Monday, October 3, 2011

Author Interview with Deb Hanrahan

Hello Readers,

Today I'm posting an interview with Deb Hanrahan, author of Changing My Wardrobe, which I recently just reviewed on this blog. Changing My Wardrboe is an absolutely beautiful book and I'm so pleased that Deb Hanrahan agreed to do this interview.


Why did you write Changing my Wardrobe? What was your inspiration?

My entire adult life, I wanted to write a book. I started to write several times, completed forty or fifty pages, and then threw my work away. About two years ago, I finally arrived at a point in my life where I realized it was “now or never.”

The idea for Changing My Wardrobe came from a dream. I dreamt a small part of Chapter 17. I am confessing this for the first time. I’ve been reluctant to reveal this tidbit, because after Twilight, it sounds so cliché.

What was the most memorable part about writing Changing my Wardrobe?
The most memorable moment was when I completed the first draft. I was so happy that I had actually finished my book, and I was blissfully ignorant of the grueling journey that lay ahead of me.

What do you absolutely love about your novel?
I love the characters. I especially love Marco. He is such a great kid. Marco tries hard to do the right thing but makes mistakes anyway. I think any teenage girl could fall for him. The scenes where he talks about his mom and sister were some of my favorite scenes to write.

How did you so eloquently touch upon what it feels like to be in high school?
First, I clearly remember my high school days, and all the feelings that I had at that age. It seems as if it had all just happened. Second, I have two kids in high school; both are very chatty about their lives. We often have discussions comparing my experience to theirs. Some things have changed, but they struggle with many of the same issues that I struggled with.

You chose to focus on the theme of bullying. Why did you pick this theme or feel like it was important it be addressed?
Bullying never goes away. Like so many others, I was bullied as a kid. Then, as a parent, I watched my own kids struggle with it. Even with awareness programs and zero tolerance, bullying persists. I sometimes wonder if it is just part of the human condition. It is such a complex issue without a singular cause or a singular solution.

What advice would you give to people facing bullies?
I can give the advice that helped me. You cannot change someone else’s behavior; you can only control your own. So, be brave, and be proud of who you are. Things will get better. And most importantly, when things get out of hand, ask an adult for help.

If you are a witness to bullying, you need to do something. You cannot stand by, thankful that you’re not the target. Tomorrow, you might be.

What do you hope readers gain after reading Changing my Wardrobe?
 wanted to shine a light on the complexity and fluidity of bullying. I don’t always think that adults or other witnesses see the entire picture. I also wanted the reader to experience that very unique moment when your life changes in a second and there is no going back.

Why did you decide to call your novel Changing my Wardrobe? What role does this title play in the story?
Coming up with the title, Changing My Wardrobe, was tough. The first title that I wanted to use was already a published title, so I obviously needed to come up with something else. I spent several hours lying on my couch, thinking of what the book is really about. When Changing My Wardrobe popped into my head, I was satisfied. To me, it is the perfect metaphor for Lindsey’s goal of changing her life.  

So far nearly everybody who has read your book has given you good reviews, how does this make you feel?
Of course, I am pleased but also humbled. When you write a novel, you know what is going on in your head, but capturing that on paper for others to visualize is tricky. I am honored to know that I have effectively guided the readers to the emotional place that I hoped they would end up.

In your novel, you talk a lot about death and loss and how people deal with their loss. Why did you include this theme?
I have always been somewhat obsessed with death. This obsession only intensified after my mom’s untimely death. A little over twenty years ago, she drowned in Lake Michigan while vacationing with my dad. I have often wondered about my mom’s final thoughts. Was she aware of what was happening? Did she have any choices to make about staying with us or moving on? After watching my family deal with this loss, I then became fascinated with the grieving process. When I started writing this novel, I didn’t intend to include this theme. I must have subconsciously added it because when I was finished, there it was.

In your novel, you also touch upon family issues and how that often led to poor behavior in teens. Why did you include this theme?
Cal’s parents not only failed their son, but they left behind a mixed-up, dangerous kid for the community to deal with. When parents bring a new life into the world, those parents not only have a responsibility to the child but also to their community. Although people may sometimes lack the necessary tools to be great parents, they must do their very best to help their children become functioning members of society, no matter what problems they, themselves, are facing. Furthermore, it is never an option for parents to abdicate their role as mother or father. Honestly, when I started writing, I intended this to be the main theme of the book. However, in the end, it took second to bullying.

Is there anything else you would like to add or say?
Danica, thank you so much for your wonderful review, and thank you for this opportunity to talk about my book.  

Where can readers go to buy your novel?
Changing My Wardrobe is available at Amazon.com, BN.com, iBookstore, and other online distributors. It is available in paperback and as an e-book. As of right now it is not available in the brick and mortar stores.

And that's all for now. Thanks Deb for participating in this author interview and writing such a great book. It was a pleasure to review and gain more insight into your novel throught this interview. And you are most welcome for the good review, you deserved it. :) 

Well readers I hope you enjoyed this interview, I know I did. For those who haven't, be sure to check out my review on this novel, which you can access by going to my Reviews tab. This book is definitely worth buying and one that I could see myself rereading.

Have a great day!

~Danica Page

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