Q: What inspired you to write Anybody Here Seen Frenchie?, and how did you create your characters Aurora and Frenchie?
A: As with most of my stories, unrelated things somehow become a single ball of clay. A rare piebald deer visited our woodsy neighborhood several years ago. I knew he’d land in a book eventually. I assigned my enchantment with him to the character, Aurora. I was interested in exploring how people get lost.
As for characters, I am forever thinking about perspective, struggles, and how differently we all experience the same world. And then I asked this: Is it the same world? For everyone?
Q: How would you describe the relationship between them?
A: The first word that comes to mind is: Devotion. Sometimes we know a friend with our whole heart. That’s how I see Aurora and Frenchie.
Q: The Kirkus Review of the book says, in part, that it “[h]onors the sweet mysteries of how to communicate with each other and the world.” What do you think of that description?
A: The selected quote speaks to something I had hoped to accomplish. I came to this project thinking about the times we must make an extra--or nuanced—effort to truly understand someone else in order to enjoy the gift of their friendship.
Aurora, impulsive and somewhat impatient by her nature, learned to do the hard work of reading her friend’s behavior and eventually, knowing his heart.
Q: The novel takes place in a small community in Maine--why did you choose this setting, and how important is setting to you in your writing?
A: Ah! For me, setting needs to be inseparable from story, and as vivid as any character we meet. I chose Maine because I’ve observed its great beauty as a vacationer. Personal connection always boosts the narrative.
To imagine life as a year-round resident, I immersed myself in local papers, school bulletins, newsletters and obituaries. (Yes, really.) I talked to shop owners, school teachers, and realtors. I visited Maine in the off season to see the plant life and sunlight as it would occur at the time of year in which I set the story.
Q: What are you working on now?
A: Oooh. So brand new! I’m working on a middle grade novel that is emerging as a sister story. Birth order fascinates me, as do the profound similarities and differences members of one nuclear family sometimes comprise. Stay tuned!
Q: Anything else we should know?
A: Not from me, but heck, I’d love to know what you’re up to, Deborah! Care to tell?
Q: Thanks! I'm working on various projects, and my first novel for adults is coming out next spring...more details soon!
--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with Leslie Connor.