Huntley Fitzapatrick is the author of two bestsellers. What I Thought Was True is her latest book. She lives in Massachusetts with her family.
NAW-When did your literary journey begin? At what age did you discover that you wanted to write?
Very early. It began all of a sudden when I was five, and my father read me CHARLOTTE’S WEB. The words in that book seemed to me to be so perfect, so beautifully put together, to make sense of life. I wanted to do that.
NAW- Tell us about your book, ‘What I Thought Was True.’ How did you get the idea for it? How long did it take to finish the book?
This book began with the idea of two people who were really right for one another, but who started off on the entirely wrong foot. Could they fix that? Can you find your way back into love? When one person is burned and the other is wary, is it possible to fix that. My first book, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, talked about a very idyllic romance. I wanted to do completely non-idyllic and see if that could still work. It took six months to write and then about nine to revise it.
NAW- Which character in ‘What I Thought Was True’ is your favorite? How did you develop your characters?
I really never have favorites. To write a character, I sort of have to love them, even the awful ones. But, if I had to choose, I would choose Gwen Castle, the heroine, who is so savvy and smart and loving and able…and completely clueless about herself. It was interesting writing someone who “got” everything in her world, except her own reactions and feelings. And romantic, really, that the hero understood that. As to developing…they just seem to flow from their initial points. I have an idea of their circumstances and how they react to them and then they grow from that.
NAW- Tell us about your other works.
My first book, MY LIFE NEXT DOOR, is about a lonely girl who watches her neighbors and then, unexpectedly, finds herself entangled in their lives when she falls for one of the forbidden boys. My third is about a spin-off character from that book, the lost boy who is the best friend of both Samantha and Jase, and what happens to him after the curtain closes on them.
NAW- Do you carry out any research for developing your characters and your stories? How do you go about it?
I do a lot of research—how to fix cars, all about SATs, what it is like to be a teenaged dad. I am always afraid someone will check my computer history and be horrified. And I adore the Internet. Didn’t expect to, as a lifelong library devotee, but it’s so magic to get everything you need with a few clicks of your fingers.
NAW- Tell us about yourself. What do you do when you are not writing?
Well…I have six kids and a husband, so when I’m not writing I’m doing laundry and signing permission slips and going on field trips and talking through boyfriend issues and taking kids to soccer practice and basically trying to negotiate everything, the way we all do.
NAW- Which actors would you like to see in a film based on your works?
This question is always impossible for me. It seems like enormous hubris to think of. My daughters have cast and recast my books but I’m not good at it at all. I don’t picture actors when I imagine my characters, yet I see them so clearly I can tell you where their freckles and scars are.
NAW- Your favourite quote.
“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears, or the sea” — Isak Dinesen
NAW – Tell us about your literary journey. How easy (or difficult) was it to get your first book in print?
That’s hard to answer. It was both. I wrote a few books before I worked up the courage to talk to an agent. She read one and said it wasn’t quite right but she’d like to see more. She read a few finished manuscripts, then bought one, much to my surprise and great happiness.
NAW- What are your upcoming projects?
Right now I’m writing a companion book to my first book, with the side character as the hero. After that, I have a completely new project planned. I’m excited!