October 23, 2015
Hello readers and welcome to our Tour Stop for
We Are All Made of Molecules by Susin Nielsen!
We are so excited to have Susin on the blog today for a quick Q&A!
Be sure to enter the giveaway found at the end of the post!
Thirteen-year-old Stewart is academically brilliant but socially clueless.
Fourteen-year-old Ashley is the undisputed “It” girl in her class, but her grades stink.
Their worlds are about to collide when Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom. Stewart is trying to be 89.9 percent happy about it, but Ashley is 110 percent horrified. She already has to hide the real reason her dad moved out; “Spewart” could further threaten her position at the top of the social ladder.
They are complete opposites. And yet, they have one thing in common: they—like everyone else—are made of molecules.
“Thanks so much for taking the time and spending time with us here at Chapter by Chapter!
It’s my pleasure to be here, thanks for having me!
Describe your book in 140 characters or less (like a Tweet)
13 year old Stewart and 14 year old Ashley are polar opposites. They’re also about to move in together – a blended family. It’s not gonna go well.
(by the way, I cheated. I think that was four characters over).
What was your inspiration for writing this book? Was it in a dream? A thought while taking a walk?
I don’t remember the exact moment I had the idea, but I’d already explored the fallout of divorce in a previous novel (“Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom”) and doing a book about a blended family seemed like a natural progression. It all comes from events in my own life; my parents divorced shortly after I was born, Dad remarried soon afterward, I have half-siblings – then, years later, my mom remarried, to a man who has four kids. I remember selfishly thinking, “Thank God I’m already out of the house, because I would have run away!” The thought of suddenly having to share my space, and my mom, with FOUR other kids – it was a truly nightmarish thought!
Tell us about the main character(s).
13 year old Stewart is academically gifted, socially not so much. But he’s a really lovely young man. His mom died two years before the story opens, and his dad has fallen in love with a woman at work. They’re about to move in with her and her daughter Ashley. Stewart is trying to be positive; he wants his dad to be happy. But he’s worried about leaving behind the house they’ve lived in for his whole life, and leaving behind his mom’s molecules, which he knows still roam the house.
Ashley is 14, socially very adept, academically not at all. On the surface she is really the typical mean girl; her social status means everything to her. She speaks in malapropisms. Her dad announced he was gay a year and a half ago and moved out. She is grappling with that, and what it all means – did he ever really love them, or was that a lie, too? She is furious that their house is about to be “invaded” by a new boyfriend for mom and his “freakazoid” son.
Do you have a favorite quote or specific part in the book that you really love?
I do like it when Stewart tries to explain the fact that we’re all made of molecules to Ashley. I do like Ashley’s malapropisms, like “unconstipated.” I liked trying to explore “the mean girl;” I have a great deal of sympathy for Ashley, perhaps because I was rather like her! (minus the good looks and the good fashion sense, plus a bit more smarts). And I do love, when I go into schools, reading aloud the scene with Stewart in the change room at Borden Secondary for the first time, when he notices the other boys have “you know whats that actually dangle” – largely just to see the reactions from some of the teachers. J It’s a bit naughty of me.
Was there a specific part in the book that you had an especially difficult time writing? If so, why?
Oh, sure. I can answer this two different ways. First of all, I always find middles hard. I usually love writing the first fifty pages or so, and the last fifty pages ‘cos I know I’m in the home stretch and I know where I’m going. The middle, though – ugh! I often don’t really know yet just how the story will unfold. It’s the really heavy lifting.
In terms of emotionally difficult, I did find writing two particular scenes hard; the ones where Ashley is on the verge of being sexually assaulted. I had something rather similar happen to me when I was 14 (similar to the second scene, a boy taking liberties when I was passed out drunk – fortunately for me it was a time before cell phones); but it was tamped down so deep, I didn’t even remember it until I was working on that scene.
What sort of projects do you have going on right now. Any new books coming out?
Yes, I’m working on another novel; it’s supposed to come out in Spring 2017. And I just wrote a picture book! Not sure what will happen with that, but it was awfully fun to do.
It was great having you on the blog today! We hope you’ll decide to stop by again someday, and we wish you much success!!
Thank you! I love the world of passionate book bloggers, and appreciate the invite.
Complete the Rafflecopter below for a chance to win!