Author Chat with Gayle Forman (Frankie & Bug), Plus Giveaway and Exclusive Audio Excerpt! ~ (US Only)
Today we are chatting with Gayle Forman, author of
Frankie & Bug!
Read on for more about Gayle, her book, giveaway plus an exclusive audio excerpt!
Meet Gayle Forman!
Gayle Forman is an award-winning author and journalist whose articles have appeared in numerous publications, including Seventeen, Cosmopolitan, and Elle in the US. Gayle Forman’s novel, If I Stay, was released as a blockbuster movie starring Chloë Grace Moretz in 2014. Her most recent YA novel is We Are Inevitable. Gayle lives in Brooklyn, New York with her family.
Meet Frankie & Bug!
In the debut middle grade novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Gayle Forman comes a poignant and powerful coming-of-age story that follows a young girl and her new friend as they learn about family, friendship, allyship, and finding your way in a complicated world.
It’s the summer of 1987, and all ten-year-old Bug wants to do is go to the beach with her older brother and hang out with the locals on the boardwalk. But Danny wants to be with his own friends, and Bug’s mom is too busy, so Bug is stuck with their neighbor Philip’s nephew, Frankie.
Bug’s not too excited about hanging out with a kid she’s never met, but they soon find some common ground. And as the summer unfolds, they find themselves learning some important lessons about each other, and the world.
Like what it means to be your true self and how to be a good ally for others. That family can be the people you’re related to, but also the people you choose to have around you. And that even though life isn’t always fair, we can all do our part to make it more just.
~ Author Chat ~
YABC: What gave you the inspiration to write this book?
Eight years ago, on a long transcontinental flight, I began thinking about how certain injustices seem intractable while others have come such a long way and this got me thinking about the 1980s, when I came of age. The book evolved over to an examination not just of how things can change, but we what all must do as allies, as co-conspirators, to insure they do change. And setting the book in the way-way-back historical 80s allowed me to explore both of those points.
YABC: Who is your favorite character in the book?
This is mostly a book of characters who I love and adore so much that it’s hard to choose. I love them all, but I love Frankie and Bug with an affection and sense of protectiveness that is so intense, it’s like they are real humans. Which to me, they are.
YABC: What scene in the book are you most proud of, and why?
I love the scene where Frankie and Bug meet Flo. It starts out as a procedural—they are investigating a crime and got a tip that Flo might have some information—and evolves into something else, an affirmation that there is a place for all of us in this world.
YABC: What do you like most about the cover of the book?
What don’t I love about the cover? Angeles Ruiz manages to brilliantly weave together so much detail and so much mood. The image of Bug and Frankie sitting on the sidewalk in the darkening night, eating popsicles, evokes the freedom of summer an and of childhood in the 1980s, with a tinge of melancholy. She also nails their characters, from the posture to the clothing. The wraparound images evoke Venice Beach, and by extension, all beach towns. I also love that the tri-color popsicles known as Bomb Pops—or Bottle Rockets or Rocket Pops, we had much debate over what to call them—made the cover, too.
YABC: What new release book are you looking most forward to in 2021?
On the MG side, Out of my Heart, Sharon Draper’s long awaited sequel to Out of My Mind. I read that book when it came and read it again with my younger daughter, who has played it on audio countless times. I was always a little sad that Melody was treated so shabbily by her peers and I’m looking forward to her making some true friends. On the YA side, Brandy Colbert’s Black Birds In The Sky, which is a nonfiction account of the Tulsa Race Massacre, a period of history we are only beginning to learn about.
YABC: What was your favorite book in 2020?
Two 2020 books that blew me away: Dancing at the Pity Party by Tyler Feder and Everything Sad is Untrue by Daniel Nayeri. And they came out in early 2021 but I loved Clues to the Universe by Christina Li and also Alone by Megan E. Freeman…still thinking about that one months after reading it.
YABC: What’s up next for you?
It’s been a busy year! I just finished an adult novel—well, I think it’s adult; it’s narrated by a 105 year old man but it’s about his friendship with a 17-year-old girl—and have just begun drafting my next middle grade novel. And there are other mystery projects always in the hopper.
YABC: Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?
There are some scenes in which characters say some hateful things, and it was difficult to write those, and to find the balance between exposing an ugly reality without glorifying hatred. But the hardest scene to write was the penultimate one. Finding the note of hope, without sugarcoating the challenging, balancing Bug’s frustration and her resolve, and keeping it true and authentic to a ten-year-old girl’s feelings. I fiddled with that scene until the very end.
YABC: Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?
Strangely, it was Bug. It took me many different takes and tries to tap into her voice. I was too precious about it, sounding like someone writing as a ten-year-old. It was awful. But then something clicked and it was like I tapped the right vein and Bug’s voice, her emotions, her worldview, came pouring out of me.
YABC: Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or Revising?
Revising! I liken drafting to making clay. It’s just this slog to get a lump of clay on the table. Once you have the clay, you get to play with it, mold, you have something to work with. That part is so much more fun.
YABC: What would you say is your superpower?
Executive functioning. I am very good at keeping several plates in the air at once and in fact thrive when I am working on multiple projects, doing family things, home improvement projects and political work.
YABC: Is there an organization or cause that is close to your heart?
Very many—from Human Rights Campaign and the Trevor Project, which do so much to advocate for LGBTQ, to International Rescue Committee and Doctors Without Borders, which help refugees in crisis to Equal Justice Initiative, which represents prisoners who have been wrongly convicted . But the cause that is closest to my heart is pretty basic: voting. In every election. All the way down the ballot. Knowing which elected officials make these key decisions about our lives, and holding them accountable. This is how structural change happens. I know many of my readers are a ways off from voting but I want them to hold onto that passion, that desire to change the world, that belief that they can, and use it in the voting booth, every single election. Because that is how we do change the world.
Author: Frankie & Bug
Publisher: Aladdin Publishing
Publish Date: October 12th, 2021
Click here for an exclusive excerpt from the audiobook narrated by the iconic Stockard Channing!
Audio excerpt courtesy of Simon & Schuster Audio from FRANKIE & BUG by Gayle Forman; read by Stockard Channing. Text copyright © 2021 by Gayle Forman, Inc.. Used with permission of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
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