Monday, April 12, 2021

Meg Rosoff Interview - The Great Godden

Photo Content from Meg Rosoff

Meg Rosoff grew up in a suburb of Boston and moved to London in 1989. She spent fifteen years working in advertising before writing her first novel, How I Live Now, which has sold more than a million copies in thirty-six territories. It won the Guardian Children’s Prize and the Printz Award in the US and was made into a film. Her subsequent eight novels have been awarded or shortlisted for, among others, the Carnegie Medal and the National Book Award. Her latest book is The Great Godden. Meg lives in London with her husband and two dogs.

Greatest thing you learned at school. 
The biggest liars usually turn out to be writers.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
After I got fired from my fifth job in advertising.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published. 
After I got a big advance for How I Live Now I followed my REAL dream and started riding horses. I rode nearly every day for ten years and, despite not having much native talent, it made me insanely happy.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book? 

Can you tell us when you started THE GREAT GODDEN, how that came about? 
The Great was the first and only book I ever gave up on. I couldn’t quite figure out why it wasn’t working, but it just felt dead. Then for no particular reason, I went back and reread it six years later, and I saw immediately what had gone wrong. The book suddenly worked. It was a real lesson in not fighting with your characters. They always win.

What part of Kit did you enjoy writing the most? 
How did you know that writing Kit was so much fun?! He’s the person you know is bad for you, rings every alarm bell, but is utterly irresistible. My editor said he’s a terrible example of the toxic narcissistic male, but really, he’s Just One Of Those Guys. We’ve all met one. I loved writing him as a seducer in plain sight. Nothing’s hidden – but you fall for it anyway.

  • Someone paid to have a character in one of my books named after her for a charity auction. When I finished the book, she decided she hated the character so I had to change the first name. She asked me to change Godden too. I said no.
  • I stole a lot from my teenage summers for The Great Godden, including a great deal of fooling around on the beach after dark with boys.
  • I can’t play tennis. I can’t even score tennis. My proof-reader wrote “are you kidding?” in the margin when I said the score was 45-40.
  • My next-door neighbor named her new baby Kit just as I started writing the book. I stole the name for my anti-hero without noticing.
  • Tamsin’s horse, Duke, is an actual horse called Duke, on whom I learned to jump.
  • Hugo is based on someone I know, but he’ll never recognize himself.
  • Alex is my favorite character.
  • I sent the manuscript to my agent with a note saying, “Is this even a book?”
  • There are 35 saved drafts of Godden on my computer. The first eight have the working title Summer Vacation.
  • My friend has a basset hound named Gomez.
Meet the Characters
I’m afraid I’m not at liberty to describe my main character as he/she won’t let me. I’m always very interested in how readers decide to define him/her though; they are often very adamant and want to know if they’re “right”.
My favorite quote from the book comes from the narrator, who says, “When people express nostalgia for youth, I always suspect they have inadequate recall.”

Your Journey to Publication
The Great Godden is my ninth novel (give or take). It’s really hard to interest your family and friends in your ninth novel. I imagine them all thinking, “Really? Another one? What is this, some kind of addiction?” When my daughter was eleven, I offered her £5 to read my latest book. My mother once said she didn’t need to read my last novel because she “pretty much got the gist of the writing by now.” The great thing about being a writer is that you develop quite a thick skin.

What is the first job you have had? 
I volunteered in the animal room at the Boston Museum of Science. I was bitten by every animal, including a gopher snake and a gopher.

Best date you've ever had? 
In my 20s, with a guy I adored. Going home at 3am in a taxi, Marlene Dietrich came on the radio singing “Falling in Love Again.” I thought this was a sign of huge cosmic significance. (He never called me again.)

What is the first thing you think of when you wake up in the morning? 

What is your most memorable travel experience? 
Mumbai was my idea of heaven.

Have you ever stood up for someone you hardly knew? 
My husband and I broke up a violent street fight once. I was nine months pregnant.

When you looked in the mirror first thing this morning, what was the first thing you thought? 
I’m convinced I’m 6’ and gorgeous so I tend to avoid mirrors.

What do you usually think about right before falling asleep? 
Where the hell my book is going wrong.

If you had to go back in time and change one thing, if you HAD to, even if you had “no regrets” what would it be? 
I would have spelled ‘liaison’ right on my first job application. For a job as a copyeditor.

First Love? 
My fifth-grade teacher.

First Heartbreak? 
Too many to fit on this page.

What is one unique thing are you afraid of? 
A hundred foot centipede.

What is the weirdest thing you have seen in someone else’s home? 
A live goat.

Everyone talks about falling in love like it’s the most miraculous, life-changing thing in the world. Something happens, they say, and you know …

That’s what happened when I met Kit Godden.

I looked into his eyes and I knew.

Only everyone else knew too. Everyone else felt exactly the same way.

This is the story of one family, one dreamy summer – the summer when everything changes. In a holiday house by the sea, our watchful narrator sees everything, including many things they shouldn’t, as their brother and sisters, parents and older cousins fill hot days with wine and games and planning a wedding. Enter two brothers – irresistible, charming, languidly sexy Kit and surly, silent Hugo. Suddenly there’s a serpent in this paradise – and the consequences will be devastating.

From Meg Rosoff, bestselling author of the iconic novel How I Live Now, comes a lyrical and quintessential coming-of-age tale – a summer book that’s as heady, timeless and irresistible as Bonjour Tristesse and The Greengage Summer.

You can purchase The Great Godden at the following Retailers:

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you MEG ROSOFF for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of The Great Godden by Meg Rosoff.

1 comment:

  1. "What would I find in your refrigerator right now?" Two very large thawed frozen lasagnes.