Earlier today I posted my stop on the book tour for Just Pretend where I reviewed the book. I also had the opportunity outside of that tour to interview the author. Learning more about the authors behind the books you read is always interesting, so I couldn’t pass that up. Keep on reading to find out more in this interview with Tori Sharp!
A graphic memoir, in which a young girl uses her active imagination to navigate middle school as well as the fallout from her parents’ divorce.
Tori has never lived in just one world.
Since her parents’ divorce, she’s lived in both her mom’s house and her dad’s new apartment. And in both places, no matter how hard she tries, her family still treats her like a little kid. Then there’s school, where friendships old and new are starting to feel more and more out of her hands.
Thankfully, she has books-and writing. And now the stories she makes up in her head just might save her when everything else around her—friendships, school, family—is falling apart.
About the Author
What inspired you to start writing?
- I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember! My sister taught me to read and write before I even learned in school, and even earlier than that I was always making up stories with my dad. And then I guess I just loved books so much that I decided to make my own!
What is your all time favorite book? Why?
- I have many favorites, but maybe Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynn Jones. I read it for the first time after I graduated college and I related so much to Sophie and how she was terrified of the big, mysterious world she didn’t understand and how she put so much pressure on herself. But then she set out on her own and nothing was really as scary as she’d built it up in her head. I remember re-reading that book on the plane when I was moving across the country by myself because it helped me feel brave!
What recent books do you think everyone needs to read?
- I got to read an ARC of LONG DISTANCE by Whitney Gardner, which will be out very soon, and it’s a wonderful exploration of the difficulties and joys of making new friends.
Besides writing, what are other hobbies and interests you have?
- I love to knit, play board games, listen to podcasts, and swing dance! Right now my main interest is in spending a lot of time training and snuggling my little poodle, Annie, who I adopted a couple of months ago. 🐶
About the Book
Describe you book in five words or less.
- Best friends write books together!
What inspired you to create a memoir as a graphic novel?
- All of my memories from childhood are so vivid, it just felt natural to draw them instead of using words alone to tell this story. And so much of the story is about exploring the emotions of the characters in these scenarios that it felt right to be able to visually show their expressions and poses. Plus, I LOVE making comics and I was thrilled to be able to draw a whole book.
What is your favorite quote from Just Pretend?
- The line “The mountains here are so rectangular!” always makes me laugh. I’d left it out of the first draft because I was worried it was too ridiculous, and then I was so happy when I suggested it in a later draft and my editor liked it, too!
What message do you hope readers will take away from Just Pretend?
- I hope readers will take away that even if it’s intimidating, it’s important to keep trying to communicate how you feel and what you need. And sometimes writing stories or making art can help us understand our own emotions and share them with others!
Just Pretend is a new release, but are you working on anything new you can tell us about?
- I am working on my next graphic novel, and I can’t share much about it yet! It’s fiction, not a memoir, and also has to do with super creative kids. I’m certain that readers of Just Pretend are going to LOVE this next book.
A big thanks to Tori for taking time and answering my questions. I love getting a glimpse of the author and their inspiration behind the books. Keep an eye on the blog, because I have a few more interviews planned this month!