Photo Credit: Rick Kopstein

Gae Polisner is the author of The Pull of Gravity and numerous other yet-unpublished manuscripts. As a child, Gae was always reading and writing, two constants in a sea of revolving short-lived hobbies: gymnastics, acting, and mostly trying to dance as well as her older sister (who eventually landed on Broadway).

As a child, Gae wrote poems and short stories, taking creative writing classes through high school and college before attending law school and spending the next decade practicing law and starting her family. It was only upon the birth of her second son that Gae returned to her first love of writing. She strives with her young adult fiction to create character-driven stories filled with love and longing, heartbreak and family drama, reminiscent of those books she loved reading as a teen by the likes of Judy Blume, S. E. Hinton, and Paul Zindel.

Gae is still a practicing divorce lawyer and mediator. She lives on Long Island with her husband and two awesome boys. When not writing, she can be found swimming in the open waters off Long Island, and holds out hope that her wetsuit will one day turn her into a superhero.

Author of...

The Summer of Letting Go
The Pull of Gravity

Author Q&A

1. What books/authors have inspired you?

The authors who have inspired me the most in connection with my YA writing are probably the authors I read when I was that age: Judy Blume, Paul Zindel, E. L. Konigsburg, S. E. Hinton. I wanted to write stories like they did, about kids on the cusp between childhood and adulthood, trying to do the right thing even when the right thing is hard, trying to find their way in a not-so-easy world.

2. What’s your writing routine?

Because I wear a few different hats (writer, divorce lawyer/mediator, mom, and open water swimmer), my writing routine is erratic. I write when I find time around everything else that needs to get done during the day, though I usually try to take advantage of the first hour or two after all my boys (husband and two sons) leave for work and school and the house is quiet. There’s something about writing as I drink that first cup of coffee that feels right to me. But, really, I do my best writing under water, in my head, the challenge always being to see if I can remember what seemed so fluid and vivid in the water when I finally get back on dry land.

3. What part of your book was the most fun to write?

Hands down, Frankie Sky. He’s a ball of energy, impetuous and funny, but also so full of unfettered optimism and love. It was especially fun to write scenes with Frankie and his small dog, Potato, because they are kind of a comic duo. I could always picture the poor dog patiently putting up with Frankie’s boundless —and not always gentle—enthusiasm.

4. Which part was the most difficult?

I think writing Francesca’s mom was the most difficult. It’s easy to be mad at her because she’s so stuck in her grief and neglectful of Francesca, but as a mother, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to try to move beyond the loss of a child. I imagine you don’t ever really recover or stop grieving. So it was important to me that her mom be flawed but also that I leave room for the reader to have some understanding.

5. Is there one particular character in your new book that you most relate to? Why?

I think in this book, I relate to the struggle of Francesca’s parents. It’s hard to keep a marriage strong even when there isn’t some huge tragedy to create an added rift. And, while the dad is certainly flawed too, I love him for how he tries hard to stay positive and joyful for both his own sake and the sake of his daughter. He wants to keep living life—and see Francesca live her life—even though Simon couldn’t.

6. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

To find your own voice. As much as I read other writers and wish I could have written their brilliant stories in their brilliant style, in the end, the only thing we can ever really do well is find our own voice and polish and hone it to make it resonate and shine as best we can.

7. Cats or dogs?

Um, no thank you. I prefer the fictional kind that I don’t have to walk or feed. Plus, my husband and one son are allergic. Although we did have a “test dog” for a few days that I fell in love with. He was supposed to be hypoallergenic and, well, not so much. I cried for a week when we had to give him back. See, thanks a lot. You had to go and ask . . .

8. If writing weren’t part of your daily work, what career would you like to have?

When I was a kid and a teenager I acted both in school plays and in community theater. Back then I aspired to be the next Broadway Annie, and I can still sing pretty much every word to every song of that libretto by heart. Want to hear? “It’s a hard knock life,” you know.

9. Which author would you most like to spend the day with?

Spend the day with? Wow. That’s a hard one. And I’m fickle. My answer would probably change from day to day. I have writer friends I love and miss, and would want to spend any day talking and horsing around with any one of them. But as far as authors I don’t know, the one who always amazed me the most with his storytelling capabilities was William Goldman. I’d love to spend a day hearing him talk about writing and life and characters. You don’t know him probably, but he wrote The Princess Bride. Yes, it was a book before a movie, silly kids.

10. What is your secret superpower?

I don’t know how secret it is, but I can swim a long, long time. I’m not an athlete and never was, but put me in water, and I can keep swimming and swimming and swimming. I can also wiggle my nose and ears at the same time. Is that a superpower?

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