Today we're excited to chat Marie Marquardt, author of Flight Season. Read on for more about Marie and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Marie Marquardt!
Marie Marquardt is a Scholar-in-Residence at Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and has been an advocate for social justice for Latin American immigrants in the South for two decades. She is also the author of three critically acclaimed novels for young adults that reflect the experiences of undocumented immigrant teenagers and are inspired by her experiences working with detainees and their families as chair of the Georgia non-profit El Refugio. Dr. Marquardt’s third book, Flight Season, will be published on February 20, 2018. It’s a love story that also addresses the issues surrounding access to medical care for undocumented immigrants facing life-threatening illnesses. She’s also the founder of #ReadforChange, an online initiative in partnership with TeenLibrarianToolbox which gives attention to YA books that focus on social issues.
From Marie Marquardt, the author of Dream Things True and The Radius of Us, comes a story of two teenagers learning what to hold on to, what to let go of, and that sometimes love gets in the way of our plans.
Back when they were still strangers, TJ Carvalho witnessed the only moment in Vivi Flannigan’s life when she lost control entirely. Now, TJ can’t seem to erase that moment from his mind, no matter how hard he tries. Vivi doesn’t remember any of it, but she’s determined to leave it far behind. And she will.
But when Vivi returns home from her first year away at college, her big plans and TJ’s ambition to become a nurse land them both on the heart ward of a university hospital, facing them with a long and painful summer together – three months of glorified babysitting for Ángel, the problem patient on the hall. Sure, Ángel may be suffering from a life-threatening heart infection, but that doesn’t make him any less of a pain.
As it turns out, though, Ángel Solís has a thing or two to teach them about all those big plans, and the incredible moments when love gets in their way.
Written in alternating first person from the perspectives of all three characters, Flight Season is a story about discovering what’s really worth holding onto, learning how to let go of the rest, and that one crazy summer that changes your life forever.
1. What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Flight Season is inspired by my own experience as an over-achieving teen who didn’t really learn how to love until life (and death) got in the way of my big plans. The story also is deeply connected to my experiences, during most of my adulthood, working with undocumented immigrant teens. Their strength and resilience, and their persistent demand for recognition, inspire me every day.
2. Who is your favorite character in the book?
Every once in a while, we writers have the great good fortune of a character coming to us fully formed – the first time that character’s voice hits the page, it feels authentic, and that voice continues to flow easily throughout the novel. In Flight Season, that character is Ángel. I can’t explain why – he is loosely based on a teenager that I got to know about a decade ago, but he absolutely is his own person, and I adore him.
3. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The novel always comes first for me. I’m not great with titles. It took me a long, long time to come up with Flight Season, but once I did, I knew it was right. (Thankfully, so did my editor!)
4. Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
We need community. The best thing I have done for my craft, and for my mental and emotional health, has been finding a community of writers and working to build and broaden that community. We give and receive all kinds of support – from margarita nights to intensive writing workshops; from big, beautiful congratulations to ugly cryfests. Writing and publishing novels is not for the faint of heart, and it definitely helps when a bunch of awesome people have your back!
5. What do you like most about the cover of the book?
The spine! I love everything about this cover, but my favorite part is the drawing on the spine. It makes me sort-of sad that you have to find the book in hardcover before you can see it.
6. What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2018?
Tradition by Brendan Kiely. My 2018 resolution is to find and celebrate YA and MG novels that are fabulous reads and also bring readers into social issues that matter now. I’m calling the initiative #ReadForChange, and each month I feature a book that dives deep into an important justice issue. Kieley is such a great writer, and his forthcoming book, Tradition deals with toxic masculinity and what it means to become a man inside our society’s elite institutions. I think this is one of the most pressing justice issues we face now. He explained in an interview that his guiding question for the novel was “How can men be better feminists?” I am SO VERY ALL IN for that question!
7. Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
The most challenging character for me to write authentically was Vivi – whose experience draws heavily from my own teen life, and who shares much in common with me. I’m not sure what it says about me that I had trouble finding her voice. That’s probably a question for a psychologist...
8. Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Absolutely 100% drafting. Putting words on the page for the first time is such a rush!
9. What would you say is your superpower?
Multitasking. You should see my daily calendar. It’s terrifying.
10. Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Yes! Thanks for asking. About eight years ago, I had the honor of working with an incredible group of people – all volunteers – to start a non-profit that serves detained immigrants and their families. It’s called El Refugio, and it’s located in the small town of Lumpkin, Georgia. We provide hospitality to families visiting their loved ones in immigration detention. We also visit detained immigrants who have no one else to visit them, and we work to build awareness of the effects of the United States’ broken immigration system. This work is incredibly challenging and heartbreaking, but I have learned so much from the families we serve, and I’m constantly reminded by them that love is more powerful than fear.
By: Marie Marquardt
Release Date: February 20, 2018