5 cool facts about me:
- I’m a writer. Check out photo on the right. That’s me in second grade. You can see why I ruled out being a model.
- I’ve written a young adult book called The Quiet Room.
- They are wrong about those who can’t do teach. Those who really can’t do keep going to school, like, forever. That would be me. I have an embarrassing number of graduate degrees when all along I really wanted to write young adult and children’s books, which I finally learned how to do at the Vermont College of Fine Arts.
- Vermont College of Fine Arts is like boot camp except with pens. I am so proud to say I will graduate from VCFA in July 2017. I am also proud to say I won my most favorite award while at school, The Nutshell Short Story Award. I know it sounds like I’m from the squirrel family, but I’m still proud.
- Speaking of animals, we have dogs in our family. Two border collies and two Shetland sheepdogs. If you visit, they will herd you like a sheep. You will start feeling sheepish.
5 cool facts about you:
I think 5 is too limiting when it comes to you, don’t you?
The Quiet Room
The Quiet Room takes place in a psychiatric ward,
which is the last place Jamie Osborne ever thought she’d find herself.
Junior year has been a big one for Jamie
New town, new boyfriend
She watches her mom’s drinking spin out of control
And so does the family car that night in the rain…
Question and Answer:
Q: Your latest book is young adult, The Quiet Room. Can you tell us a little about that?
A: I’d love to. The Quiet Room is about a girl named Jamie Osborne who is literally fighting for her life in a psychiatric ward after a tragic accident involving her family. Jamie has been keeping a secret. The secret is that her mom drinks. The question is: how much will that secret cost her?
Q: What prompted you to write the book?
A: I wrote The Quiet Room to give voice to my adolescent self, and in that way to give voice to kids who feel deep shame about the drinking going on back in their houses which only pretend to be homes. There are so many lies you have to keep.
A: Yes. When you have a drinking parent, when you love that parent, you want to keep the drinking private. That means your life basically becomes a charade. You have to act happy when you’re not. It’s very painful.
Q: How did you illustrate that pain in your story?
A: Well, I took out my Crayola crayons and… ha! Seriously, I illustrate the collateral damage of drinking through Jamie. Jamie falls in love. Really in love with this wonderful boy named Fitz. Jamie and Fitz share everything, except the one, the most important thing: Fitz doesn’t know Jamie’s mother has a drinking problem, and Jamie can’t tell him. Fitz is an only child whose father left him when he was nine. Over time, Fitz comes to think that Jamie has the perfect family he never had. And Jamie’s lie just gets bigger and bigger. We know she’s going to be found out. And we know this will hurt Fitz, and their relationship.
Q: In The Quiet Room, does the mother die?
A: That’s one of the bigger mysteries in the book. The tragic accident in the rain involves Jamie, Jamie’s younger brother Charlie, and their mother. Jamie feels so guilty about her part in the accident, she tries to kill herself, afterwards. That suicide attempt lands her in the hospital.
Q: Are there any particular books you’ve read that inspired you?
A: Oh, definitely. The Quiet Room was inspired by Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Judith Guest’s Ordinary People. Both books ask the question: Is life worth living? In terms of romance, I’m a huge fan of Rainbow Rowell’s Eleanor & Park.
As to beautiful language, I cherish Louise Gluck’s poems from A Village Life. Her poem “Evening” just transports me. Plus, anything by Alice Hoffman, the great novelist. Her lyricism, her depth of feeling, splits me open. Alice Hoffman could write an ad for a toothpaste commercial, and I’m in.