Martha Brockenbrough has a great interview with Meg Rosoff. One part I especially liked:
“Holy cow but your stories are courageous. I don’t want to spoil things for readers who haven’t read all your titles yet, but you’ve dealt with war, with sex boundaries, with religion. What is it about difficult topics that attracts you?
I don’t set out to deal with “difficult” subjects. I’m just interested in the things that puzzled me as a kid, in my teens, 20s, 30s, in my 40s. Now. Why do people fall in love and why do they not….why do some people believe in god (I never did). Why are some people straight and some gay? Where does identity come from? How do you know who you are? How do you find out? Why does my mother say no one will marry me if I don’t wear more pink? (not that I hold a grudge)
All the subjects that I found so difficult during my adolescence (which is still trundling on to an embarrassing extent in my, ahem, 50s) like family ties, and chemistry, and gender, and what saves people from themselves….I had such a long struggle to see life in focus that I’m a bit obsessed with the struggle.”
This idea of examining the struggle is one reason I find literature in general so compelling. It can be hard enough to examine these kinds of questions on your own; reading can help you better understand others and your own place in the universe.
Also, I like that these are questions and issues that span across literature in general. YA doesn’t have to be lighter or fluffier than books for adults. It looks at these same questions from the perspective of people who are just starting to engage with the larger world–and I find that exciting.
Make sure to check out the full the interview; lots of good thoughts on the writing process in there, too.