Author Chat with Melissa Ostrom (Unleaving), Plus Giveaway! ~ (US Only)

39073361

 Today we're excited to chat with Melissa Ostrom author of Unleaving.

 Read on for more about Melissa, an interview, plus an giveaway! 

 

 

 

 

Meet Melissa Ostrom!

Melissa Ostrom is the author of The Beloved Wild. She teaches English literature at Genesee Community College in Batavia, New York.

 

 

Website * Twitter 

 

 

 

 

Meet Unleaving!

In a book that is both urgent and timely, Melissa Ostrom explores the intricacies of shame and victim-blaming that accompany the aftermath of assault.

After surviving an assault at an off-campus party, nineteen-year-old Maggie is escaping her college town, and, because her reporting the crime has led to the expulsion of some popular athletes, many people--in particular, the outraged Tigers fans--are happy to see her go.

Maggie moves in with her Aunt Wren, a sculptor who lives in an isolated cabin bordered by nothing but woods and water. Maggie wants to forget, heal, and hide, but her aunt's place harbors secrets and situations that complicate the plan. Worse, the trauma Maggie hoped to leave behind has followed her, haunting her in ways she can't control, including flashbacks, insomnia and a sense of panic. Her troubles intensify when she begins to receive messages from another student who has survived a rape on her old campus. Just when Maggie musters the courage to answer her emails, the young woman goes silent.

 

Amazon * B & N  * Indiebound

 

 

 

 

~ Author Chat ~

 

 

YABC:  What gave you the inspiration to write this book?

News stories, discussions with my students, poignant books, personal experiences: these all inspired UNLEAVING. In the last few years, especially, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the fraught subjects of sexual assault and trauma. Feeling sad about them. Writing the novel gave me a productive way to muddle through those thoughts and feelings. I decided to explore the aftermath of this kind of horrific event and show how complicated the recovery can be, how ugly forces in society can hinder the healing, but how good friends can help.   

 

YABC:  Who is your favorite character in the book?

Probably Wren, Maggie’s aunt. A talented sculptor, Wren is prickly, passionate, wry, and generous. Though struggling with her own demons, she stays strong for Maggie. Also, since I’m a potter, it was fun creating a character who works with clay.    

 

 

YABC:  Which came first, the title or the novel?

As soon as I formed the basic premise for the novel, I had an idea for a title. The word unleaving comes from Gerard Manley Hopkins’s poem “Spring and Fall.” Here’s the beginning:

Margaret, are you grieving 

Over Goldengrove unleaving? 

Leaves like the things of man, you

With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? 

I’ve admired this wistful poem for a long time. It deals with loss, grief, and growing up, all of which Maggie in UNLEAVING faces, too.



YABC:  Thinking way back to the beginning, what’s the most important thing you've learned as a writer from then to now?

If a fairy godmother showed up and offered me the chance to be whatever I wanted, I’d say, “Thanks but no thanks. I’m good.” I love being a writer. This profession: it really is a dream come true.

That being said, I have learned (am still learning, actually) that it’s a job that requires some armor and bounce. A good way to describe success in writing—not just for me but for EVERY writer? Hard-won. I try to turn the stinging stuff like rejection into something productive, a fuel for working more intently and getting better. I try.    

 

 

      YABC:  What do you like most about the cover of the book?

It’s totally different from the cover of my other novel, and this appeals to me. THE BELOVED WILD is historical YA, and the gorgeous, dreamy cover illustration captures the story’s long-ago-ness.

The cover of UNLEAVING, on the other hand, is stark, real, and now. I like that the figure representing my main character is captured from behind. In the novel, Maggie has a difficult time moving forward. The past is always hard on her heels, following her, tripping her up. The direction from which the photo was taken reinforces that haunting quality.   

 

 

    YABC:   Which was the most difficult or emotional scene to narrate?

At one point, Maggie has to find her friend Linnie who’s stranded at an off-campus party. The situation fills Maggie with dread and triggers a flashback. It echoes—in setting and circumstance—a previous party: the time when she was sexually assaulted. This was a difficult scene to write.      

 

 

     YABC:  Which character gave you the most trouble when writing your latest book?

Linnie was tough. She is tough…and complex. There are people in my life who are like Linnie—hurting and struggling with addiction and depression; sometimes amazingly fierce, driven, loving, and talented; other times, hopeless, consumed, absent, and frustrating.



    YABC:   Which part of the writing process do you enjoy more: Drafting or revising?

I would take drafting over revising any day, though I know they’re equally important. When revising overwhelms me and I can’t see a way through a narrative mess, I turn to my writerly friends, in particular my wonderful literary agent Rebecca Stead, my excellent editor Liz Szabla, and my faithful writing pal Amber Christopher-Buscemi. I don’t know what I’d do without these talented wordsmiths. Their constructive criticism lets me see a draft with fresh eyes—with their (superhuman!) vision. When they point out issues or offer advice, even if their feedback requires extensive revision (like add-new-characters-and-switch-the-point-of-view changes), I listen closely, say thank you, and get to work. Their suggestions are gifts. I’ve become a better writer, thanks to them.  

   

 

   YABC:  What’s up next for you?

I’m revising a MG novel. It’s about fifteen-year-old Molly Knack who lives with her grandma at Five Corners Inn in Homer, New York. Molly has a lot on her plate from the get-go, including estranged family members, the loss of her best friend, and a community on edge after an averted school shooting. Homer High’s new antibullying friendship initiative, plus a blizzard, her demon-possessed cat, a school-project-from-hell, and a ghost, all seem destined to make her life worse, until somehow, remarkably (and possibly with the help of magic muffins?), they…don’t.      

 

 

 

 

Unleaving

By: Melissa Ostrom

Publisher: Feiwel & Friends

Release Date: March 26th, 2019

 

 

 

 

*GIVEAWAY DETAILS*

 

One winner will receive a copy of Unleaving (Melissa Ostrom) ~ (US/Canada Only)

 

 *Click the Rafflecopter link below to enter the giveaway*

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

 

Featured Review: Once & Future (Amy Rose Capetta/C...
Featured Review: The Last Voyage Of Poe Blythe (Al...

Related Posts

 

Comments 7

Already Registered? Login Here
John on Tuesday, 26 March 2019 19:57

Victim-blaming seems to be the all-American sport. Ugh.

0
Victim-blaming seems to be the all-American sport. Ugh.
Kylie on Sunday, 31 March 2019 00:16

We need more books that help young people cope with sexual assault.

0
We need more books that help young people cope with sexual assault.
Candice Gigous on Monday, 08 April 2019 11:43

The cover is eye-catching. The synopsis is very interesting. Sounds like a dramatic and thought-provoking read.

0
The cover is eye-catching. The synopsis is very interesting. Sounds like a dramatic and thought-provoking read.
Emily on Monday, 08 April 2019 14:53

As a Victim advocate this hits home for me. I wish people realize victim blaming is so wrong and stops some many victims from reporting the crimes.

0
As a Victim advocate this hits home for me. I wish people realize victim blaming is so wrong and stops some many victims from reporting the crimes.
Jenna on Wednesday, 10 April 2019 03:40

This book sounds intense and timely. I’m not really drawn to the cover. I prefer illustrations to photographs on covers but I’m very drawn to the description of the book.

0
This book sounds intense and timely. I’m not really drawn to the cover. I prefer illustrations to photographs on covers but I’m very drawn to the description of the book.
Danielle Hammelef on Saturday, 20 April 2019 14:35

The cover is sad/lonely and perfect for this emotional and important novel that is unfortunately much too relevant to today's society.

0
The cover is sad/lonely and perfect for this emotional and important novel that is unfortunately much too relevant to today's society.
Penny Olson on Thursday, 25 April 2019 23:20

The cover is eye catching and fits the story. The synopsis describes a book that is relevant to the experience of many women and girls.

0
The cover is eye catching and fits the story. The synopsis describes a book that is relevant to the experience of many women and girls.

FEATURED GIVEAWAYS

Latest Book Listings Added

My Funny Bunny
 
3.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a boy receives a gift box from his uncle...
Kindness Rules! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Manners don’t come naturally to everyone! But did you know...
Teeny Tiny Ghost
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
An adorable spooky twist on "The Teeny Tiny Woman" that's...
A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Hop into the world of Peter Rabbit and his friends...
Solving for M
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Perfect for fans of Raymie Nightingale and The Fourteenth Goldfish,...
A Parade of Elephants
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
New York Times–bestselling and Caldecott Medalist Kevin Henkes follows five...
My Fate According To The Butterfly
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When superstitious Sab sees a giant black butterfly, an omen...
The Rough Patch
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
A Caldecott Honor Book An...
Sunny's Tow Truck Saves the Day!
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
When a family car gets a flat on the way...
How to Be a Cat
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
In cut-paper artist Nikki McClure’s latest picture book, a kitten...
TBH, IDK What's Next (TBH, #4)
 
4.5
 
0.0 (0)
Three BFFs set out to have the BEST SUMMER EVER...
Finding Esme
 
3.3
 
0.0 (0)
Twelve-year-old Esme’s life changes when she discovers dinosaur bones on...
Five Little Pumpkins on Halloween Night
 
5.0
 
0.0 (0)
Join these happy pumpkins in a cheerful rhyming countdown, in...
Wreck: A Novel
 
4.3
 
0.0 (0)
Set on the shores of Lake Superior, Wreck follows high...
The Madman of Piney Woods
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
Benji and Red couldn't be more different. They aren't friends....
Wintercake
 
4.0
 
0.0 (0)
This cozy, gently humorous, and irresistible holiday tale from Newbery...

Latest Member Reviews

My Funny Bunny
 
3.0
"MY FUNNY BUNNY is about dealing with disappointments and not judging others too quickly. It's the main character's sixth birthday,..."
Kindness Rules! (A Hello!Lucky Book)
 
4.5
"KINDNESS RULES! is a fun new manners book, perfect for preschoolers. Magic Manners, an elephant who knows her stuff, teaches..."
Teeny Tiny Ghost
 
5.0
"Be prepared to fall in love with the tenacious TEENY TINY GHOST in this sweet book, perfect for Halloween. The..."
Solving for M
 
5.0
"SOLVING FOR M is a beautiful and enthralling middle grade novel about finding your way in a new school and..."
A Pumpkin for Peter: A Peter Rabbit Tale
 
5.0
"A PUMPKIN FOR PETER tells the story of when Peter Rabbit went with his mother and sisters to go pick..."
A Parade of Elephants
 
4.5
"Five elephants march along the pages of Kevin Henkes's picture book, A PARADE OF ELEPHANTS. As they make their way..."
My Fate According To The Butterfly
 
5.0
"My Fate According to the Butterfly is probably the first Middle Grade novel I’ve read in a very long time...."
Truly Madly Royally
 
3.0
"I’d be lying if I didn’t say that half of the reason why I read this was because it’s a..."
The Rough Patch
 
5.0
"In THE ROUGH PATCH, Evan's best friend is his dog, and they do everything together. Author and illustrator Brian Lies..."
How to Be a Cat
 
5.0
"HOW TO BE A CAT is an elegant book of verbs. Two cats give actions throughout their day, including scratch,..."
Sunny's Tow Truck Saves the Day!
 
5.0
"SUNNY'S TOW TRUCK SAVES THE DAY! is a delightful picture book about a family on their way to picnic who..."
TBH, IDK What's Next (TBH, #4)
 
4.5
"TBH, IDK WHAT'S NEXT follows four best friends over their summer before seventh grade. They are all determined to have..."
Finding Esme
 
3.3
"Esme feels alone. Her much-loved grandfather died, her dad deserted the family, her mom has mentally checked out, and her..."
House of Salt and Sorrows
 
4.3
"Annaleigh just wanted to be in charge of the lighthouse close to her island home. Rumors circulate on the island..."
Five Little Pumpkins on Halloween Night
 
5.0
"FIVE LITTLE PUMPKINS ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT is a cute board book that celebrates Halloween with a counting of pumpkins! In..."
Wreck: A Novel
 
4.3
"WRECK is a heart-wrenching story about a teenage girl on the brink of college as she discovers her father's life-altering..."
The Madman of Piney Woods
 
4.0
"THE MADMAN OF PINEY WOODS follows two young boys in Canada as their lives are changing and intersecting. Benji Alston..."
Wintercake
 
4.0
"WINTERCAKE is a lovely picture book that celebrates friendship and the holiday spirit. Thomas is about to make a wintercake..."
Roar Like a Dandelion
 
4.0
"A unique alphabet book, ROAR LIKE A DANDELION is filled with instructional that are sure to spark some giggles. Each..."
The Bear and the Star
 
4.5
"THE BEAR AND THE STAR is an elegant, Christmas-style book. Bear knows that it is time and so he finds..."