I first had the idea for Saving June while I was in high school. When I was seventeen, I'd lost a relative of mine to suicide and the "splitting the ashes" thing was something that actually happened. The summer after I graduated, I was living out of my car and working as a pizza cook. The radio would always be on in the kitchen, so I was spending a lot of time listening to music and kicking the idea around in my head. A few years later I found some of the bits and pieces I'd written back then, and decided to sit down and write out a full first draft. So some of it comes from my personal experiences, and of course some of it is inspired by music I love. It all ended up tying together!
2. Please share with us the ways in which music has influenced your life, particularly your writing.
Music has always been a big part of my life, and it was especially a major influence as a teenager. A lot of my identity felt wrapped up in the music I enjoyed and even in the music I didn't like-- just having those opinions and arguing or sharing with friends; it was both a personal and a communal interest. I have very little musical ability of my own, so I just appreciate it from a listener's perspective. Music, like writing or any other art form, is something to connect to and meant to invoke emotions in the audience. So I think when it comes to an influence on my writing, it had to do with the aspect of music where you listen to a song and think, "Wow, this really made me feel something," and you want to put words to what that feeling is.
3. What’s on your iPod at the moment?
I'm always listening to an eclectic mix of music. My current playlist includes the Beastie Boys, Jay-Z, Simon & Garfunkel, Amy Winehouse, Sufjan Stevens, The Ting Tings, and The Roots.
4. Favourite bands/singers?
I have so many! I know it's a bit of a cliché, but my favorite band is The Beatles. Some of my other personal favorites include Ted Leo & The Pharmacists, Nirvana, Talib Kweli, Tom Waits, Ani DiFranco, Sam Cooke, and Emmy the Great. But that's only the tip of the iceberg!
5. Have you ever been on a road trip? Did you go on one as research for the book?
I have been on many road trips before (though none quite as extended as the one in Saving June), and I pulled a little from those experiences rather than going on one as research. I haven't been to all of the places they stop along the way in the book, so I had to do some online research for those parts. But I have done a drive similar to theirs up the California coast from around Santa Barbara to Monterrey Bay; it was the most gorgeous drive I've ever taken. The views are stunning!
6. Are you anything like Harper, or Laney?
I'd say there's a little of me in Harper, Laney, and Jake. Of the three, I'm probably most like Harper, or at least I was as a teenager. I'm the "little" sister in my family too, and like her, I wasn't very interested in high school culture or a lot of the things that appealed to my peers. Her sense of alienation-- even before what happens with June-- is something I felt at that age. However, I think I'm not as brash or confrontational as she can be. I like to think I'm a little easier to get along with than Harper!
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