Jesmyn Ward is hard to reach via phone–she rarely answers–which is why her editor had to send her an email to let her know that Salvage the Bones won a 2012 Alex Award. Both YALSA and the 2012 Alex Award Committee were happy that she got the message and agreed to be interviewed about her love of reading, writing, and libraries, as well as her thoughts on everything from popular culture to pitbulls.
A fan of gossip blogs and BookSlut who has to utilize Freedom for Mac software to keep from being sucked into the Internet Black Hole, Jesmyn spends about two hours a day writing. She doesn’t set a schedule for herself, but finds that the further along she is in a project, the more her days are consumed with it. One thing she forgoes is music, as it “confuses the rhythm of the prose.” Her days are filled with writing and reading, both lifelong passions.
Jesmyn “learned to love reading when [she] was very young,” and her early love of reading inspired her “awe of what writers could do.” One thing she writes exceptionally well is teen characters with authentic voices. Both Where the Line Bleeds and 2012 Alex Award and National Book Award winner Salvage the Bones prominently feature teen characters. With her novels, Jesmyn says it is “easier to think of writing from a teenager’s perspective.” Teens are “asking the really big questions,” and have an openness in how they experience life, which she finds intriguing.
The interest in the teen experience helped her create Esch, the 14-year-old main character of Salvage the Bones. Continue reading Asking Really Big Questions: Jesmyn Ward on Reading and Writing