Friday, January 11, 2013

An Interview with Kristen-Paige Madonia

Today I have the author of Fingerprints of You, Kristen-Paige Madonia on the blog for an interview! You can read my review of Fingerprints of you here, and you can find the Goodreads page for the book here. Without further to do, here’s the interview-


Fingerprints of You1. What part of Fingerprints of You was the most difficult to write? 

I worked particularly hard on the ending -- on finding that delicate balance between wrapping things up but also inviting the readers into the story and allowing them the freedom to draw their own conclusions about what happens to the characters. I tend to be fearful of neat and tidy endings, so while I wanted it to be clear that my characters were moving forward and had become stronger by the events that occurred during the the novel, I also didn't want to lay out all the details of their futures. The plot elements of the ending never changed, but the way I handled them shifted quite a bit during the various rewrites and drafts. 

2. In the novel, Lemon and her mom travel to and from various states. Why did you choose San Francisco as the place for Lemon to run off to?

If truth be told, part of my heart will always belong to San Francisco, so it was a natural choice when I set out to write a coming-of-age novel that involved the physical movement from one part of the country to another. I lived in the city for three years, having moved there just after I finished grad-school, and the cultural of SF shaped and changed me in all kinds of profound ways. In a way, I came of age there as well (though at a much different life-stage than Lemon), so it was lovely to return to that setting and use it as the backdrop for her story. I think that, when you grow up on the east coast as Lemon and I did, there's a natural draw to California -- to that unknown place on the other side of the country. So it felt organic to explore that longing through Lemon.

KPcolorHeadshot4. It's mentioned in the story that both Lemon and her father are readers. What are some of your favorite books?

This is such an impossible question... it honestly depends on my mood, what I'm working on at the time, and what's happening in my personal life. But there are a number books I tend to recommend repeatedly, so here's a handful of them: The Outsiders (this book planted the seed for me to write against the age-old advice, "write what you know"); Great Expectations (one of my favorite coming-of-age novels, a true classic); Let the Great World Spend (hands down brilliant - everyone should read this book); Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close (an all-time favorite that I return to repeatedly with that "how did he do that?" awe); Ten Thousand Saints (a top pick when contemplating the roaming third person point of view); Looking for Alaska (a contemporary YA "must-read"); Drop City (I love T.C. Boyle, but this is my favorite of his novels); and anything my Raymond Carver and Flannery O'Connor. 

5. What is the one thing you'd like readers to take away from reading Fingerprints of You?

I hope readers leave the book with a greater awareness of the impact we can make on one another. It goes back to the title -– we don’t always know that we’re doing it, but we change and mark one another all the time. The interaction may seem small or even insignificant at the time, but we often affect one another in ways we’re not always aware of. It may be a quick conversation on a bus or a handful of weeks working together, a shared concert or a brief moment in a restaurant; we don’t always know that we’re doing it, but we can affect one another in monumental ways. I hope readers leave the book inspired by that idea: we’re constantly impacting the people in our lives –- we’re all connected, and the exchanges we have may seem small but can often be more powerful than we realize.  

That, and I hope readers are entertained. I hope they fall in love with these characters as much as I did. 

6. Are you working on any other novels (that you can talk about)? Do you have anything you'd like to add?

For the first time, I'm working on two books at once. I just completed a literary novel (for adults) which my agent is now reading. It's so very different than FINGERPRINTS OF YOU, which was an intentional decision; if FINGERPRINTS is about family, this novel is about memory -- the way memories have the ability to distort our reality, for better or worse, and the the way all memories are filtered and translated in some way. I'm also in the middle of writing another YA book, which I'm super excited about. I'm in the first-draft stage, so I'm still learning exactly what it's about, but I've got a good feeling about this one...

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