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Friday, June 3, 2016

Interview with Donna Gephart, author of Lily and Dunkin

I'm happy to welcome author Donna Gephart to The Hiding Spot for an interview. Gephart's newest novel Lily and Dunkin is available now!

Lily and Dunkin is structured as a dual narrative. Can you share why you decided to include two narratives rather than focus on just Lily or Dunkin?  
I wanted the reader to have an intense experience of feeling like they were inside Lily’s and Dunkin’s minds. To do that, I had to give each character the space to tell their own story in the very personal first person viewpoint. 
Tell me a little bit about your writing process: Do you outline? Start at the beginning? The middle? The end?
I start with a pen and a spiral notebook and spend a lot of time thinking about the characters and writing notes, snatches of dialogue, ideas about the setting, short scenes, etc. I write a lot of pages that almost certainly won’t end up in the final book. I call this “finding my way into the story.” When I think I know a couple of the major scenes and the ending, I switch to the computer and dive into the writing. In the case of Lily and Dunkin, I was looking through my mountain of notes and found a page that described the final scene of the book. I had written that ending scene in 2012, and it appears in the book almost exactly as I’d written it then. I think I spend the whole book figuring out how to get to that ending.
Inspiration comes in many forms. Share three people, places, or things that inspire your creativity.
1) Podcasts. I get inspired listening to podcasts, especially about other writers and their processes. I love this one with Matthew Quick from The One You Feed Podcast: I also love podcasts that share true stories, like The Moth, Story Corp and This American Life.

2) Movies. Sometimes watching a movie in a theater gives my subconscious a chance to work on my own stories, and I usually leave the theater feeling a little different than when I went in. A couple movies that really rocked my creative world were Juno and Little Miss Sunshine.

3) Nature. There’s nothing like a long walk or a jog in a park to get my mind bouncing around ideas, making unique connections and feeling energized to create something new. Plus I love being surprised by a sighting of an owl, a wild turkey or a peacock.
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Name a notable book that provided you with a hiding spot.
I love Anne Lamott’s non-fiction. When I’m having a tough time or am awake in the middle of the night, I’ll grab a copy of Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith and feel much less alone. I also loved Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar by Cheryl Strayed.
What can readers look forward to next?
The Greatest Story Ever Bowled will be my next middle grade novel. It’s got a bit of a Cinderella theme going on with a bowling shoe instead of glass slipper. I’m having a lot of fun with this one!

About the Author

Donna Gephart writes award-winning, humorous middle grade novels from her home in South Florida.  She's a popular speaker at schools, libraries and conferences.

About the Book
Author Donna Gephart crafts a dual narrative about two remarkable young people: Lily, a transgender girl, and Dunkin, a boy dealing with bipolar disorder.Sometimes our hearts see things our eyes can’t.

Lily Jo McGrother, born Timothy McGrother, is a girl. But being a girl is not so easy when you look like a boy. Especially when you’re in the eighth grade.

Dunkin Dorfman, birth name Norbert Dorfman, is dealing with bipolar disorder and has just moved from the New Jersey town he’s called home for the past thirteen years. This would be hard enough, but the fact that he is also hiding from a painful secret makes it even worse.

One summer morning, Lily Jo McGrother meets Dunkin Dorfman, and their lives forever change.


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