Welcome to the blog tour for OUR SONG by JORDANNA FRAIBERG!
A huge thanks to Shane from Itching for Books, Penguin, and Jordanna Fraiberg for making this blog tour happen!
Welcome to the OUR SONG blog tour! I’m so excited to be a tour host today with an awesome interview with the author, Jordanna Fraiberg! Before I start with the interview, here’s a little more info about OUR SONG to get yourself acquainted with the book:
Released: May 2, 2013
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jordanna Fraiberg was born in Montreal, Quebec, and currently lives in L.A., where she settled after receiving degrees from Harvard and Oxford. A former national squash champion and Hollywood film executive, she now divides her time between dreaming up stories and chasing her toddler. She is the author of Our Song and In Your Room.
Okay! So now that you have all the info on the book, let’s dive into the interview with author Jordanna Fraiberg!
INTERVIEW WITH JORDANNA FRAIBERG
Olive is haunted by a song that runs through her head after her near-death experience — the only memory from her accident. Was there a specific song that inspired the book?
There wasn’t a single song, but several I listened to on repeat that evoke the feeling and tone I was imagining for the song running through Olive’s head.
1901 by Phoenix
Dark Paradise by Lana Del Rey
Heart Songs by Weezer
So Nick. He’s British! *swoon* I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for accents! Was there any specific reason you chose his character to hail from overseas?
Like Nick, I also studied at Oxford and it was one of the best experiences of my life so I wanted to find a way to infuse that into the book. I also have a friend, who like Nick, lived in the United States but was sent to Eton for boarding school in England at a very young age, and I always wondered what it was like to be sent so far away, so young. But most importantly, making Nick British it felt organic to his character, to his sense of fractured identity, and to the fact that he feels like he doesn’t really belong anywhere.
A really big part of this story is the fact that Olive had a near death experience (which actually leads to the reason she meets Nick). Did you have to do research to include the characters’ accounts of their near death experiences?
Yes, I did a lot of research! I read lots of personal accounts of people who’ve had near death experiences, and I attended a meeting of The Los Angeles International Association for Near-Death Studies. The most surprising thing I discovered at that meeting was that like the members of the Near Death Society in the book, not one of the participants had actually ever died. I decided to use that to my advantage in the way I portrayed the Near Death Society to make Olive feel even more isolated in the one place where she hopes to find comfort and answers. But ultimately, she has to rely on and believe in herself to figure things out, and Nick helps her get there.
One of my favorite characters from the book was actually Olive’s best friend Annie. She was a very no-nonsense, tell-it-like-it-is friend. Would you say you see more of yourself in Olive’s character or Annie’s?
That’s a great question. I think in many ways Olive and Annie are two sides of the same coin. On one side you have Olive, who has yet to find herself or feel comfortable in her own skin, and on the other, you have Annie, who is bold and outspoken and seemingly fearless. Maybe a better way of saying it is that Olive and Annie represent both sides of who I am — where I’ve come from on my journey of self-discovery, and where I’ve landed. But I think we all have internal struggles — even Annie does — that challenge our confidence and sense of self, and I wanted to explore that through each character and their friendship with each other.
I always love to ask authors if they remember the starting point of the idea for their book: Was this book a long idea in the making? The result of a specific idea that popped in your head?
In a way it was both. I knew I wanted to write about a girl suffering from terrible heartbreak, and I also knew that the book would begin with her coming back to life after literally dying. I wanted to flip the idea that being given a second chance is a gift, because at first for Olive, it feels like a curse. For her, heartbreak feels like a fate worse than death, so I wanted to take that idea and see where it lead me.
The hardest part was seeing it through. Quite honestly, there was a time I thought I would never finish. I got pregnant in the middle of the process. It was the thing I wanted most — to become a mother — but my pregnancy was incredibly challenging and I was unable to write for months while I focused on getting better (and keeping food down!), and then on being a mom to my delicious newborn. At the time the extended hiatus felt terrifying. I wondered if I’d ever be able to focus or write again. But once my baby was almost a year, I was able to come back to the book with renewed energy, focus, and frankly, compassion for Olive. While what we went through was entirely different, I related to the idea of letting go of one identity to make room for another, and the growing pains inherent in that process.
The easiest part was once I got back into it, letting the characters speak to me, and letting the words lead me. Not always easy to achieve, but when you do, it feels like magic!
Lauren Oliver is one of my all time favorites. I find I’m constantly highlighting passages in her books, constantly learning from her craft. She also happens to be a good friend, and I love talking to her about process (one of my favorite topics!)
I’m also a big fan of Sarah Dessen, Sara Zarr, and Gayle Forman.
A big, big thank you to Jordanna Fraiberg for such an awesome interview! I absolutely loved getting more insight to OUR SONG!
And before you go, don’t forget to enter the giveaway!! Enter for your chance to win a copy of the book!