Meg Rosoff answers our questions about her sixth novel for young adults, The Great Godden (Bloomsbury), which is shortlisted for the YA Book Prize 2021.
1. Can you sum up your book in one sentence?
Idyllic summer interrupted by more sex than love.
2. What inspired the book?
I grew up having summers on the beach off Cape Cod and the feeling I have for those long lazy, childhood and teenage months (full of longing and angst as well as sunshine) will never leave me.
3. Which character in the book is your favourite, and why?
The obvious answer might be the narrator, but I’m going to say Alex, because he’s the character least impressed by the beautiful, charming Kit Godden.
4. What does being on this year’s YA Book Prize shortlist mean to you?
It’s always amazing to emerge blinking from the cave of writing and find that someone thinks your book is special. That it’s The Bookseller’s prize makes it feel quite a bit more special.
5. What's the best thing about writing for young adults?
It helps me sort through some of the questions I’ve been thinking about my entire life. Like why do we fall in love with one person and not another. And how do you figure out how to live a life.
6. What was your favourite book as a teenager?
The favourite book question always gives me a panic attack. A Wrinkle in Time was one of them. Also Kon Tiki, and all the James Bond books. Anything about horses. And Waiting For Godot(!)
7. What is your top writing tip?
Don’t be in a hurry.
8. What songs would be on a playlist for your book?
"Here Comes the Sun" by Jacob Collier, "Mad World" by Gary Jules and "Perfect Day" by Lou Reed.
9. Who would you cast in a film version of your book?
I think I might call a casting agent.
10. Which book, film or TV show would you recommend to someone who enjoyed your book?
"I May Destroy You" was my binge watch of the year. It was incredibly disturbing but so beautifully done. And ultimately optimistic.
You can find out more about The Great Godden and Meg Rosoff, and read the first chapter of the book for free, on the YA Book Prize website.
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