Meg Rosoff, the teen-fiction-writer sensation, didn’t begin writing until she’d ‘failed at six other careers’…but now she’s the award-winning author of How I Live Now (the film to be released in October) amongst other A-M-A-Z-I-N-G books. For teen-fiction, her novels deal with rather dark subject matter, but this, she argues, is because ‘teenagers aren’t any different from the rest of us. Sometimes they’re really in the deeper, darker issues of life, the universe and everything, and sometimes they’d rather just paint their nails and watch Modern Family.’ And her books reflect just that – There Is No Dog (a personal favourite of mine), is the touching story of God as a teenage boy. As well as the obvious delves into deeply philosophical concepts of LIFE and RELIGION, There Is No Dog is wonderfully funny and relatable. How on earth does she get the balance between chick-lit and thought-provoking read just perfect? ‘I’m sympathetic to both moods,’ she says in response to the balance between the two, ‘but anything that helps you get a better, clearer idea of what life is about is helpful – and that includes some dark stuff about betrayal and loss as well as love and happiness’.
Meg Rosoff’s new novel, Picture Me Gone, comes out today. ‘It’s a story of a girl with a strange gift for reading people and places, and what happens when she and her father go to America to look for his best friend,’ she explains. I can’t wait to get my hands on it, especially when Meg adds that of all her books, Picture Me Gone is ‘closest in spirit to How I Live Now’, and that she’d love someone to make a New York road trip film out of it.
There Is No God is about God, How I Live Now about war and Just In Case about running away from fate…and those are just three examples. It seems unlikely that Meg Rosoff would be in favour of only ‘writing what you know’, but I want her opinion on the never-ending argument anyway. ‘I think you can only write about what you understand emotionally. In other words, you can’t write about love convincingly if you’ve never been in love. That doesn’t mean you have to join a circus to write about one, but the things you really connect with in life are the things that will ring true on the page.’
When I ask Meg what her favourite pen is, she replies ‘Ha! I just yesterday bought an entire box of Uni-ball gel impact 1.0 pens.’ Why? Because ‘it’s a fairly thick line gel pen and you can sign books all day without getting tired’. I’d better stock up – apparently ‘they’re heavenly’.
You can buy Meg Rosoff’s Picture Me Gone here, along with all her other books on her website here. Oh, and if you didn’t already have enough reason to like her, she ‘doesn’t like expensive chocolates at all.’ But she would never say no to a KitKat , or a Cadbury’s Fruit & Nut…