I'm so excited to have Katherine Glasgow on Sarcasm and Lemons today talking about her brilliant and heartbreaking debut, Girl in Pieces.
The very short, episodic chapters are unusual and very impactful. What made you decide to write Charlotte's story in this way, rather than in a more traditional style? –
In the first part of the book, the short paragraphs are meant to represent Charlie’s response to the world in the wake of the trauma she’s endured. Short, staccato episodes because her thoughts come in short, rapid, panicked bursts as she is trying to figure out the hospital and the other girls. The book is told in three parts, not chapters, and as Charlie moves through her experiences, her perspective on the world opens up and her thoughts necessarily get longer, too.
What was the most difficult part about writing this book? –
Finding time, to be honest. It took eight years, I had two babies during that time and a full-time job. I relied a lot on arts fellowships to take time off my job and to rent a little studio above a bar in Saint Paul where I wrote like mad.
In what way is Charlotte most like you? In what way is she the most different? --
Like me, Charlie is a sucker for drawing, music, and wild, beautiful, heartbroken people. Unlike me, she is an excellent artist. I like to give my characters some ability or talent that I wish I had.
Your portrayal of mental illness feels very authentic. What kind of research did you do on mental illness (and the psychiatric facility, in particular) to capture Charlotte's story so vividly? --
Creeley Center is made up from the tips of its toes to the top of its head! My own time in psychiatric care was a long time ago, and we were thrown in together without regard for age or diagnosis. I assume that specialty programs like Creeley are around now, so I made one up. I did do research on post-traumatic stress disorder, MPD, and a variety of other mental illnesses/diagnoses for the hospital section.
What do you most hope that readers get out of reading Girl in Pieces?—
If you're allowed to tell us, what kind of project are you working on next?—
I signed a two-book contract so I am presently working on book 2, which at the moment involves a girl named Tiger, a girl named Cake, a horse named Opal, grief, skateboarding, and lots and lots of emojis.
What books, young adult or otherwise, have you loved recently?
I’m currently reading Beware That Girl, by Teresa Toten and I am pretty blown away. Other books that I’ve recently loved include The First Time She Drowned, Last Seen Leaving, Seven Ways We Lie, Ivory and Bone, and Lily and Dunkin.
Thanks so much! Catch Girl in Pieces this month!