As a part of Teen Book Scene's blog tour for Bright Young Things, I interviewed Anna Godbersen, the brilliant author of this novel and New York Times Bestselling author of The Luxe series. She is also one of the favorite authors from the picks for the YAHF Challenge. Her books are set in late 1800 (The Luxe) and 1929 (Bright Young Things).
What was your research process like?
I try to read a lot of histories and magazines from the time. I’m not a purist, and I don’t worry about getting every little thing right. But I am really curious about these periods, what it felt like to live then, how the rules were different. I want readers to be transported with me, so I try to read as much as possible of whatever relevant books I can get my hands on.
If you could pick, would you rather live during the 1920s or during the late 1800s and why?
1920s for sure. The reality for women was just much better—they had many more freedoms of movement, of career, of lifestyle. Plus, the culture was just so much zippier and fun, and the clothes so much less constricting.
Why do you write YA?
Originally I got a gig ghostwriting YA, and then I discovered that I really enjoyed it. When I write for teenagers, I am writing for and about people who have their whole lives ahead of them, and that’s so thrilling. Plus, all the big emotions and events of teenage life—first loves, first experiences, hating and loving your family at the same time, wanting to escape, and being both naïve and curious about the world—these are all issues or states of being that are still raw for me, still important to me, and have so much to do with the so-called adult I’ve become. So it’s quite a privilege to be able to keep returning to the YA world.
Is there any question you’ve always wanted to be asked but never have been?
Hmmm… nobody’s ever asked me a really specific question about a sentence or a scene—like why such and such a word, or, did you experience something like what happened to Diana in whatever chapter? No one has ever asked me if I’ve ever borrowed any lines from real boyfriends, either, which in fact I have, though I’m not sure I’m prepared to answer the question honestly!