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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Interview: Hillary Frank (Author of The View From the Top!)

Today author Hillary Frank visits The Hiding Spot to discuss her novel THE VIEW FROM THE TOP. You can read my review of her fantastic novel HERE.

A Brief Bio

Hillary Frank is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She is the author and illustrator of the novels "Better Than Running at Night," "I Can't Tell You," and "The View From the Top."
Hillary is also an independent producer for a variety of programs on public radio.

Her work has aired on This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Studio 360, Marketplace, Day to Day, Weekend America, and Chicago Matters. She has won awards for her radio stories from the Association for Women in Communications, the National Mental Health Association, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival, one of the highest honors in public radio.

Hillary has taught courses and workshops to young and grown adults at Loyola University, River Oak Arts, Off Campus Writers' Workshop, and the City of Chicago's inner city writing program Words37. She has also appeared as a guest speaker at many schools and libraries, including the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, Tufts University, Simmons College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and high schools around the country. Both Hillary's first novel and her first radio story started as unsolicited submissions, which she hopes is proof to aspiring writers that getting published really is possible.

The Interview

Give a short statement describing A VIEW FROM THE TOP.

Whenever I write a book, I am trying to answer a question I have about how life works. For THE VIEW FROM THE TOP, that question was: Why, as teenagers (sometimes as adults, too), do we feel so alone, when really in the big picture we’re all going through the same things?

What did writing the novel from the point-of-view of six different characters enable you to convey that one POV wouldn’t have allowed.
By writing the novel from the point-of-view of six different characters, I hoped to convey that while externally these characters may seem very different, internally they are having a lot of the same feelings and insecurities.

Which character did you find easiest to write? Hardest?
Matt was probably the easiest because he’s a little more of a caricature than the others. Everyone else was about the same degree of difficulty. But the hardest scene to write was the “Mrs. Robinson” scene between Jonah and Matt’s mom. It was tricky to do it in a way that felt real.

If you were to write a full novel that featured just one of the six characters, which would you choose and why.
Well, I sort of feel like the entire book is really about Anabelle. But if I were to explore another one of the characters in more depth it would probably be Tobin because I think I could do more surprising things with him than with the others.

Anabelle is “the one that ties them all together.” What is it about Anabelle that the five other characters find so alluring?
I think each character sees a quality in Anabelle that they want for themselves. For Tobin, it’s her ability to fit in; for Jonah, it’s her purity; for Lexi, it’s her confidence; for Matt, it’s her talent; for Mary-Tyler, it’s her lack of wealth. In one way or another, each character is projecting his or her desires and fears on Anabelle. I think Anabelle is the sort of person who makes this easy for people because she is so genuine, curious, and caring.

Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
Not yet... but I've just launched an exciting new radio fiction project called The Truth.
Here's a link to our Facebook page:

My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
I love a good TV series. Some favorites have been Freaks and Geeks, The Wire, and Lost. Right now I’m enjoying the 4th season of Friday Night Lights. That recent episode where Matt Saracen buries his dad just kills me. The acting, the writing--amazing. And, since I just had a baby, I’ve been getting a kick out of Parenthood and Modern Family. I could watch the Modern Family pigeon scene over and over again.

Thanks for visiting, Hillary!

You can learn more about Hillary at her website.


  1. Freaks and Geeks reference!

    And now I have to read this book.

  2. Thanks for the interview! Writing six viewpoints... that sounds difficult...

  3. wow, combining six viewpoints must be no joke, but I'm sure she could pull it off. Great questions!

  4. It's a bit big challenge to write 6 view point. but i think it's great to know each characters closely.

  5. Does that mean that although we may differ outside, we all share the same fears?
    I'm not entirely sure, because although we share many things, each person is a different world and wishes..
    But here there is a very interesting question :)

  6. 6 POVs, huh? I can barely do one :P Great interview!

  7. Thanks for the interview! And I can't wait to read this. Multiple POVs for the win!!!

  8. I have a feeling I'm going to like Anabelle. She seems like a well rounded character. Thanks for the post :D

  9. I have never heard of Hillary Frank or her books but she seems really nice and her author photo reminds me of the actress Bryce Dallas Howard a lot o.o

  10. The different POVs is what attracts me the most of this book!
    I just noticed and she reminds me of Bryce Dallas Howard too.

  11. Great interview - I love reading about the author's insights. I especially the comment about how alone teenagers can feel when they are having the same feelings.

  12. Thanks for the interview! Can't wait to read this book

  13. I think I would like Annabelle because of her character and personality.

  14. Wow... writing 6 POV's had to be confusing at times. The cover on this is really cute.

  15. Great interview, I liked the way she describes her book.
    And that episode of FNL was like OMG :S

  16. My escape is also books. I will admit to being a Lost geek though--still not sure what that was all about though!

  17. These kids sound like such differing characters. It will be interesting to read about them.

  18. I love alternating POV's for the exact reason she mentioned. Nothing is what it seems and I love to know what characters are really tinking.
    She's a new author to me so thanks for the introduction :P

  19. Ooh! I like alternating POVs! The description/explanation is spot on.

    I hadn't heard of this one before, but I've added it to my TBR!

  20. awesome interview! This book reminds me a little of Party by Tom Leveen, not in the storyline, but by the different points of views. In his book as well, on the outside all the characters were very different but on the inside they shared the same feelings and insecurities.

  21. Great look behind the scenes! I can't imagine working out how to get six different POVs working together. And any mention of This American Life always grabs my attention!

  22. I just got into Modern Family and Parenthood, awesome taste!

  23. This book must be good because both of the television shows Hilary Frank mentions as being great are ones I also love!! (Is it crazy that I think that way?)

  24. Damn! Modern Family and Parenthood have'nt arrived to Argentina yet... ¬¬

    Great interview! Why it is that the most outgoing character is the easiest to wrigh? I don't find it the easiest to read! XD


  25. AHh, I am dying to read this book now!(:

  26. Thanks for the interview! It sounds amazing that you had 6 POVs alternating and weaving together the story. Wasn't it a bit challenging, difficult? Didn't you fear it would disrupt the flow of the novel and make it seem "lumpy"?

    I keep hearing Freaks and Geeks and Modern Family are awesome, so when I'll be on vacation, I'll have a marathon :-)


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