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Golden Boy
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Simon and Schuster Authors > Abigail Tarttelin and Golden Boy

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message 1: by Vincent (last edited Apr 29, 2013 02:11PM) (new) - added it

Vincent Lowry (vlowry) | 919 comments Mod
Dear Authors and Readers,

Today I'm excited to bring you an interview with Abigail Tarttelin for her new book, Golden Boy! Feel free to add her book today to your shelf and ask her any questions in the comment section of this thread.

Golden Boy by Abigail Tarttelin
Golden Boy

Description on Goodreads:

"From a rising literary star Abigail Tarttelin comes an unforgettable novel about a boy, a secret, and the single traumatizing event that sends his seemingly charmed life into tailspin.

Max Walker is a golden boy. Attractive, intelligent, and athletic, he’s the perfect son, the perfect friend, and a perfect crush for the girls in his school. He’s even really nice to his little brother, Daniel, a decidedly imperfect ten-year-old. Karen Walker is a beautiful, highly successful criminal lawyer, who works hard to maintain the facade of effortless excellence she has constructed over the years. Now that the boys are getting older, now that she won’t have as much control, she worries that the facade might soon begin to crumble. Steve Walker is also a successful prosecutor, so much so that he is running for election to Parliament. The spotlight of the media is about to encircle their lives.

But the Walkers have a secret. Max was born with forty-six XX chromosomes and forty-six XY chromosomes, which makes him intersex. He identifies as a boy and so has been raised lovingly that way. When an enigmatic childhood friend named Hunter steps out of Max’s past and abuses his trust in the worst possible way, Max is forced to consider the nature of his well-kept secret. Why won’t his parents talk about it? Will his friends accept him if he is no longer the Golden Boy? Who is Max and who will he be in the years ahead?

While Max and his family face life-changing questions, revelations, and the ever-present threat that Hunter presents, Max falls in love. He might be flawed, but could he be the perfectly imperfect boyfriend for misfit Sylvie Clark, the oddball loner in his class?

Told in first person narratives alternating between Max, Daniel, Karen, Sylvie, Steve, and Archie, the physician who attempts to guide Max through this pivotal moment in his life, Golden Boy is at once a riveting novel of a family in crisis, a fascinating exploration of identity, and a coming-of-age story like no other."


Here is the interview with Abby:

1) What was your inspiration for writing Golden Boy?

Several experiences and works of art inspired me to write Golden Boy. ‘The Women’s Room’ by Marilyn French first had me thinking about gender and feminism. Secondly, having seen XXY in 2009, an Argentinian feature film featuring an intersex protagonist, made me think that I could explore gender through the eyes of someone who had no need to define themselves as either male or female, but was pressured to do so by their family and community.


2) What message in your book do you hope to pass on to your readers?

I adored Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides and Annabel by Kathleen Winter, but I think a big difference between Golden Boy and other books about intersexuality is that Max, the novel’s teenage protagonist, is living within an ‘average’ community and a loving family.

I often feel characters with alternative genders and sexualities are treated as outsiders in art, when in fact they are us, and they belong inside our communities. I wanted Golden Boy to take place in a town that readers could see as their own town, so that they might understand that our attitudes to gender must be liberal, educated and understanding, because gender variations happen to our children and our neighbours, and are not distant or mythical from our daily lives.

3) Are there any parts in Golden Boy that were difficult to write?

The character of Max’s mother Karen, was hardest to write. As a character she appears controlling, strong and cool on the outside, but I wanted to make clear that this was a front built to protect and be a pillar of strength for her children. Karen’s opinions and how they encroach on Max’s life may infuriate some readers, but her actions stem from a deep love for Max and a wish to do what is right for him and take the responsibility off of his shoulders.

4) Do you have any advice you could give to new writers?

When I have a story I feel needs to be a novel, I take a month off whatever I am doing and try to finish it as quickly as possible. With both Golden Boy and my first novel, Flick, I was waitressing when the ideas first came to me. I would quit my jobs to focus on writing for a month, and then get a new job after I had finished my first draft because I know when I get an idea in my head I have to get it down before I forget it! You don’t always have to quit your job of course – and I certainly wouldn’t advise anyone to do that! – but it’s worth clearing some space in your schedule to get a first draft down as quickly as possible.

5) What is your next book and when do you hope to have it out?

I hope to hand in my next book to my publishers in a year. My first novel, Flick, is going to be released to American readers some time in the next two years however! So I hope people enjoy that story too!


Thank you, Abby!


Rose Do you find any of your own personality traits or characteristics in your characters?

How do you pick the names for your characters?

Do your friends and family find themselves in your books?


Barbara Oliverio | 6 comments It is difficult to keep my dry sense of wit away from showing up in at least one character.
I keep a running list of names that I hear that are interesting. When it is time to name a character, I check that list and see if one of them fits the personality.
Several of my characters have more than a passing resemblance to friends, family, coworkers, etc. The advantage to creating fiction is that I can merge characteristics, or just "borrow" traits here and there.


Rose Are you a writer who likes to have the book plotted from beginning to end or do you like writing by the seat of your pants?

Did you pick the title? Did it come first or after you completed the book?

Do you like to listen to music when you write? If so what music?


Jody Zimmerman | 6 comments Great interview. Golden Boy is now on my list to read. I think the topic is particularly relevant in a world where the rigid boundaries of the past between gender and sexuality are finally beginning to fade. The reviews indicate an insightful story, and I am looking forward to reading it.

I also like Abby's advice to block off larger blocks of time when working on a novel. I plan to do that in the future.


Storm Chase (StormChase) | 26 comments It sounds interesting. I'll add it to my list and look for it on Kobo/Smashwords.

I'm also horribly jealous that you can afford to take a month off work! You must be very rich.


Stephanie Sellers (StephanieMSellers) | 11 comments Golden Boy is a great title. I instantly connected with your title because I've used the term to describe unusual and gifted boys from wealthy parents. I am going to add it to my list and will definitely be reading this work.
Thank you for taking time to interview, too. Your response makes me wonder if you are a mother.


message 8: by Urenna (last edited Apr 30, 2013 08:25AM) (new)

Urenna Sander | 54 comments Interesting interview, Vincent. I immediately thought of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I enjoyed reading.

Urenna

True Season of Love


Cy Campanati (cycampanati) | 3 comments The book seems very interesting.


Sarah Fischer (sarahbevanfischer) | 5 comments An insightful interview. It sounds as though the author has handled a difficult subject with humanity.


Mona (recordbreaker) | 71 comments Golden Boy sounds like a hit. I laughed at, but loved your admission that you quit a job as soon as you got an idea for a book. Oh, if I only I had been so smart!


Lisa Potocar (lisapotocar) | 24 comments Congratulations, Abigail, on a fresh angle on a story that's been written about in novels before. I wish you the very best in your journey with Golden Boy.


Lisa Buie-Collard (LisaBuie-Collard) | 6 comments What a subject to take on, but so relevant nowadays in more ways than one. I'm putting it on my to read list! Thanks for the interview. Very worth reading.


J.M. Fisher (jonimfisher) | 6 comments What a challenging and intriguing topic. I also enjoyed Middlesex. Another struggle for identity with a genetic component! Bravo.


Katrina Williams (stepart) | 12 comments Enjoyed the interview. The topic is so timely, not just locally but globally. In this day and time, understanding is the key.


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Rose wrote: "Do you find any of your own personality traits or characteristics in your characters?

How do you pick the names for your characters?

Do your friends and family find themselves in your books?"


Hi Rose, Thanks for asking. I certainly do find personality traits of my own in my characters. With Sylvie, I shared, as a teenager, a certain frustrated, directionless rebelliousness! And with Max, the constant cheerfulness is definitely 'me'!

I pick the names of the main characters from personal preferences. I think the names Max, Hunter and Sylvie are really lovely - although sadly now off limits for my kids! With smaller characters who might only appear once in the book - like Carla Hollis - I use the names of my cousins and friends.


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Rose wrote: "Are you a writer who likes to have the book plotted from beginning to end or do you like writing by the seat of your pants?

Did you pick the title? Did it come first or after you completed the boo..."


I always write by the seat of my pants! I start writing snippets of conversation and prose and it develops in my mind and on the page. After about 21,000 words I think: 'I have a novel here.' That's when I lock myself away and write in earnest, and by that point I usually know the bulk of what will happen in the book.

I think I came up with the title, but my agent really liked it and we were a bit stuck, so we decided to go with it. I now really like it!

I don't really listen to music while I write, as it makes me get up and dance too much!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Jody wrote: "Great interview. Golden Boy is now on my list to read. I think the topic is particularly relevant in a world where the rigid boundaries of the past between gender and sexuality are finally beginni..."

Thanks Jody! I would very much agree. Gender, whether we are play-acting gender roles, and our choices of roles and traits we exhibit is a fascinating topic.


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Storm wrote: "It sounds interesting. I'll add it to my list and look for it on Kobo/Smashwords.

I'm also horribly jealous that you can afford to take a month off work! You must be very rich."


Not at all. In fact I was a waitress at the time, I had never met anyone in the publishing industry before I sent my manuscript to agents, and I have always had to work. But I decided I was going to become a writer, so I worked every shift I could get, and saved up enough to take the month off - which in casual waitressing means quitting. Life is too short not to go hell for leather at what you want.


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Stephanie wrote: "Golden Boy is a great title. I instantly connected with your title because I've used the term to describe unusual and gifted boys from wealthy parents. I am going to add it to my list and will defi..."

Hi Stephanie, thanks for your comment! I am not a mother sadly, but I absolutely love kids and I've grown up in a very large and loving family. One day!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Urenna wrote: "Interesting interview, Vincent. I immediately thought of Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides, which I enjoyed reading.

Urenna

True Season of Love"


Thanks Urenna! I loved Middlesex. Great novel.


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Sarah wrote: "An insightful interview. It sounds as though the author has handled a difficult subject with humanity."

Thanks Sarah! That's the hope! :)


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Raphaela wrote: "The book seems very interesting."

Thanks Raphaela!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Mona wrote: "Golden Boy sounds like a hit. I laughed at, but loved your admission that you quit a job as soon as you got an idea for a book. Oh, if I only I had been so smart!"

Thanks Mona! It was such a bad job - I really wasn't losing out!! Good luck with your writing! :)


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Lisa wrote: "Congratulations, Abigail, on a fresh angle on a story that's been written about in novels before. I wish you the very best in your journey with Golden Boy."

Thanks Lisa, that's so kind of you!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Lisa wrote: "What a subject to take on, but so relevant nowadays in more ways than one. I'm putting it on my to read list! Thanks for the interview. Very worth reading."

Thanks Lisa! I hope you enjoy it!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments J.M. wrote: "What a challenging and intriguing topic. I also enjoyed Middlesex. Another struggle for identity with a genetic component! Bravo."

Thanks J.M.! I too enjoyed Middlesex! :)


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Katrina wrote: "Enjoyed the interview. The topic is so timely, not just locally but globally. In this day and time, understanding is the key."

Thanks Katrina - I couldn't agree more!


Abigail Tarttelin (abigailtarttelin) | 16 comments Vincent wrote: "Dear Authors and Readers,

Today I'm excited to bring you an interview with Abigail Tarttelin for her new book, Golden Boy! Feel free to add her book today to your shelf and ask her any questions i..."


Thanks Vincent! I enjoyed the interview so much! Thanks for taking the time :)


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