Monday, October 23, 2023

Q&A with Ree Augustine




Ree Augustine is the author of the new middle grade novel Hangabout: Far from Home. She lives in Pennsylvania.


Q: What inspired you to write Hangabout: Far from Home, and how did you create your characters Hangabout and Bean?


A: I originally wanted a story with a love vs. fear theme and how love can conquer fear. I also wanted to write it in the vein of Kate DiCamillo's The Extraordinary Journey of Edward Tulane, where the characters didn't speak.


I wrote alternating chapters between Hangabout, a dog, who represented love, and Bean, a cat, who represented fear. I didn't have them speak, though.


When I sent it to an agent, she didn't think it was working and suggested I try it from one POV and to have the animals speak. I chose Hangabout, and after that, he kind of led the way as to what his story was. It went from a "love vs. theme" idea to an exploration of homelessness and finding oneself.


Q: How would you describe the relationship between the two of them?


A: I think the two of them come from different places. Hangabout is very trusting, and Bean is not. But they wind up helping each other at different points in the story, and this leads them to become great friends and, even more so, family.


Hangabout learns not to trust as much, and Bean learns to trust. It really is a beautiful friendship story.


Q: What do you think the book says about the concept of home?


A: This is one of the things I love about this story. It shows that home can be found anywhere as long as you have someone who loves you. Even as Hangabout and Bean were searching for their keeper, they had a sense of home because they had each other. They probably didn't realize that, though.


Q: Did you know how the story would end before you started reading it, or did you make many changes along the way?


A: Oh, my goodness, this story changed so many times. Originally Bean lived in a museum before she came across Hangabout. I think I always knew the ending.


Q: What are you working on now?


A: I'm working on a story about a gargoyle who never gets finished by his artist. He feels incomplete and not worthy of being a true gargoyle. He searches the world for a sense of belonging, but there are forces he is unaware of that do not want him to find his way.


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: Thank you so very much for having me be a part of Book Q&As. I really appreciate the time you shared with me. I can be found at


--Interview with Deborah Kalb


  1. Thank you so much for featuring Hangabout: Far from Home! So happy to have a spot on your blog. Ree