The poster responds with quotations from, the Tony Hawk autobiography that Sam has read 40 or 50 times and has largely memorized.
In the past, Hawk’s responses have been helpful (if not always entirely on topic), but when Sam finds out that his ex-girlfriend is pregnant, Hawk’s advice doesn’t seem to help quite as much as Sam wishes it would.
The fact that it wasn’t just the teenage mum of urban legend—that there was a boy there as well—kind of took me by surprise. Does it start with a situation that takes hold of your imagination? I think that all my books have started with a situation, some kind of fragment of narrative.
Sometimes I can sense that there’s something to it that might develop into something more, and other times it’s just what it is and there’s nothing you can do with it. Did you treat him differently as a narrator because he was an adolescent?
At the end of our interview, he asked where I was from, and when I replied that I was from Boston, he immediately intuited my conflict.
He knew the Sox were playing that night, and he quickly and generously gave me a dispensation. On this tour I’ve been dealing with the people who run the young-adult sections of bookstores and libraries, and they have their own particular favorites. In this same That’s a complicated question with a complicated answer.
Did you find it difficult not to want to make your teenage character “do the right thing” under harsh circumstances because you knew that adolescents were going to be reading it? If a kid read and decided that he didn’t particularly want a baby at age 16, I wouldn’t think that was a bad thing, but that wasn’t the intention of writing the book.
Like I’m sucking up to them—Or that there should be a lesson or a moral. In all the books, I’m looking for situations where ordinary people living relatively ordinary lives get bent out of shape by something quite momentous.
It’s certainly about a teen, and I would hope that teens would read it, but I’d also hope that if I had written the book about somebody who lived in Alaska, somebody other than Alaskans would read it as well. Pretty much all the books I’ve discovered I’ve written about in From writers? It’s turned novels into something they were never meant to be.
In your recent “Stuff I’ve Been Reading” column in , you write, “I see now that dismissing YA books because you’re not a young adult is a little bit like refusing to watch thrillers on the grounds that you’re not a policeman or a dangerous criminal, and as a consequence, I’ve discovered a previously ignored room at the back of the bookstore that’s filled with masterpieces I’ve never heard of.” Why do you think you had dismissed them? They’re read by very few people and talked about by very few people, while vast swathes of the population are kind of vaguely repelled by them. On some level doesn’t a novel have to involve narrative?