshop. High schools have them now, as well as bookstores. You can go to a college that has a creative writing program. Any of those workshop programs will teach you how to write on-demand and how to give and get criticism. Those are the two greatest lessons that you can learn as a writer.
Also, think very carefully about the way you choose to get published. Good things come to those who wait.
Between The Lines comes out June 26, 2012 and will be available at bookstores everywhere.