Today we're excited to chat with Hallie Gordon, author of An Accidental Residency. Read on for more about Hallie and her book!
Meet Hallie Gordon!
Still grieving after the loss of her father and unable to express the pain, Lexi Gold, a troubled seventeen-year old, loses herself in late-night graffiti outings looking for the perfect Manhattan rooftop to tag. These sessions lead to romance and danger as she finds herself surrounded by a crew of street artists that force her out of her comfort zone, while a case of mistaken identity changes her life forever.
1. What inspired you to write this book and what kept you going?
I first started writing this book in high school and originally the writing stemmed from a very real need for self-expression, as I was kind of in a dark place and just starting to figure things out. But over the next two years I spent working on it, my reasons and the characters started to evolve. It became less about me personally and more about writing a story that showed the effects that heart break and loneliness could have on someone. There is a kind of power in creating a world and narrative, and in the writing process you start to love the characters themselves as much as the story. In Lexi I created a character who found a way to love when she thought she wasn't capable and that was immensely satisfying for me. I began to love the story and the idea of creating something that people could identify with and something that could make them feel less alone. To me it was the book that kept me going.
2. Who’s your favorite character?
That's a tough one, I think maybe it's Lexi's best friend Ace. Ace is someone who values loyalty and friendship above all else, which is a belief he repeatedly shows. You know when your mom looks at you after doing something dumb and says, "If your friend jumped off a bridge would you do it too?" Ace is the kind of guy who would say yes. Friendship and loyalty are values that are particularly important to me and I love the fact that Ace is the guy who most exemplifies this - even when he does not understand why his friend is doing something, he is there either way.
3. What’s your favorite scene in the book?
Man, It's hard to pick but one of my top favorites has got to be the Met Gala scene. I don't wanna give too much away but the utter chaos that ensues from start to finish is insane. Definitely the most fun one to write in the book and there is a specific Keagan/ Lexi moment that I love.
4. What was the hardest scene to write?
I would say some of the fights between characters were pretty hard to write, just because they're filled with so much intense emotion. The big fight scene between Keagan and Lexi is a little heart breaking because you can see how she's hitting the self-destruct button on the possibility of somebody loving her. Lexi is not truly autobiographical, but I see a lot of myself in her and it was hard writing the sad parts of her story because at times I have had the very same struggles.
5. Which came first, the title or the novel?
The book came first. I actually had a different original title for the book until the very end, but as I still had doubts, my father and I continued brainstorming ideas. As I am an artist and actually attended a high school for the Visual Arts, the idea of an arts residency morphed into the title of my book "An Accidental Residency."
6. What would you say is your superpower?
That question makes me smile. Dyslexia is definitely my superpower, as weird as that might sound at first. It never really helped me much in school, but when it comes to writing it helps me write the world in the visual way that I see it.
7. What do you prefer, coffee or tea?
Neither, I only drink water and of course, chocolate milk.
8. What are you currently reading?
I tend to be a grazer when it comes to reading, and usually I have a couple of different books and genres (including a lot of romance and sci fi/fantasy and the odd graphic novel) that I switch between depending on my mood and time. Right now however, I am more on a classical phase and am reading "Lolita" by Vladimir Nabokov and "The Picture of Dorian Gray" by Oscar Wilde.
9. What’s next? Do you have another work in progress?
Yes. I am currently working on another Y/A novel that I, fingers crossed, hope to have completed in late 2019. There is a female protagonist (not Lexi) who is working through life dramas and the general existential angst that occurs in modern day life when the unexpected happens, and she finds herself on an adventure of personal discovery. This time, I will be exploring concepts of sexuality and personal loneliness, and the need for human connection.