We Are Okay
Author: Nina LaCour
Publication Date: February 14th, 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Synopsis: Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
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About the Author and Interview
Nina LaCour is the author of the award-winning Hold Still and widely acclaimedThe Disenchantments. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives with her family in Richmond, California. Visit her site at www.ninalacour.com.
Interview with Nina LaCour
Where did you come up with the idea for We Are Okay?
I knew that I wanted to write a book that took place in a very specific setting over a short period of time because I was interested in examining the meaning behind small routines and observations. Focusing in on quiet moments is often difficult in faster-paced stories where a lot happens. My wife is the one who suggested the premise of a teen girl who was raised by her grandfather, though. My grandfather had recently passed away and was (and still is) often on my mind, so as soon as she mentioned the idea I knew it was something I wanted to explore.
What is one of your favorite scenes in the book?
There is a scene that comes late in the book but was one of the first that I wrote. Marin and her best friend Mabel getting ready for bed in the bathroom of the college dorm where Marin lives. It’s a quiet scene where they simply brush their teeth, but Marin watches their reflections and realizes some things about herself and her life and who they are to one another. I like it because it is true to that initial concept I had for the book, which is that sometimes the most everyday moments are filled with the most wonder.
When you were writing We Are Okay, did you find any of the characters resembling anyone you know in real life?
Well, my grandfather told many jokes and loved to play cards and was a delightful and loving person. So in those ways, he and Gramps are similar. But those are the only similarities end between them. The character who is most taken from life is Ana, Mabel’s mother, who is modeled after a former teaching colleague of mine who is also an artist originally from Mexico City. Just like the character in the book, the real Ana is warm and loving and passionate about the work she creates and things she believes in.
The relationship between Marin and Mabel is a difficult one. What was it like to write about the confrontation between them?
Their relationship is a complex one for sure! They are best friends who also were romantically involved for a brief time before Mabel left for college and Marin’s life as she knew it fell apart. Now a few months of total estrangement have passed and they are seeing each other again in the most intimate of settings: an empty dorm room during a snowstorm. I loved writing about them coming back together as friends because I knew that underneath the layers of anger and abandonment and hurt was a rare loyalty that would be able to withstand all of the hurdles and complexities of the past months.
How do you avoid distractions when writing?
I like to write at a clear table or in a café. Visual clutter bothers me to no end when I’m trying to work. I need to turn off the wifi on my computer or else I refresh my email every time I finish a sentence, purely out of habit. I also almost always listen to a single song on repeat because it helps me to tune out the world and stay focused.
Enter for a chance to win one (1) of five (5) copies of We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (ARV: $17.99 each).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on February 13, 2017 and 12:00 AM on February 27, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about February 29, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.
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