Ann Brashares

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The author who brought readers The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pantsseries is back with another unforgettable novel! Ann Brashares’ THE HEREAND NOW is a romantic thriller about a girl who immigrates from the future. Not only must she save the world, but she must stop herself from falling for Ethan Jarves. We were lucky enough to chat with the talented author about how she came up with such a unique premise, and her tips for writing and getting published. You won’t want to miss this interview!


ANN BRASHARES: The first idea was placing a boy from the future into the life of a regular girl. Eventually I swapped the genders. I started thinking about why this person would come from the future. I didn’t want to go big into science fiction. I wanted to keep it on a human scale. I once heard this musing from the physicist Stephen Hawking that went, roughly: we know there’s no time travel, because where are all the tourists from the future? And I thought, what if there were travelers from the future, but they were hiding here? And then I thought, why are they hiding?THE HERE AND NOW unspooled from there.


MISS LITERATI: In the novel, readers get a glimpse of what life is like in the 2090s, as Prenna can’t believe that things like the mall and computers existed in 2014. How did you come up with your ideas of how life in the future will be like?

ANN BRASHARES: I did some research. There is a lot of interesting writing about the future. People speculate about big things, like how the climate will change, and smaller things, like the ways our language will shift over time. But mostly I just used my imagination. One nice thing about writing about the future is, though you can be preposterous, you can’t be wrong.


MISS LITERATI: We love Prenna and Ethan’s relationship! What tips can you give to Miss Lits who want to add romance to their novels?

ANN BRASHARES: Try to write from inside each of the characters, feel it and see it exactly as they do. I find it hard to write these kinds of feelings looking down on them from above.


MISS LITERATI: It was very brave for Prenna to question the priorities of Mr. Roberts and the others who immigrated from the future. Is she based off of yourself or anyone else at all?

ANN BRASHARES: By that point in the book, she’s pretty much her own girl. I love to write brave. It’s easier to write brave than to live brave, though I aspire to that too. When you write it, you get to control the consequences and reward your characters as they deserve.


MISS LITERATI: The novel has a lot of twists and turns! How do you go about pacing in your novel to ensure that the book isn’t moving too fast or too slow?

ANN BRASHARES: That was not easy. I really struggled over it. When you are deep, deep in a book, it’s tough to take yourself out of it and pretend you are reading it for the first time, so you can check that you are depositing the right amount of information in the right places at the right time, and check how the actual reading experience is going. That’s one reason why a good editor is so valuable.


MISS LITERATI: You are best known for your The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series. Can fans of the series expect any similarities to THE HERE AND NOW?

ANN BRASHARES: Yes, I think there are. This book has a provocative premise, but it’s really about love and friendship, loss and family, just like the Sisterhood books. I seek the same emotional intimacy in all of them.


MISS LITERATI: What is your writing process like? Do you outline?

ANN BRASHARES: I do outline. Not extensively, or structurally, but more to get a feeling for who the characters are and where they are going. This gives me the initial confidence to push off the dock. I don’t try to stick to the outline, usually. I cherish the detours. The deeper you go with the characters, the more fit you are to understand their stories. What I do at the beginning is kind of a placeholder until I understand everything better.


MISS LITERATI: What are some of your favorite YA novels?

ANN BRASHARES: As a kid I loved Judy Blume’s YA novels. I love Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials series. I’m also loving John Green’sLooking for Alaska, Franny Billingsley’s Chime, Chris Lynch’s Angry Young Man, and Gary D. Schmidt’s Okay for Now.


MISS LITERATI: Many of our Miss Lits want to become published authors. Can you give them advice on how they can accomplish this goal?

ANN BRASHARES: Set a realistic writing goal (a story, a novella, a novel, an epic) and meet it. This will give you confidence. Take yourself and the fictional worlds you create seriously. Believe in them. If you don’t, no one else will. And put your heart into the writing, and don’t think about the publishing part until you’re done.



~Peggy S. Walker.

(I’ve been busy with school but I’ll be posting more in the summer!)


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