Hi there Misfit Booknerds! So it's another awesome time to raise the spotlight to an amazing author! I interviewed Cammie McGovern, author of the newly released novel, Say What You Will! Get to know her more and how she is as an author! *book shimmy*
What breakfast staple do you usually eat?
- Smoothies! I’m trying to get healthier!
As per tradition, what is your favorite color?
What TV show are you currently addicted to?
- Parks and Rec and Modern Family are long-time staples in my life.
Who would you like to do a collaboration with if you were given the chance?
- I have MANY fellow writers I absolutely adore, but it’s hard for me to imagine collaborating on a long project like a novel (I feel like my first drafts are so horrible that I would never want to show them to anyone—I’d be gripped by self-conciousness and then would quickly become moody and hard to work with…) I could see doing something like a collection of essays or stories featuring kids with disabilities or something like that, maybe! There’s an idea!
You started your author career with your first novel Art of Seeing but it was really Eye Contact that made you a breakout star! What would you say inspires you to write these fantastic stories?
- You’re right—EYE CONTACT has been my best selling book so far. I suspect this is because it’s the one that’s closest to my own life. It’s about an autistic boy who witnesses a murder after he’s wandered away from the school playground and into the woods. He’s pretty traumatized and can’t tell anyone what he’s seen so it’s up to his mom to figure out his clues and try to solve the murder. As the mom of an autistic boy, I can say your whole life sometimes feels like you’re trying to figure out clues for what your kid is trying to say.
Say What You Will is your current novel and has been compared to bestsellers like The Fault in Our Stars by John Green and Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. What made you write this story about a girl with cerebral palsy and a neurotic?
- I helped start an organization called WHOLE CHILDREN that runs programs for kids and teens with disabilities which means I’ve gotten to know a LOT of these kids and I want more people to hear some of their stories. One of the surprising things about teens with disabilities is how much they want the same things as their typically-developing peers—like friendships, love, independence, all of that. I never would have thought my son was interested in girls and romance and then, bam, he became a teenager and started talking about it! I was really surprised (and touched.)
When you do research for certain stories, how do you condition yourself for them? Does it take you a while to gather data?
- I read a ton. Memoirs are fantastic, but you have to make sure you read a few different ones to make sure you aren't copying one person’s story too closely. I read a lot of books written by people with OCD or some form of anxiety disorder. It’s fascinating and much more common than you would think!
If you had chance to do a side story of Say What You Will, which of the characters would you wish you can extend the stories of? (Sanjay's story seems great in a way even if he is a jerk)
- What an interesting idea! I love it! I actually have toyed with the idea of revisiting Amy and Matthew down the line a bit, like when Amy gets toward the end of college, just to see where they’re at. I LOVED the sequel to IF I STAY where she picked up the story a few years later and the couple are so far apart, so you’re rooting for them to get together all over again. The thing is, I don’t think I’ll do it any time soon. My editor says aging the characters too much takes it out of Young Adult and makes it New Adult book. So I’d have to think about this more…
Finally, what is your advise for writers (such as myself) who wish to embark in the world of publishing and becoming authors too?
- I think you’re already doing my number one recommendation, which is READ EVERYTHING YOU CAN! The more you read, the better a writer you become. It’s as simple as that. Reading expands your vocabulary, but more importantly, it teaches you about good story development, writing effective sentences, things like that. My other big suggestion is to write as much as you can and not to get too discouraged when things don’t turn out as great as you were hoping they’d be right away. This is how it ALWAYS is, even for people who have published many books! I still re-read first drafts and think, how can I be this bad when I've written books that are good? Terrible first drafts can turn into very good books, it just takes a lot of work.
I want to thank Cammie for all of her kindness throughout the process and for giving me the time of day! I LOVE YOU! And you can interact with Cammie too through her social media sites: Twitter, Facebook and her Goodreads! She is really nice!
I wouldn't have done any of this without your support Misfit Booknerds! You are all amazing!