Author Chat with David Levithan & Jennifer Niven (Take Me With You When You Go)!
Today we are chatting with David Levithan & Jennifer Niven, authors of
Take Me With You When You Go!
Read on for more about David & Jennifer and their book!
Meet Jennifer Niven & David Levithan!
Meet Take Me With You When You Go!
From the New York Times bestselling authors of All the Bright Places and Every Day comes a story of hope, family, and finding your home in the people who matter the most.
Subject: You. Missing.
Ezra Ahern wakes up one day to find his older sister, Bea, gone. No note, no sign, nothing but an email address hidden somewhere only he would find it. Ezra never expected to be left behind with their abusive stepfather and their neglectful mother - how is he supposed to navigate life without Bea?
Bea Ahern already knew she needed to get as far away from home as possible. But a message in her inbox changes everything, and she finds herself alone in a new city - without Ez, without a real plan - chasing someone who might not even want to be found.
As things unravel at home for Ezra, Bea confronts secrets about their past that will forever change the way they think about their family. Together and apart, broken by abuse but connected by love, this brother and sister must learn to trust themselves before they can find a way back to each other.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
JN: I mentioned on twitter (when asked by a reader) that the writer I’d most like to collaborate with was David Levithan, and a week later he sent me the first chapter of the book with the message: Be careful what you wish for…
DL: I’d always wanted to write a book with someone else about siblings who were trapped in a bad situation and made their way out of it. And I’d always wanted to write an epistolary novel with someone else. When the opportunity arose, Jennifer felt like the perfect author to do this with.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
I’m partial to Bea since I wrote her and since she was such a fun challenge to write (we’re very different people!). But I have a big soft spot for London.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
David and I wrote the entire book without knowing what the other was going to do, so he had no idea what the big plot twist would be. I was proud of myself for surprising him! And I feel like we both really challenged each other throughout in the writing of this story.
You see how artful Jennifer’s response is? There was one moment when Jennifer dropped the floor out from under me, and I had to figure out how to get traction again. To spell it out would be a spoiler.
YABC: Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?
To not overwrite quite as much in the first draft. And to remember that the book belongs to me when I’m writing it, but once it goes out into the world it then belongs to the reader.
I’ve learned to follow the story rather than try to shape it ahead of time. Outlining works amazingly for some writers. I am their opposite.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
I love the look on Bea’s face. To me, she has this Mona Lisa quality, and I find her expression so intriguing because it’s hard to tell how she’s feeling or what she’s thinking. I like to think if I saw it in the bookstore and hadn’t actually co-written it, I would be drawn to it and want to pick it up! I also love that the cover art and the author portraits were created by Tito Merello, the amazing artist behind the Breathless cover.
I love that my character is the voice of the title, but Jennifer’s character is the face of the cover. That fits the book perfectly.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in the coming months?
Anything But Fine by Tobias Madden and Sally Rooney’s new novel.
Nina LaCour and Jennifer E. Smith have each written their first adult books and I’m dying to read them.
YABC: What was your favorite book of the past year?
The Plot by Jean Hanff Korelitz. I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough!
How has this not come up in conversation? I’m dying to talk to someone about that book. But I’m going to go with Will McPhall’s graphic novel IN, which made me both laugh and sob.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
Another collaboration? I’m working on my next solo YA novel, as well as finishing writing the script for the movie version of Holding Up the Universe.
Why am I answering these questions? I need to finish the copyedits on my next middle-grade!
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
Any scenes dealing with Bea’s self-doubt or the abuse she and Ezra suffered at the hands of their mom and stepfather.
Unlike characters in my other books, I feel Ezra rarely gets to veer from a very emotional place. There’s a lot going on. But in many ways, even the harshest scenes were edifying to write, because Ezra isn’t stuck in them – he’s moving forward through them.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Definitely drafting. I love losing myself in the characters and story and just seeing where they go. But I also understand the importance of revising and I can do it and I’m good at it, but it’s not nearly as fun!
Perversely, I enjoy it all.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
I try to make the world a lovelier place than how I found it by making others feel seen and loved.
I know really good people.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Take Me With You When You Go
By: David Levithan / Jennifer Niven
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publish Date: August 31st, 2021