Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Interview & Review: If He Had Been With Me by Laura Nowlin

Please welcome author, Laura Nowlin who is promoting her new book, If He Had Been With Me.  Enjoy her interview after my thoughts about the book.

Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Date of Publication: April 2013

If he had been with me, he wouldn't have died.

Throughout their whole childhood, Finn and Autumn were inseparable—they finished each other's sentences, they knew just what to say when the other person was hurting. But one incident in middle school puts them in separate social worlds come high school, and Autumn has been happily dating James for the last 2 years. But she's always wondered what if...

The night she's about to get the answer is also one of terrible tragedy.

My thoughts:   
I'll start by saying that If He Had Been With Me is well written and compelling.  From the beginning of the book, you know that there is a tragedy ahead so the events in the end aren't much of a surprise. The characters were interesting and I thought the author gave a pretty good glimpse into teenage angst, rivalry, depression and heartbreak.  
Having said all of that, I ultimately didn't really enjoy the book and was left with a very empty feeling in the end.  I thought the book was depressing.  I kind of felt cheated because the ending was so abrupt with no clear resolution or a sense that things would be OK.  I'm not a fan of open ended endings.  I didn't like that I went through that entire journey with Autumn only to have to make up in my own mind how she would end up.  I also didn't really feel the connection between Autumn and Finny that I think I was supposed to feel in the end.  I felt like there wasn't enough of them together in the book for me to see it. 

I think this is going to be a book that people will either love or not.  It has gotten rave reviews, so I think it is one that you should read and see for yourself. It would definitely make for good book group discussions. 
In the end, it just wasn't for me.

Interview with Laura:

Kari& Autumn: What inspired you to become a writer?

Laura: I intensely loved reading as a child. I adored going into other worlds and being another person for a little while. As an adolescent I discovered that writing my own stories was an even more intense experience. Basically, I’m a writer because I’m hooked on it; I just can’t help myself.

Kari& Autumn: Where do you come up with the ideas for your books?

Laura: I dreamed the ending of If He had Been with Me. I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “I need to write a story that ends like this.” When there is a story I need to write it’s like my brain has gotten snagged on a thought, and writing about it is the only way to get it out of my head.

Kari& Autumn: What exciting projects are waiting in the wings?

Laura: Right now I am working out on a few different projects, none of which are under contract, so I don’t really know what’s going to come out when. I promise you with absolute certainty though, there is going to be more from me!

Kari& Autumn: Who is your favorite literary character and why?

Laura: I am going to say Frances Glass from J.D. Salinger’s Franny and Zooey, for the simple egotistical reason that I deeply identify with her character, in both her strengths and especially her flaws.

Kari& Autumn: Just for fun, if you could be any animal, what would it be and why?

Laura: This question is actually very close to my heart, because desperately wish that I could turn into a house cat for a week. Or maybe for a month even. I would love to alternate between periods mania over bits of string and languid naps in the sunshine.

About the author:
Laura Nowlin holds a B.A. in English with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Missouri State University. Her short stories have appeared in The Moon City Review and STEM. In addition to being ambitious writer Laura is also an avid reader who believes that books allow her to live many lives in one lifetime. When she isn’t at home agonizing over her own novels Laura works at the public library where the patrons give her plenty of inspiration for her writing. She lives in St. Louis with her musician husband, neurotic dog, and psychotic cat.

 Twitter: Laura_Nowlin

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