Today we're thrilled to be chatting with Estelle Laure, whose new young adult novel, But Then I Came Back, is out now from HMH Kids!
From the author of This Raging Light comes the story of Eden Jones, a 17-year-old girl who feels lost after surviving a near fatal accident. Unable to connect with her family and friends, Eden forms an unlikely relationship with Joe, a boy who comes to the hospital to visit Jasmine, a friend who may soon be gone forever. Eden is the only person who can get through to Jasmine, but is she brave enough to face a world that’s bigger and more magical than she ever would have allowed?
Welcome, Estelle! So, tell us . . .
Who was your favorite character to write and why?
My favorire character to write was Gigi. She’s based on a woman named George who was my grandmother’s best friend. I was fascinated with her when I was little. She read cards and her apartment was covered in owls, just like in the book, and she did really love rum. She died a long time ago. When my dad read it, he said it had been nice to see George again. Of course, unlike me, he grew up with her. That was a satisfying moment for me.
What was it like watching the cover design come together?
This time around, watching the cover design come together was incredibly special. I felt it matched the story and my personality. It gave me that oh my gosh they got it feeling. I love it so much I had the flower tattooed on my arm.
Estelle Laure and Jeff Zentner show off their book tattoos at the Nashville launch of But Then I Came Back
Tell us about your writing community.
Writing community is something I really need because I’m in New Mexico, basically on an island atop a mountain, and I can be really isolated. It turns out my VCFA classmates are still my best friends and where I always go when I need writing support. We do a pretty good job of showing up for each other, though I can’t be places physically much of the time because of my kids. For my launch, FIFTEEN VCFA classmates came from all over the country to Parnassus Books in Nashville. I’m way better at dealing with jerks than real open love, so I could barely handle it when we were there, and I only began to be able to process it after I got back. How totally incredible it was for all those people to make such a long journey to be of support. VCFA world domination. Ahem.
VCFA love at the book launch!
What a wonderful surprise! Who were your advisors at VCFA?
My advisors were April Lurie, Amanda Jenkins, Martine Leavitt and Susan Fletcher. I also worked post grad with Martine on this book, and I can honestly say it would not exist without her.
What advice would you give to a prospective VCFA student?
For anyone getting ready for a first semester at VCFA I would say most writers are introverts. I have a terrible time at a party. I don’t talk to strangers or strike up chats on planes. But the best thing about VCFA is that because everyone there shares a deep love of the same thing, what could be awkward and difficult is remarkably easy. You arrive as strangers and you leave a family. I even briefly convinced myself I am not socially awkward. Not true in the real world. Very true at VCFA. Have faith. You are going to love everyone and everyone is going to love you. I don’t know how it works. It’s magic.
So true! Thanks a lot for stopping by, Estelle. Hooray for the release of But Then I Came Back!