Author Interview: Marit Weisenberg
How did you come up with the idea behind your book?
For Select, I had a “vision” of what became the scene at Barton Springs, the famous public pool in Austin, TX. I imagined a large group of beautiful, almost identical-looking teenagers together emerging in this public space and people using their phones to take photos of them because of how unusual they all appear together. From there, I thought, what if there had been rumors about these people? What if they’re a local urban myth and everyone is excited to have an actual sighting and the photos are their proof?
Where did inspiration from the book come from?
I was visiting Los Angeles and outside of a dry cleaner, I saw this woman with her family. She was wearing sheer white pants and a sheer white top and she was such a vision. Before I could comment, my friend who was with me said, “Everyone in LA looks like they’re from a dream.” I loved that idea – that there are these people walking among us who are almost otherworldly.
How do you go about creating such vivid characters?
Some feel like they are born whole. They might still not be easy to write, but they come to me and feel I like I know them instantly. Others take so much longer and a lot of preliminary work such as thinking about all little details of their lives: whether they keep their room neat or messy, what their favorite color is, what they would do if… Some characters also have aspects of people I’ve met. Or, in my head, I can hear them say a line just like it’s been said to me before!
What was the biggest difference or challenge you found writing YA?
Not second-guessing myself about writing the “right” voice and characters since I’m not a teenager anymore. I try to keep telling myself that some of the basics about being young don’t change that much from generation to generation. First love, the feeling of being left out, jealousy, parental expectations.
What is your writing routine like?
I wake up at 5am every morning and write until about 6:30am. Then I get my two daughters off to school and try to get back to it as fast as I can because I’m such a morning person rather than a night person. If I have a really challenging scene that requires a lot of deep thinking, 5am is when I have the best chance of cracking it. I feel so safe when it’s dark and quiet and I can think really clearly!
What authors inspired you to write?
My friend’s grandmother, Anne Emery, was a huge inspiration for me. She was a prolific author who wrote books for teenage girls in the 1950s and 1960s. When I was in middle school, I heard about how Anne Emery, mother of five, would wake up at 4am to write. This weird voice in my head said, that’s what I want to do. I recognized something I liked about her system. I don’t have five children though!
Rainbow Rowell also inspired me. When I read Eleanor and Park, I was so moved and so in love with young adult fiction.
Who is your favorite author? And why do you write?
E.B. White gets the award for my all-time favorite author. His essays are amazing and his children’s books are perfection with their keen and sometimes heartbreaking observations about adults and children. I recently reread Trumpet of the Swan and Stuart Little and I can never get over how much wonder and beauty and humor are in his stories.
I write because I want to create characters and do my best to bring them to life. I think about unforgettable characters who have lived large in my mind, some since I was a child, and I can’t imagine life without them. It’s not easy (that’s an understatement) but just the possibility gets me so excited.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That the subconscious oddly knows what it’s doing. There’s a moment when the pieces of the story come together and it is such a beautiful thing. Somehow your writer’s brain knew the story and was laying a foundation and in an instant, it becomes clear.
Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I do hear from them! It’s usually: when is book two coming out?!
About The Book: Select
A modern-day Romeo and Juliet with a supernatural twist that will appeal to fans of Ally Condie (Matched) and Kiera Cass (The Selection).
Julia Jaynes has the perfect life. The perfect family. The perfect destiny. The daughter of a billionaire investor in Austin, Texas, it looks like Julia has it all. But there’s something rotten beneath the surface‒dangerous secrets her father is keeping; abilities she was never meant to have; and an elite society of highly evolved people who care nothing for the rest of humanity. So when Julia accidentally jeopardizes the delicate anonymity of her people, she’s banished to the one place meant to make her feel inferior: public high school.
Julia’s goal is to lay low and blend in. Then she meets him‒John Ford. He’s popular, quiet, intense, and strangely compelling. Then Julia discovers she can read his mind and her world expands. Their forbidden love is powerful enough to break the conditioning that has kept Julia in the cold grip of her manipulative father. For the first time, Julia develops a sense of self and questions her restrictive upbringing and her family prejudices. She must decide how she will define herself—and whom she will betray.
About The Author
Marit Weisenberg has a master’s degree from UCLA in Cinema and Media Studies and worked as a film and television executive for a number of years in Los Angeles. She currently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and two daughters. Select is Marit’s debut novel for young adult readers.