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An Interview with Jennifer Gold

August 14, 2014 | Christine | Comments (2) Facebook Twitter More...

Soldier Doll by Jennifer Gold coverJennifer Gold, author of Soldier Doll, took some time this summer to answer a few questions with me about her book, her writing process, and the works that have inspired her. Here is what she shared:

1. What inspired you to write Soldier Doll?
I was at the Jewish Museum in Prague with my husband about a year or so before our first child was born. There was an exhibit of children’s art from the Terezin concentration camp, and one of the characters in Soldier Doll, Eva, popped into my mind. It took two years from that point before I had fully fleshed out the idea in my mind and started to write. 
 
2. How did you come up with the title?
Actually, I initially called it The Soldier Doll, but my publisher suggested dropping the "The," which was probably a wise decision. Mark Zuckerberg dropped "The" from Facebook and it’s definitely worked for him!
 
3. What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting the different voices to line up in terms of audience. My novel is set in both the present and different periods of the past involving war, so a big issue was that some parts felt more middle grade, other parts felt YA, and others were entirely adult. It took a lot of work to ensure the characters and their voices were suitable for a YA audience.
 
4. When did you start writing?
I've always been a writer in one way or another. I won a short story contest sponsored by Lipton's soup when I was nine, but for a long time after finishing grade school I didn't  write any fiction. In the back of my mind, though, I always dreamed of writing a novel. When I was on maternity leave with my son, I decided I would finally give it a go.
 
5. Who is your favourite author and how do they inspire you?
This is a tough one! There are so many amazing authors out there who I admire, but I'd have to say Meg Rosoff. When I read How I Live Now I  was just blown away by not just the voice and the story but the fantastic writing style. Since then I've made an extra effort to work on not just writing a great story but crafting beautiful sentences as well.
 
6. Have you ever suffered from writer’s block?
I haven't in the traditional sense that I sit and stare panicked at a blank screen, but I do experience what I call "writer's fatigue." This usually happens about halfway through a manuscript when I start to get a bit sick of my characters and worry the plot is going nowhere. What usually helps is to take a break and come back to it with fresh eyes.
 
7. What is your favourite subject to write about?
It's a tie between contemporary YA and historical fiction. I really enjoy the research that goes in to writing something that takes place in another time, and the world-building involved is fun and satisfying as a writer. For contemporary, I love writing snarky dialogue and creating scenes that involve humor. 
 
8. What books have had the most impact on your life?
There are so many books I love, but these are probably the ones that I still go back to re-read once a year or so:
The Chrysalids (John Wyndham)
How I Live Now (Meg Rosoff)
The Time-Traveler's Wife (Audrey Niffenegger)
The Historian (Elizabeth Kostova)
 
9. What books are you reading right now?
Year of Wonders (Geraldine Brooks)
Maggot Moon (Sally Gardner)
 
10. Final question: if you had to choose, cake or pie? What kind?
There's only one proper answer to this question, and that's cake. Chocolate cake, dense and moist, with a fluffy vanilla buttercream or chocolate fudge icing.

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