Thank you Lisa, for participating in my interview. I am excited to showcase your latest novel, ‘Lost Stars.’ You state in your bio that you “write about anything that’s interesting and gives me an opportunity to learn.” What gave you the opportunity to lean in ‘Lost Stars?’

Thanks so much for having me and showcasing Lost Stars!

When I was in my teens, in pre-Internet days, my mother and stepfather would have people over for dinner and at some point during the night they’d break out the Oxford English Dictionary and start looking words up—this makes my family sound way more wholesome than it was. This was crazy nerdy, but I think it instilled in me a curiosity about where things come from, beginning with the origins of words themselves, since that’s one of the things the OED chronicles. I just love to look stuff up. And I find when I’m writing that I’m curious about things I didn’t even know I was curious about—the name of a style of music or a particular region of the world or the difference between a meteor and a meteorite. There are so many gaps in my knowledge and education, but I’m perpetually curious and, luckily, don’t have to rely on just one book to satisfy my curiosity, thanks to the internet.

One of the things that has perpetually fascinated me is the night sky. I never had religion to provide me with the story of how we got here and why we’re here, and my science education was terrible, so this project was an opportunity to immerse myself in the story of the stars, and especially in comets. When I was working on the book one night I randomly put the show Cosmos on. Amazingly, it was all about Halley’s comet, which was already a part of my story. And the story behind the discovery of the comet was as intriguing as the trajectory of the comet itself.

I also learned a lot of song lyrics, and a lot about plants—who knew wild parsnip was dangerous?—and building footbridges. In fact, I watched several videos about how to build footbridges so I’d sound authoritative when writing about it—yes, there are many videos of footbridge-building on the internet!

You have a very prolific writing career as a journalist, what made you decide to write a Young Adult novel about loss and relationships?

It wasn’t exactly a decision. First I told a story, live at The Moth storytelling contest, about a youth conservation corps job I had the summer I was sixteen, and how that led to my first love. Then I turned that into an essay that was published in The New York Times. Then two things happened: my husband’s best friend, a novelist, said, “You know this is a young adult novel, right?” and an agent contacted me and said, “You should turn this into a novel.” Can’t argue with that!

I had written one adult novel many years before, and had always been interested in YA. The minute I started this book, it just came tumbling out in its fictionalized form. I realized that this was the right space for me, that in fact I very much wanted to write Young Adult fiction.

Can you discuss the message you are trying to convey with ‘Lost Stars’ and the impact you hope it has on readers?

While the protagonist of Lost Stars, Carrie, has suffered far more traumatic events than I did, my teenage years were mostly misery, punctuated by moments of extreme joy that I shared with my friends, who were two and three years older than I was. I was depressed, lonely, and angry, and always around those emotions was a veneer of shame. I could not shake the shame. I think part of the message is that shame doesn’t have to define us—if people love us, they can see past our mistakes and misdeeds. But Carrie’s salvation doesn’t come just when someone loves her for who she really is. It comes when she gets to be her real self, someone who doesn’t actually like partying and pretending she’s not intellectual. She wants to get along with her family, and she wants to forgive herself and others, and when she does, she finally sets on a path toward a kind of freedom. 

While reading some of your articles I noticed your flair for vocabulary, in fact, I had to look up a word or two, which I appreciate. Do you have a favorite word or words that you like to use?

What a great question! And I really want to know what words you had to look up.

Well, as you now know, my parents used to look stuff up in the dictionary for fun! And my friend and I used to keep a notebook and write down any new words we learned and bring them to each other at work; we made a conscious effort to increase our vocabulary. Though the only word I remember learning then was “churlish,” which means rude. And I never found it fit to include that word in anything I’ve written, maybe because it’s just too uncommonly used.

I don’t use big words gratuitously, but I do like to play with language, and I like to strive for precision and economy in language. I studied a lot of astronomy words for Lost Stars, and what fascinated me was how many of those words have found a place in our everyday vocabulary. Radiant, in fact, means the point at which light originates. As an adjective it means shining or glowing, but as a noun it’s the origin of light, which I love.  And, as a bonus: I’ve always loved the word deciduous.

What’s next for you, as far as writing?

Another book, I really hope! I’m working on something that I’m really excited about and love, and I hope others will feel the same!


 

About_the_book

I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Q&A with Author Lisa Selin Davis + Giveaway

Lost Stars by Lisa Selin Davis

Published by HMH Books for Young Readers on October 4th 2016
ISBN: 0544785061
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 288
5 Stars

Before her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone, sixteen-year-old Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands (not science), and party hard.
Fed up with Carrie’s behavior, her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. Carrie actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie—astrophysics obsessions and all—she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be.




Find it: AmazonBarnes & NobleiBooksGoodreads

Before her older sister, Ginny, died, Carrie was a science nerd, obsessively tracking her beloved Vira comet. But now that Ginny is gone, sixteen-year-old Carrie finds herself within the orbit of Ginny’s friends, a close-knit group of seniors who skip school, obsess over bands (not science), and party hard.

Fed up with Carrie’s behavior, her father enrolls her in a summer work camp at a local state park. Carrie actually likes the days spent in nature. And when she meets Dean, a guy who likes the real Carrie—astrophysics obsessions and all—she starts to get to the heart of who she is and who she wants to be. 

Praise for LOST STARS

“A moving real-life problem novel…Fans of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park and Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower will dig this book.”—School Library Journal

“Lost Stars is a novel for anyone who’s every grappled with their own place in the universe.” —PopSugar, Best YA of 2016

“Davis makes the 1980s shine…[and] makes interesting connections between science and teen angst.”—Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

About Lisa Selin Davis

I'm super crazy excited to have my first YA novel, Lost Stars, come out in October 2016. I also have a novel for grownups called Belly, published by Little, Brown a few years ago. For the last 12 years or so, I've paid my rent by writing articles for The New York Times, Time, The Wall Street Journal and a zillion other publications. Before that I worked in film and TV, doing props and other art department jobs, including a four-year stint making props for Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues. I live in Brooklyn (but, hey, I moved here before it was cool) with my hubby, two kiddos and our kitty.

Giveaway Deets:

  • 3 winners will receive a finished copy of LOST STARS, US Only.

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Tour Schedule:

Week One:

9/26/2016- Adventures of a Book Junkie– Interview

9/27/2016- 125Pages– Review

9/28/2016- Tales of the Ravenous Reader– Guest Post

9/29/2016- The Phantom Paragrapher– Review

9/30/2016- Parajunkee– Interview

Week Two:

10/3/2016- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review

10/4/2016- Literary Meanderings– Guest Post

10/5/2016- YA Book Madness– Review

10/6/2016- The Cover Contessa– Interview

10/7/2016- Lady Amber’s Reviews & PR– Review

1 Comment

  1. KM

    I’m seriously looking forward to this book. <3