Book Nerd Interview
Photo courtesy of Chelsea Hadley
What’s one thing that readers would be surprised to find out about you?
Probably that I’m a big fan of television. I know writers are supposed to say that TV is bad for you, but I find that some of the very best story telling around happens on television.
Beyond your own work (of course), what is your all-time favorite book and why? And what is your favorite book outside of your genre?
To Kill a Mockingbird is hands down my favorite book of all time. I read it every ten years or so and it continues to astonish me each time. It’s a perfect book.
What is the best piece of advice you ever received from another author?
To have something you’re proud of--a turn a phrase, a word choice-- on every page of your manuscript.
In your book; We are the Goldens, can you tell my Book Nerd community a little about it?
It’s about two sisters who are exceedingly close and what happens when one starts to pull away from the other. It’s about the power of secrets. Inchoate morality. What are your duties to the people you love. When is it defensible to betray that person’s trust. It’s about growing up as the children of divorce in a world of privilege. I guess it’s about a lot of stuff.
For those who are unfamiliar with Nell, how would you introduce her?
Nell is someone who is starting to live outside of her sister’s shadow even though she’s pretty content to stay put. She’s smart and loyal and a little bit naïve.
What are some of your current and future projects that you can share with us?
I’m thisclose to finishing a first draft of a new YA novel I’m super excited about, but since I haven’t even told my editor about it yet it feels strange to talk about it here. It’s a romantic comedy I guess, but I’m pretty bad at categorizing my own books.
If you could introduce one of your characters to any character from another book, who would it be and why?
Atticus Finch. Who wouldn’t benefit from sitting down and getting schooled by Atticus Finch?
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating Layla?
I’m not sure if I’d call it surprising, because this is something I already knew, but in writing Layla I was constantly struck by how easy it is to tell ourselves the narratives we want to hear, how easily we toss aside the truth.
When asked, what’s the one question you always answer with a lie?
One of my character flaws is that I find it difficult to lie when a lie is the easy and even the kind answer, like when my kids show me their artwork and ask me what I think of it. Obviously the only right answer is: great! Buy I often hear myself saying: It’s okay…
What's the most memorable summer job you've ever had?
I started waiting tables when I was 14 and it was illegal to wait tables. My boss paid me cash at the end of each shift. I felt so incredibly rich that summer. It was a small diner where part of his shtick was humiliating his wait staff publicly and at full volume. So the added bonus to all that cash was the early development of thick skin.
Who was your first boyfriend?
Chris Hill. He was flat out adorable. I haven’t seen him since I was about 16 and I have no idea if he’s still adorable because he possesses a totally un-Google-able name. There’s something lovely about the way he lives forever in my memory exactly as he was.
Tell me about your first kiss
I grew up in LA so it only fits that my first kiss was with the son of a famous movie star. He had braces—the son, not the movie star. It was during a game of spin the bottle. I think I was in fifth grade.
What would be harder for you, to tell someone you love them or that you do not love them back?
Definitely the latter. I don’t find it hard to say I love you. Just ask my dog. I tell her probably 10 times a day.
When was the last time you cried?
I cry anywhere from 1 to 3 times during each episode of Parenthood. The last time I watched an episode was about a week ago. So… a week ago. I think I cried twice.
What decade during the last century would you have chosen to be a teenager?
The 1960’s. It would have been exciting to grow up feeling like an agent of change. Being a teenager in the era of Ronald Reagan was not particularly interesting politically.
What is your greatest adventure?
Parenthood. Not the television show, but the real thing. It’s a trip. Every cliché about it is true.
Where can readers stalk you?
I walk my dog in Golden Gate Park every day. Or maybe it’s just easier to find me at danareinhardt.net. I post sporadically on Facebook and Twitter. And I’m on Instagram, but mostly to stalk my daughter.
When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellayla. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They're a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell's a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she's happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it's wrong, and she must do something about it.