We had an awesome Skype interview with Becky Citra, the author of Finding Grace, last Wednesday. Here's what we found out.
I am a twin and like Hope and Grace I am very close to my twin. I have written another book about twins, so this is my second one. I also wanted to write about adoption, as my daughter is adopted.
Where did you get the inspirations for the characters?
I used to be a teacher and I have a daughter and a stepson, so I have met many young people over the years. I use bits of different people in all of my characters. Hope was the first character that I created and I wanted the twins to be similar but not exactly the same.
How did you get the idea of two sisters, not knowing the other existed?
I like to write stories with mysteries in them to keep the readers reading. Hope had to look for clues to find Grace. I have read stories in the news of twins reuniting after many years apart and that has always interested me.
Does the book connect to your life story?
I never write about myself exactly, but I need to write about what I know. The novel is all fiction, but it is written about a place that I know well: Harrison Hot Springs. I spent many vacations in Harrison Hot Springs as a young girl, the same age as Hope and Grace. When I was a young girl, a girl in one of my classes had polio and that's where I got the idea for that.
What was the message that you wanted to tell the readers?
When I start writing, that is when the characters and the story come to life. I only re-read it when the book is published. It is then that I ask myself, "what was I trying to say?". For Finding Grace, it is that different families exist. Grace and her aunt were a family and Hope and her mom and granny were a family. Two different families, but both happy. I also wanted to show that Hope had a lot of determination. She needed that to find her twin.
Are there some traits of yourself in the characters?
Yes, I am more like Hope and less like Grace. I had a happier childhood than Hope.
Where did you get the idea for the book cover?
The publisher picks the cover and I rarely get asked for input. I usually see the cover when I see the published book. I realize that this cover might only appeal to girls and I had some concerns about that, but I am happy with the cover. Covers are very important.
What inspired you to be an author?
I loved reading as a child. I had stacks and stacks of books on the go. We didn't have as many choices back then, but I always loved reading. I also loved to write and was always writing stories. After I became a teacher, I didn't write because I didn't have much time, but I always kept reading. I liked to read stories to my classes and I thought that I could write one. Finally, I started a book and I would write in the early morning. It took me 3 years to write my first book. I wrote it 2 - 3 times; it was a lot of work.
What types of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of kids books. I also love mysteries and animal stories.
What made you decide to set the story in the 1950's?
There are a few reasons. I wanted to have Hope look for Grace in a way that wouldn't be easy like it might be today with the internet. With Grace having polio, the story had to be set in the 1950's since polio isn't a disease in Canada today. The third reason was that I wanted to write about Harrison Hot Springs as it would have been when I visited it as a child.
Thank you Becky Citra, for a great interview! And thank you to our Parent Advisory Council for buying the books for this awesome reading club!
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