We have Middle Grade author Nancy J. Cavanaugh with us, giving us the low down on writing and her new novel ALWAYS, ABIGAIL.
About The Book
Author: Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
Release Date: August 5th, 2014
August 2014 ● ISBN: 9-781-4022- 9303-0
Hardcover/$12.99 ● Ages 9-12
A triumphant story of friendship from two girls who seem worlds apart.
When Abigail’s dreams of becoming a pom pom girl are dashed, she finds herself in the unlikely situation of having to choose between her two best friends and the school’s biggest outcast.
Abigail and her two best friends, Alli and Cami, (aka AlliCam) are poised for a long life of pom poms and popularity. But for Abigail, her own insecurities and lack of confidence coupled with her bad luck at being assigned to a different homeroom than AlliCam make for a rough start to sixth grade. Abigail uses her list writing to calm herself down and keep her anxiety at bay. Even worse, her language arts teacher assigns Abigail to be friendly letter partners with Gabby Marco—the biggest outcast at Crestdale Heights. Being partners with Gabby is something that could ruin a person’s life.
When she doesn’t make the team, Abigail’s dreams are crushed in an instant, and, in the days that follow, she loses touch with AlliCam as they begin spending their time practicing and hanging out with the other girls on the squad. But through her letters and interactions with Gabby, Abigail discovers that she has more in common with the least popular girl in school than she thought. Bullied by other students at school, Abigail is the only one who knows how badly Gabby needs a friend, but will she find the courage to do what she knows is right?
1. What is your favorite part about your character Abigail?
I love that Abigail has such a difficult time choosing to do the right thing, but ultimately finds the strength within herself to make the right choice.
2. Do you have anything in common with Abigail?
I’m actually a lot like Abigail. Growing up, I always knew the right thing to do but often times had a difficult time finding the courage to do it, especially if there was something big at stake like there is for Abigail.
3. What drew you to write Middle Grade novels?
I love reading middle grade. The stories are heartwarming and usually filled with humor, awkwardness, and ultimately some kind of character triumph. I love this! I also love the innocence and wholesomeness of middle grade books.
4. What is your writing process like?
My ideas usually begin with a character. With that idea for the main character comes the voice of the character. From there I have to work really hard to develop a plot that will ultimately carry that character on a journey that will help them discover something about themselves and the world in which they live. Sometimes I have to live with and listen to my character for a long time before I discover what that plot will be.
In terms of actual writing, my process is VERY messy, which is kind of odd because I’m a super, neat and organized person. I usually start my story in a spiral notebook, one with a cover that reflects my main character. Then I go back and forth between my notebook and my laptop. I print things out. Scribble notes all over my copy. Write more notes in my notebook and keep going back and forth between the spiral notebook and laptop until I get an entire first draft of the book finished. Then I print a copy, punch holes in it, and pop it into a huge three-ringed binder and start revising.
5. What is your favorite part of writing Middle Grade?