As promised on Friday, Augusta Scattergood, who reviewed Moon Over Manifest for us, is back with an interview from the the author, Clare Vanderpool!
Thank you, Clare Vanderpool, for agreeing to speak to us here at THE 3 R's: READING, 'RITING & RESEARCH.
Congratulations on the amazing award. Your fellow lovers, writers and readers of historical fiction are very proud!
Can you share some of the books that made you fall in love with reading when you were young? The books you read so intently that you walked into those telephone poles? And we love this image because we’ve all been there!
A Wrinkle in Time, Island of the Blue Dolphins, Little House on the Prairie, Anne of Green Gables, Charlotte’s Web, Half Magic. These are all great books for walking into telephone poles… so be careful!
I noticed from your book jacket bio that you enjoy reading historical fiction. Are there books in the genre you’ve read recently that you particularly loved?
I recently read Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm. And a while back I read Crows and Cards by Joseph Helgerson. This was kind of a Tom Sawyer, river boat story. I also loved Richard Peck’s A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder.
Was there a part of Moon Over Manifest that drove the writer in you crazy? For example, anything big that got left out of the book in the end, or ended up being your favorite part after much writer hair-pulling?
Nothing really drove me crazy, but sometimes it seemed like I’d never really finish the book. The story was just so layered that I went back through it many times to make sure the different characters’ voices were consistent, that my timeline was accurate, that the various threads of the story pulled together in the end. I created a master checklist that listed every chapter, Hattie Mae column, letter from Ned, etc. and would use that same checklist over and each time I went back through the manuscript. I also used lots of post-it notes to mark places that I needed to come back to and add little brushstrokes or bits of information to the story. Every little detail mattered. It was a great relief to me when there were no more post-it notes stuck throughout the pages.
What drew you to this particular place and especially these two time periods-1936 and 1917?
I’m a very nostalgic person and I like imagining myself in another place and time. The town of Manifest is based on the real town of Frontenac , Kansas. My mother’s parents are from that area in southeast Kansas. As I did the research for the story, I learned how rich and colorful the history was in that part of the state. And there seemed to be a natural connection between 1936 and 1917. During hard times (like the Depression), I think people tend to harken back to a time they remember to be simpler and happier. Both time periods had plenty of difficult things going on. Drought and economic crisis in 1936. World War I and the Spanish Influenza in 1917-18. So there was plenty of history to draw from for both storylines.
Since many of our blog readers read and/ or write historical fiction, do you have any great tips to share about your writing process or your research techniques?
I love doing research. As I said, I’m a very nostalgic person and I love delving into the past. Newspapers, yearbooks, graveyards, the History Channel. These are all great avenues for learning about other times and places. I spent a lot of time looking at microfilm in the library of old newspapers from 1936 and 1918. This can add a lot of authenticity and flavor to a historical novel. And it’s fun!
(Joyce here) Thanks Augusta, for coming bringing Clare to The 3 Rs!
And thank you, Clare for taking time from a truly busy schedule to grant this interview. I loved reading your update to your website - the one that explains a bit of life after winning the Newbery. I've often wondered how one copes with the aftermath of winning a major award. Now I know - with a healthy dose of humor!
For more from Augusta Scattergood, visit her blog at http://ascattergood.blogspot.com/ .