The Star That Always Stays – Q&A!
My debut novel, The Star That Always Stays, celebrated an exciting milestone on Tuesday, September 5: the paperback edition released into the world!
It was a thrilling moment for me, and to celebrate even further, I announced on Instagram that I would answer some questions about TSTAS in honor of the paperback. Here are some of those questions and my answers:
What was the initial first spark of inspiration for the story? I first got the idea when I was doing genealogy research about my great-grandmother. The events happening in her life when she was fourteen—starting high school while dealing with her parents’ divorce, her mother’s remarriage, and the beginning of World War I—made me think that this could be a compelling middle grade novel.
Do you see yourself in any of the TSAS characters? If so, in what way? I absolutely see myself in the characters. I was a lot like Norvia as a teenager, but as a child, I was a little bit more like Dicta! I definitely have Norvia’s bookworm tendencies, and I also share Vernon’s interest in classical music.
Did you have a specific playlist/mood board you referred to while drafting this project? I just mentioned classical music, and some of the pieces mentioned in the book were actually ones I listened to while writing (the full list can be found here). During one of the major overhaul drafts of the book, I remember listening to the finale of Dvořák’s String Quartet in F major over and over again. I also listened to some Ojibwe, Acadian, and Celtic music while writing the Beaver Island flashbacks.
How did you grow as an author as you wrote it? What I learned most was that revisions are crucial to shaping any book into what it needs to be. You have to be willing to rewrite and revise your story and make significant changes! Nothing has been more instrumental to my writing than being able to look at a project to see how it could be improved, and finding editors and mentors to help me along the way. Writing (and re-writing!) TSTAS helped me grow so much as an author.
What inspired you to include all the classic books in the story? At the time I was writing TSTAS, I was delving into a lot of vintage girls’ books and absolutely loving them, and this really inspired me to make Norvia into a reader of those same kinds of stories. I feel that a coming-of-age story written in a classic style featuring a character from a Native background is really meaningful. If you’re a fan of Anne of Green Gables and Little Women, like so many people are, then this is a way for you to revisit and enjoy that kind of story all over again, but this time with a character from a different culture. (All the books mentioned in TSTAS can also be found here.)
What was your favorite part of writing TSTAS? My absolutely favorite part was bringing my ancestors to life through this story and exploring what their lives might have been like! And my favorite scene to write was the section where Norvia, Dicta, and Vernon invent a very imaginative game together, and it’s the first time they begin to have fun as siblings. That part was added during the writing of the third draft, and it was the first scene I wrote of the new version!
What is the message you’d like readers to take away from TSAS? My hope is that readers come away feeling joyful, regardless of what’s happening in their lives at the moment. It’s important to me to write stories that are realistic yet inspiring!