Recently, Angharad had the privilege of interviewing Kathleen Glasgow, author of the upcoming release Girl in Pieces. We were both incredibly moved by this book, so it was great to be able to get an insight into the ideas behind it’s story!
Q: One of the things I loved most about this novel were the fantastic female characters; not just Charlie herself, but also Louisa, Blue, Linus etc. Did you already have these secondary characters fleshed out at the start of the story or did they come to you later on? Are they based off real life people?
A: Fun fact: Charlie started out in early drafts with a twin brother! And she had a friend, Michelle, who morphed into Ellis in later drafts. They aren’t based off real-life people, but when I was writing them, I was very conscious of the fact that I really wanted to explore the nuances of female friendship – how you can love your best friend so much, but feel intense jealousy for them at the same time, and sometimes be mean to them as a result. Blue was fun to write because in a way, she’s a hero by the end of the book — she has layers that are revealed gradually, and she becomes a beacon of kindness in Charlie’s world. Sometimes the most unlikely people can become our biggest allies. I wrote the character of Linus partly to give Charlie an adult who could recognise what was going on in Charlie’s relationship with Riley, and to guide her.
Q: This story doesn’t only delve into the dark world of self-harm but also touches on addiction, homelessness, abuse etc. Were you frightened about writing such heavy subjects and yet keeping that layer of hope that runs throughout?
A: I wasn’t righted about writing those heavy subjects. I was more nervous — I wanted to do them justice and treat them honestly and not shy away from their truths. But I also wanted to make sure to keep an element of hope — that it is possible to find your way out of darkness, it is possible to recognise and accept help and friendship. You don’t have to have suffered through what Charlie suffers to understand this book — you will find yourself, or someone you know, in its pages.
Q: Charlie finds solace in her art. Did you find solace when writing this book? Was it important for you to share your story with the world?
A: Charlie’s story isn’t mine, though I did give her bits of my own experiences in life. I did find solace in writing her because I knew that her story would reach at least a few people who needed to hear it. The most important thing to me was writing the story of a girl learning to live in the world. Because it’s hard to be a girl, and then a woman, in a world that doesn’t value your intelligence, or your emotions, or your dreams.
Q: An age old question but probably the most thought of. Which character did you enjoy writing the most?
A: Ha! Well, I liked writing Blue, because I tried to give her little nuances, like the fact that she’s a big reader, likes Lady GaGa, etc. And I have a secret crush on Evan, because he is that guy who would give you the shirt off his back in a blizzard. But of course my favourite character to write was Charlie: she’s messy, she’s beautiful, she’s lovely, she’s smart, she’s sad, she’s brave, she’s hopeful, she’s a spinning top, she’s scared, she has life force to burn, I would be her friend in a heartbeat, I love her, and I want her to have a good life.
Q: What message/reminder would you like people to take away with them after reading this book?
A: I want readers to know that there are Charlie’s everywhere, even if you can’t see it on the outside, and that there is a little bit of Charlie in all of us, and that we should be kind to each other. As Ariel tells Charlie in Girl in Pieces, “Because when everything is said and done, Charlotte, the world runs on kindness. It simply has to, or we’d never be able to bear ourselves.”
Girl in Pieces is released in the UK and US on the 30th August 2016.