Author Chat with Amy Hest (The Summer We Found The Baby) Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)
Today we're excited to chat with Amy Hest author of
The Summer We Found The Baby.
Read on for more about Amy and her book, plus a giveaway!
Meet Amy Hest!
Amy Hest is the author of many beloved books for young readers, including Remembering Mrs. Rossi, Letters to Leo, and the Katie Roberts novels. She is also the author of many picture books, including Kiss Good Night, When Jessie Came Across the Sea, and the Baby Duck books. Her more recent titles include Buster and the Baby, On the Night of the Shooting Star, and Are You Sure, Mother Bear? Amy lives in New York City.
Meet The Summer We Found The Baby!
Set during World War II, this poignant, briskly paced historical novel relays the events of one extraordinary summer from three engaging points of view.
On the morning of the dedication of the new children's library in Belle Beach, Long Island, eleven-year-old Julie Sweet and her six-year-old sister, Martha, find a baby in a basket on the library steps. At the same time, twelve-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli is on his way to the train station to catch the 9:15 train into New York City. He is on an important errand for his brother, who is a soldier overseas in World War II. But when Bruno spies Julie, the same Julie who hasn't spoken to him for sixteen days, heading away from the library with a baby in her arms, he has to follow her. Holy everything, he thinks. Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.
Of course, the truth is much more complicated than the children know in this heartwarming and beautifully textured family story by award-winning author Amy Hest. Told in three distinct voices, each with a different take on events, the novel captures the moments and emotions of a life-changing summer -- a summer in which a baby gives a family hope and brings a community together.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
This book is loosely based on some family history. Think New York City, 1942. My Aunt Harriet, age 18, goes to a party. Meets a boy, also 18. Love happens. And war. Harriet’s boy enlists and off he goes, to Biloxi, Mississippi, for basic training. Letters are written. Promises are made. Tears flow. Time passes. One night, Harriet packs a small bag in the night and sneaks off on a train to see her boyfriend in Biloxi. A few days later, her soldier goes to war. As for Aunt Harriet, she returns to the city married.
That story (I heard it from a reliable source, my mother) about two young people getting married on the brink of war has always spoken to me. Romance! Only 18 years old? Too bad. Romance! I wasn’t there, of course, in 1942, but if I had been, I surely would have been rooting for them, cheering them on.
Perhaps, all these years later, that’s what I’ve done by writing THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY. It starts with a soldier going off to war. I add a baby to the mix, a beach, and three kids. A dog. A jeep. A library. I add layer upon layer of pain and joy, friendship and promises, broken hearts, and healing hearts. A love story, for sure.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
Oh, my goodness, I couldn’t never in a million years choose a favorite! Julie. Martha. Bruno. I love them all! Worried about them all, while I was writing the book. Every day of writing brought me closer to understanding what made them tick.
YABC: Which came first, the title or the novel?
The title came first. Along with the idea, of course, of finding a baby on the steps of a library. I didn’t know much more. Except that it would have to take place on some beach … it was war time, I knew that, too. Basically, the question I kept asking myself was: Whose baby is it?
YABC: Do you have a favorite writing snack?
Ice cream! Coffee ice cream, particular. With or without chips. Hot fudge on coffee ice cream is just about. the greatest treat in the world from this writer’s point of view.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
Over the years I’ve learned to pare down my writing. Less is more. It’s
a great challenge to get your point across with fewer words, because each
one has to be pitch-perfect. Another thing I’ve learned as a writer is to take
my time getting to know my characters. They are like friends, revealing
their secrets to me, very slowly, over the course of a long time. I have to be
a good listener. They tell me their stories. All I do is write them down!
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I like everything about the cover of the book! I think the illustrator, Jamey Christoph, captured the mood so perfectly. I love the colors, the kids, the dog, the beach. It makes me want to be on that beach, with them. If I saw this book on a shelf, I would surely judge it by its cover and take it home to read at once!
YABC: What’s up next for you?
I am working on a couple of picture books. And also, a longer book about five kids in New York City and a snowstorm.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Honestly, I like all of it. What I don’t like is when I’m between books and
nothing is happening in terms of ideas or characters or storylines. Probably my brain is telling me it needs a rest from writing, but I don’t want to rest. I want, always, to be working on a new story. That said, revising is probably the most interesting part for me. Because you keep thinking, I know this can be better … hmmm… how in the world am I going to make it better … hmmm …. So, I revise and revise and revise some more, and then one day it’s actually better!
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I’m kind of lazy about a lot of things. But not writing. I’ll work on a book for years and years and years, until I feel it’s the best book it can be. Recently, I found a first draft of a first sentence for THE SUMMER WE FOUND THE BABY. I wrote that sentence in 2005 … and fifteen years later, ta daaa, a book!
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
I love dogs. So any organization that keeps dogs safe.
The Summer We Found The Baby
By: Amy Hest
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 4th, 2020
One winner will receive a copy of The Summer We Found The Baby (Amy Hest) ~ (US Only)
*Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*