Interview: Ingrid Law
Current Mood: full
Current Song: Dare You to Move by Switchfoot
I've always been drawn to stories with talented characters, be they musically or artistically inclined or gifted with superpowers or unique abilities. The characters in Savvy are each talented in his or her own way, and debut author Ingrid Law's writing talent is evident from the beginning of the book. (Read my full-length book review.) Interviewing Ingrid was a special treat.
What happened on your thirteenth birthday?
Well, there certainly wasn't a big electric storm or a hurricane, but with a May 1st birthday, it rains nearly every year without fail. I don't remember too many details about turning thirteen except that I asked for a radio, got one, and felt much more like a teenager because of it. Music has always been important to me and has triggered make-believe and story building since I was very little. I've often thought that life should have a soundtrack.
Does Mibs resemble a pre-teen Ingrid?
I wish that I had been better at recognizing the voices that get into our heads as early as Mibs. Being a tween/teen is hard, and learning to trust oneself and not fall prey to the opinions or pressures of other people can be difficult, even as an adult.
Your characters not only have unique talents but unique monikers as well. Did you select the characters' names to go along with their abilities, or vice-versa?
Some names just came to me instinctively: Fish, Rocket, Mibs . . . my fingers seemed to know these names before my brain did. Still, as I built the characters, I could see why I named them as I had. How ironic to be called 'Fish' when you can't go anywhere near water . . . Rocket's full of powerful energy waiting to be harnessed . . . and Mibs? Well, for Mibs, I wanted a name that was completely different, even from the rest of her family. I wanted her name to feel a little awkward, yet sweet, like a family nickname would.
If you could have one or two superpowers, what would you select and why?
I think I would like to fly or breathe underwater. Both seem like they would be relaxing and ultimately escapist activities, and both would provide ways of leaving normal boundaries behind and seeing things from a new perspective.
When you first learned that your book had been optioned for film, how did you feel?
Believe it or not, I was actually sitting in a movie theater waiting for a film to start when I got the call from my agent. It was the middle of the day and I was completely alone in the theater. For some reason the theater staff had forgotten to turn on any of the normal music and trivia slides. It was completely quiet in the theater -- I could hear myself breathing. When the call came, I felt as though I was on Candid Camera -- like someone might jump out at any minute and say 'Just kidding!' I managed to sit through the first ten minutes of the film before I ran out of the theater, unable to sit still.
Did your daughter read the book prior to its publication?
I read the story to my daughter in big pieces as I wrote it, so she heard it transform and grow throughout the development of the book. However, I think she might have preferred to wait until the last edits were done to read it from beginning to end on her own, without all of the unavoidable spoilers and backstory that she'd been exposed to!
Is she much like Mibs, or any of the other characters?
No, she's not like Mibs. My daughter has a personality all her own and it belongs to her. It's my job as a writer to create great characters, and it's my job as a mom to respect and protect my child. While being the mother of a thirteen-year-old girl obviously has some influence over my writing, I wouldn't want to pour all of her characteristics or personality into a specific character in a book. To me, that would feel like a breach of trust. My daughter holds the copyright on herself.
What are your ten favorite books of all time?
Hard question! I'll just tell you the first ten books that come to mind as memorable, influential, and well-loved by me in various stages of my life: growing up, now, and as a mother. Here they are in no particular order except exactly how they popped into my brain:
Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones
Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw
Lord Valentine's Castle by Robert Silverberg
Moreta: Dragonlady of Pern by Anne McCaffrey
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
Kit's Wilderness by David Almond
There's a Boy in the Girl's Bathroom by Louis Sachar
The Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. LeGuin
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Zap yourself over to Ingrid's website.
What to learn more about Savvy? Read my review of the book, then visit Penguin Books and Walden Media.