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Interview: Adele Griffin

December 8th, 2010 (07:00 am)

Current Mood: thirsty
Current Song: Without a Trace score music

She's written about vampires. She's written about cyberbullies. She's written about stepfamilies and single parents and everyday life. What's next for Adele Griffin? Read this exclusive interview to find out!

What topic or genre would you love to write about that you haven't touched on yet?


You've written for kids and for young adults. Would you ever want to write a novel for adults?

I never thought I'd write anything for adults, but I've kept a journal of my daughter's progress as she has journeyed from less than two pound, critically ill baby to healthy, happy three year old. Keeping her alive was the most grown-up phase of my life. And it might be something to share, as a novel or nonfiction. But it's very emotional territory. So, I don't know.

Your latest novel, The Julian Game, is both timely and close to your heart. Why did you feel compelled to write it?

My mom is head of a school in Philadelphia. A couple of years ago she came to visit and was really stressed about an issue at her school that involved a girl being bullied. She's a smart cookie, my mom, so I listened up. Eventually, from those conversations, I started to write about Raye and Ella and Julian.

How much of the story and/or the characters changed between the time you started plotting the story to the final draft?

The end, for sure. We had Raye more in an alpha-aggressive "payback time" mode. But then real things began to happen in the newspaper with online bullying, and that led my editor Nancy Paulsen and me to arrive on a more realistic and timely end-note.

Tell us about Eve Ventures.

Eve is a vlog on thejuliangame.com that you and I started talking about last spring, right?

Right. (Note to readers: I acted as a consultant for some of Adele's TJG projects.)

We wanted to think about how putting on a blue wig made this issue not just Raye's problem, but something a lot of kids were dealing with. Eve Ventures is not a character in The Julian Game. She's her own person, at her own school, with her own baggage. We wanted humor and authenticity
and old-fashioned fun, and we wanted to speak to the issue more than to the book.

How is your mother involved in your Julian Game efforts?

Mom and I have put together a clip where we just have a conversation about her school, and my novel, and how a community can put together a strong platform as we navigate online.

One of your novels is entitled My Almost Epic Summer. What's been YOUR most epic summer?

5. Summer I learned to swim (May 1977)
4. Summer I learned to drive (July 1987)
3. Summer I got my heart broken (June 1991)
2. Summer I got married (August 1997)
1. Summer my daughter first saw the ocean (July 2008)

I really enjoyed your book Amandine. What inspired that story?

My real-life Amandine, a girl named A------e. I was new that year - a new freshman - and A----e's entire life was just so glamorous, so insane, and so bewildering that fifteen years later, I decided -- okay, either purge this memory or write it down. Kids either love that story or despise it. I never had such a strong range of opinion on a book, which is fascinating to me because that's exactly how I felt about A------e.

Tell me a little something about your next novel, Tighter.

Ah! Tighter! It's a ghost story, out next spring. I wrote it during the four months my daughter was in the hospital. It's a very loose retelling of Henry James' Turn of the Screw, which I consider the greatest ghost story ever written, in that it has inspired so many retellings.

What are your ten favorite novels of all time?

10. The Magus
9. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicles
8. the Crimson Petal and the White
7. Rebecca
6. The Chocolate War
5. John Dollar
4. The Wide Sargasso Sea
3. The God of Small Things
2. Anna Karenina
1. The Turn of the Screw

I spoke with Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown in May 2010 about their collaborative effort, Picture the Dead. Click here to read the interview.

Visit Adele's website.

Follow the Winter Blog Blast Tour (WBBT) all week long! Here is today's schedule:

Andrea Seigel at Shaken & Stirred
Adele Griffin at Bildungsroman
Susan Campbell Bartoletti at Chasing Ray
Charles Benoit at A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy
Sarah MacLean at Writing & Ruminating
Allen Zadoff at HipWriterMama


Posted by: ((Anonymous))
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 12:47 pm (UTC)
tanita says:

I LIKE that Eve Ventures vlog. Wow. What a great idea for a novel extension. And I love that wig.

I'm always astounded at the lyrical way AG writes - ghosts or not, there's something very real about her writing.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 04:20 pm (UTC)
Re: tanita says:


Posted by: thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com (thehappynappybookseller.blogspot.com)
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 02:17 pm (UTC)

I just read Picture of the Dead, last night. It was so good, I couldn't put it down. I hoping its the first of a series.

Though Griffin has another mystery with ghosts story coming out in May called Tighter and that makes me very very happy.

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 04:03 pm (UTC)

Speaking of Picture the Dead, I interviewed Adele with Lisa Brown back in May:

Posted by: kellyrfineman (kellyrfineman)
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 05:40 pm (UTC)

The Turn of the Screw - man, I don't know that I've ever heard that as someone's favorite novel before, but it was a damn fine story. Great interview, ladies!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 8th, 2010 07:07 pm (UTC)

Thanks for reading!

Posted by: Sarah Stevenson (aquafortis)
Posted at: December 9th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)

I liked Amandine! I completely forgot I read that. I'll definitely have to look for Adele's other books. Thanks for this interview and bringing her back onto my radar!

Posted by: Little Willow (slayground)
Posted at: December 9th, 2010 11:58 pm (UTC)

Glad to register it on the radar!

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