Interview with Laura Harrington!

Laura Harrington is the author of Alice Bliss-a coming-of-age story about a small-town packed with emotion. Following the subjects of war and love- and I am so excited to be able to ask the author some questions while I'm reading this book.

 When did you first decide that you wanted to become an author?
I know it sounds crazy, but I remember dreaming about being a writer from the time I was 6 or 7. My mother loved books and was an avid reader. Getting my first library card was a big deal. Falling in love with reading is probably what made me want to be a writer.

What inspires you?
The world around me, especially the ocean. Other writers. Peace activists. Teachers. Horses. 

What are/were your favourite books?
As a child I loved the Narnia series, Marguerite Henry's books about Chincoteague ponies, beginning with Misty of Chincoteague. In college I fell in love with W.B.Yeats, Virginia Woolf, all of the romantic poets.When my daughter was little I got to re-connect to favorite books by reading aloud: Paul Gallico's The Snow Goose, The Secret Garden, At the Back of the Northwind, Charlotte's Web and Stuart Little by E.B.White. Right now I am a fan of Tim Winton's Cloudstreet, Hilary Mantel, Ben Fountain. I could go on and on.

Have you ever read a book and wished you were the author?
Great question! Cloudstreet. I admire the language, the boldness, the velocity, everything, really.

Could you tell us a bit about Alice Bliss?
Alice Bliss is a classic coming of age story about a 15 year old girl whose father is in the Reserves and deploys to Iraq. It tells the story of the war from the point of view of the families and children who are left behind.

What gave you the idea for Alice Bliss?
Being incredibly upset about being at war. Aware of the injustice of 1% of our population bearing the burden of fighting these wars while 99% of us have the luxury of living as though it is not happening.

And I wanted to write about those who are profoundly affected by war, but who we very rarely hear from - the children of servicemen and women.

In Alice Bliss, Alice's father leaves home for war which Alice doesn't believe in, have you ever been effected by War?
Before I was born my father was a navigator/ bombardier in WWII flying missions from France into Germany. When I was Alice's age both of my brothers enlisted. One of them went to Viet Nam. 

How did you handle these serious topics? 
I hope I handled them with truthfulness and sensitivity and in such a way as to honor those who serve.

Are there any points, people or places that reflect your personal experience?
My father died a few months before I started writing Alice Bliss. My love and grief for him are on every page.

If you could be one of the characters in Alice Bliss, for a day, who would it be?
Henry. Or Uncle Eddie.

Have you got any stand-out moments since Alice Bliss has been released?
I especially love meeting with students and talking about my book.  Book groups are also incredibly fun.

Have you got any plans for another book?
 I'm almost finished with my new book.

If so, is there anything you can tell us about it?
It's called A Catalogue of Birds and it's set during Viet Nam. It's about the damage that comes home from war. I'm also working on Alice Bliss, the musical, for a theatre in NYC: Playwrights Horizons.

Have you got any advice that you would be able to give to aspiring authors? 
Read like your writing depends on it, because it does. Model your writing life on musicians who show up to practice whether they feel like it or not.

Thank you so much!
Thank you, Sophie!

A big thank you to Laura Harrignton for answering my *very long* list of questions! I'm always going to remember those who we rarely hear from but are affected by war. Plus, thanks for telling us about your new-book. If you would like any more information about Alice Bliss check out Laura's Website .

Have you read Alice Bliss?
By the way happy 12.12.12-the last time for 100 years that there will be a repetitive date now!

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Sophie Louise