When a publicist (Hi, Lindsay!) from Penguin approached us about working on this blog tour with them, there might have been quite a bit of flailing (and possibly the running man) in response to that email. Needless to say, I was ready to move hell or high water to get on board with this. Ever since I read The Sky is Everywhere (you can find my review of that here), I’ve been almost desperate for more of Jandy Nelson’s words, and I’ll Give You the Sun (you can find my review of that here) was everything I had hoped it would be and so much more. So, I’m sure you can imagine that I really fell all over myself– almost quite literally– when I realized I’d be able to ask Jandy Nelson a few questions about her latest work.
I’ll Give You the Sun Blog Tour
A Q&A with Jandy Nelson
1. There was so much art in this book and I loved “seeing” it. Now, I know you can paint the prettiest pictures with your words, but do you do anything artistically/creatively outside of writing?
Thank you, and no, sadly! I’m the worst artist! And I’ve tried. I’ve taken many, many classes, but I can never get beyond stick figures or clay blobs. It’s like my hands aren’t attached to my brain or something, which is such a shame, because I’d love to be a painter or sculptor or graffiti artist or doodler even. I think this is why creating Noah’s mind-paintings in I’ll Give You the Sun was such a total joy for me. I could use a medium I get—words—to make these wild paintings I was seeing in his mind. Without a doubt, it was one of my very favorite parts of writing the book.
Mine, too! The images you were feeding my brain of his art were nothing short of breathtaking. And while I wish that you could fulfill your doodler dreams, trust me when I say that you’re doing absolutely fine with only words. That’s a craft that’s hard to master and you make it seem effortless.
2. If you could steal any character trait from each of your characters (Noah, Jude, Brian, Oscar, Guillermo), what would it be?
Love this question! First not really character traits, but if I’m going to be a thief, I’d nab all of their artistic ability (see above). But in terms of actual character traits, here goes: I’d steal Noah’s rhapsodic way of seeing/experiencing the world, Jude’s wryness and ability to laugh at herself. From Brian, I’d steal the gliding ease with which he maneuvers social situations. I’d steal Oscar’s charm and Guillermo’s big-heartedness. Whew—that was fun! But alas, with all those mighty traits packed into me, I’m sure I’d be entirely insufferable! I’d love to hear what you and other readers would steal too.
Can’t I just say ditto to all that? Because, yeah, ditto to all that. Except I really want to learn how to lean against the wall like Oscar, too. Is that a trait? You sure made it seem like one.
3. Did you always know from the beginning that this story would deal with twins or did Jude or Noah come to you first?
Jude and Guillermo were the very first to arrive, with Noah following quickly on their heels. I knew Jude had a brother right away but didn’t know he was a twin for a few weeks. I remember the morning when Noah arrived though. It’s like the house began to shake and then he came crashing through the roof—not a subtle entrance, which makes sense because he’s so passionate and over-the-top by nature. What’s interesting is that even though I knew they were twins almost from the get-go, the first Jude I “met” was sixteen years old and the first Noah I “met” was thirteen.
I love that your characters always seem to make grand entrances when you “meet” them. And that’s a very interesting tidbit about meeting the twins at different stages in their life.
4. Noah’s art was nothing short of breathtaking in your descriptions, and it was so easy to picture them in my head while reading. Did you create these images on your own or did you draw inspiration from real life art?
Thank you so much! I didn’t really draw inspiration from art so much as from Noah himself. I’d get lost in his character and in the very unique way he saw both the world around himself and the world inside of himself. That said, I’m obsessed with visual art, really fanatical about it. I love going to museums and galleries and have studied many different painters over the years, so perhaps that entered into the creation of his invisible paintings subconsciously. I kind of see his artwork having the dreaminess of Chagall’s paintings but with a much bolder palette, and generally, more emotionally explosive. But I think the best part about Noah’s Invisible Museum is that every reader can and will see the paintings differently in their own minds.
It truly is a testament to how powerfully your characters and their personalities come across the page simply by the way that you answered the question. No wonder they feel so fully realized and almost alive. I love that it seems like you get to live these alternate realities through your characters.
♥ Thanks so much Jandy for visiting us today! Also, a very special thanks to Penguin for allowing us to participate in this blog tour! Be sure to check out the rest of the blog tour, featuring guest posts, interviews, giveaways, and more!
Sept. 1 – Cuddlebuggery
Sept. 2 – Novel Sounds
Sept. 3 – Perpetual Page Turner
Sept. 4 – Forever Young Adult
Sept. 8 – The Young Folks
Sept. 9 – The Book Hookup
Sept. 10 – Grown Up Fangirl
Sept. 11 – Bewitched Bookworms
Sept. 15 – Candace’s Book Blog
Sept. 16 – Novel Novice
Sept. 17 – Alice Marvels
Sept. 18 – Icey Books
Sept. 22 – The Midnight Garden
Sept. 23 – The Starry-Eyed Revue
Sept. 24 – Tales of a Ravenous Reader
Sept. 25 – Katie’s Book Blog
Sept. 29 –GReads!
Sept. 30 –Anna Reads
Jandy Nelson, like her characters in I’ll Give You the Sun, comes from a superstitious lot. She was tutored from a young age in the art of the four-leaf clover hunt; she knocks wood, throws salt, and carries charms in her pockets. Her debut novel, The Sky Is Everywhere, was on multiple Best Books of the Year lists, was a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults pick, earned numerous starred reviews, has been translated widely, and continues to enjoy great international success. Currently a full-time writer, Jandy lives and writes in San Francisco, California—not far from the settings of The Sky Is Everywhere and I’ll Give You the Sun.
For more on the author or her books, find her here:
Website ♥ Twitter ♥ Goodreads ♥ Facebook
Got a question for Jandy? @PenguinTeen will be hosting a Twitter chat with Jandy Nelson, Stephanie Perkins, and Gayle Forman, time and date TK!
Pre-order your copy of I’ll Give You the Sun today! Want a signed / personalized copy? They’re available for pre-order from Books Inc.!
Penguin is giving away the new paperback edition (with the new cool cover) of The Sky is Everywhere!
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