Friday, June 23, 2023

Q&A with J. Anderson Coats



J. Anderson Coats is the author of the new middle grade historical novel A Season Most Unfair. Her other books include The Night Ride.


Q: In your new novel A Season Most Unfair, which is set in medieval England, what do you see as the main problem facing your character Tick?


A: Tick has grown up helping her father with his work making candles. Since her father’s eyesight isn’t good, she does the detail work. Tick loves having a purpose, and she loves spending time with her father because they have interesting conversations about the world around them.


Then one day, Tick’s father decides to take on a proper apprentice – a boy – and Tick is no longer welcome in the workshop. Tick feels displaced, and she worries that her relationship with her father will change fundamentally if they no longer have candlemaking to connect them.


Q: How does her situation compare to that of a present-day kid?


A: Tick wants everything about her world to stay the same, and she struggles to accept change even when it’s inevitable. She’s also confronted with limitations based on her gender, which a lot of kids still experience despite the progress we’ve made.


It’s also (sadly) common for some parents, especially fathers and father-adjacent folks, to start seeing and treating their daughters and femme-presenting children differently once those kids hit puberty. Sometimes change is as hard for parents as it is for young people.


Q: How was the book's title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: This title was a team effort – my editor and I agreed that it would be fun to work in a play on words, something to do with fair/unfair, considering that one of Tick’s preoccupations is the unfairness of her father’s decision and another is how much she loves going to the Stourbridge Fair. We sent ideas back and forth until this one rose to the top.


Q: Can you say more about the dynamic between Tick and her father?


A: Tick loves her father and looks up to him, and she believes that he truly values her contributions in the candlemaking workshop. It’s very hard for her when she’s confronted with the idea that perhaps that time has come to an end, and that her father is making decisions about her future that seem arbitrary and don't take her perspective into consideration.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I’m finishing up the final draft of my forthcoming 2025 young adult action-adventure, The Loss of the Burying Ground. It’s got pirates and castaways!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb. Here's a previous Q&A with J. Anderson Coats.

No comments:

Post a Comment