Gayle Forman Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman

An interview with Gayle Forman

Gayle Forman discusses her first book, If I Stay, and why she chose to write for young adults.

You started your career as a journalist and your first book is a travelogue about going around the world. Is YA literature a departure for you?
Actually, it's more of a homecoming. My first writing job was at Seventeen, where I spent five years on staff and as a contributor reporting the magazine's social-issues stories. I loved writing for teens then because--contrary to popular opinion--they really care about serious issues (from child soldiers in Africa to kids embroiled in the drug war here) and the engage in their reading with such passion. So, now that I'm writing young-adult literature, it feels like I've come full circle.

This book explores some serious themes. Why is this a book for kids and not adults?
It's a book for kids precisely because it explores serious themes. Teenagers are grappling with choices about life and love as much as adults, so why shouldn't their reading reflect that? I don't set out to write YA. It just seems like I'm drawn to stories about young people. That said, I think If I Stay is for adults, too. I love the idea of teens reading this book and then handing it off to their parents.

Many key characters are serious musicians, and songs are referenced throughout the book. Are you a musician?
No. Except for piano lessons when I was a kid and a brief spate of guitar playing in my teens, I've never played an instrument. I am, however, a huge music fan. And my husband is a musician; he was playing in a punk band when we met, so I've spent a lot of my life ensconced in that scene. I seem drawn to writing about musicians, though I've never been all that interested in the cello until Mia popped into my head.

What inspired you to write this book?
Music. Oregon. People I have loved. And unfortunately, the book is inspired by a real-life tragedy that happened several years ago.

This is a book about death, but it's not depressing. Why is that?
Maybe because it's really about the power of love--of family, friends, music--and therefore it ultimately affirms life.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

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Books by this Author

Books by Gayle Forman at BookBrowse
I Have Lost My Way jacket Leave Me jacket I Was Here jacket Just One Year jacket
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Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Gayle Forman but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Laurie Halse Anderson

    Laurie Halse Anderson

    Laurie Halse Anderson is the New York Times-bestselling author who writes for kids of all ages. Known for tackling tough subjects with humor and sensitivity, her work has earned numerous international, national, and state ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    If I Stay

    Try:
    Wintergirls
    by Laurie Halse Anderson

  • Lara Avery

    Lara Avery

    Lara Avery grew up in Topeka, Kansas, and graduated in 2010 with a creative minor in writing from Macalester College.

    Lara is the author of A Million Miles Away and Anything But Ordinary. She lives in Minneapolis, Minnestoa,... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    If I Stay

    Try:
    The Memory Book
    by Lara Avery

We recommend 13 similar authors

View all 13 Readalikes

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