Photo Credit: Charles Aydlett

Adele Griffin is the acclaimed author of many books for young readers, most recently The Unfinished Life of Addison Stone. Adele lives with her husband and children in Brooklyn, New York.

Author Q&A

1.Favorite books/authors who inspired you?

This answer changes, because I’m so immersed in what I’m reading at any time. In adult books I am reading The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead and just finished Commonwealth by Ann Patchett,—both authors are so inventive and inspiring.

In graphic novels, my 9-year-old daughter and I are re-re-reading Raina Telgemeier’s Ghosts—we are fascinated by how this story is told. We recently finished Little House on the Prairie.

In YA fiction, I’m reading Brendan Kiely’s The Last True Love Story. This is a uniquely excellent cross-country adventure; there’s so much sensitivity and kindness in the writing.

2. What’s your writing routine?

I’m a morning person. I wake up and write lists, to-dos, ideas, everything in longhand in a tiny notebook. Then get the kids off to school, and I’m on my screen and sunk in my manuscript until lunch.

Afternoons I do other writing … like author Q&As.

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

A first draft is so crazy fun. I totally delight in inventing things out of nothing, naming my town and street and people, I feel like a little despot.

4. Which part was the most difficult?

When a manuscript comes limping back from copyediting. That’s when I need to deal with my dodged-till-now issues of logic and flow, or solving the ripple effect of having set a Thursday before Tuesday. Also it’s sort of a cringe, like being back in Catholic school when I saw the red ink on my math quizzes.

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

I’m not a Jean or a Fritz, and I’m not a Gil, either—but I relate to Gil’s almost pathological, passive-aggressive desire to keep everyone happy while steering his life smoothly. He’s sort of a jerk, but he is my jerk. I made him and I get him.

6. What advice would you give aspiring writers?

It used to be just to read. Now that I’m older it’s to read well, to read books that you know will lift you up and shift your perception— immerse yourself in great books, and you can’t help but become a better thinker.

7. Cats or dogs?

That’s tricky. My dog is the same size as a cat and she catnaps all day. I like any pet that reminds me of a bedroom slipper.

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

Everything moves me to tears, which leads me to think I would make an excellent professional mourner. Also it’s a job title with more dignity than my current status of crybaby. It would be a nice promotion.

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

All of them, right after they just got a starred review.

10. What is your secret superpower?

I can see through semicolons.


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