Boldly Bookish Blog Tour: The Leaving Q&A

Posted June 23, 2016 by Erica || 8 Comments

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Welcome to my stop on The Boldly Bookish Blog Tour! I am so happy and honored to be a part of this tour. Not only are there three awesome books being featured, but you can enter a giveaway to win them! Today on my stop I have an amazing Q&A with the lovely Tara Altebrando, author of The Leaving. I loved all her answers to my questions and I hope you guys do, too!

Interview Time

Q1. Did anything in your personal life influence the plot of this story?

A1. My older daughter went through a phase of saying creepy things right before she started kindergarten. She once told me she was “going on a trip” and when I asked her, “where to?” she said, “the leaving”. It was terrifying. So that’s when the idea for the book started to grow.

This all coincided with my feeling exhausted as an “older” mom. I was looking ahead at all the years of childhood that my daughters still had to slog through—with me slogging alongside them—and I started fantasizing about somehow skipping it. So it was a sort of mid-life crisis question—why do we need childhood, anyway?—that drove the whole idea.


Q2.What research did you do, if any, about memory loss of kidnapped victims? 

A2. I read tons of articles about memory science, wherever they turned up. Scientific American. Psychology Today. The New Yorker. The New York Times. Slate. Discovery. You Name It. I read profiles of memory scientists and what kind of research they’re doing. I read about implanted memories and memory erasing breakthroughs and many, many studies involving mice. I didn’t focus espeically on memory loss among kidnapped victims, though, because I felt I was creating this situation that had never happened in real life—this kind of mass abduction and near total memory loss. I mostly wanted a handle on current science so that the scenario would play out believably.


Q3. What made you decide to write this book in different POVs?


A3. Since there were six kids involved in the disappearance, it seemed important to have more than one of them on board as a narrator—and I liked the idea of having some romantic tension between a girl narrator and boy one. And then I needed a narrator that could clue the reader in about things the other narrators couldn’t possibly know about the aftermath of their disappearance. It took me a while to find her, but once Avery came on board, it was obvious that her determination to find out why her brother was the only abducted kid who didn’t come back would drive the novel.


Q4. What is your writing process? Do you like to write whatever comes to mind or do you have a strict plan?

A4. My process is usually to write a really bad first draft of something without any planning and then throw half of it out once I’ve figured out what it’s actually about. I don’t recommend it.


Q5. Who has influenced you to write this kind of story? Or, who has influenced you to write in general?

A5. When I was writing Dreamland Social Club, which was my third YA novel, I had this feeling that I was really writing the kind of book I would have loved as a teenager. Before then, and even after, I wrote other books that were more straight-up contemporary realistic, and that was fun. But when I was younger I was always drawn to darker, more offbeat books, so when I got the idea for The Leaving, it really sunk its teeth into me and became a sort of obsession the way Dreamland Social Club had. I had no idea at the outset where the book was heading but I was desperate to find out.

So I guess, in a way, I was influenced by my younger self and her taste in books.


Q6. Do you have any hobbies? 

A6. Every time I finish a book and think I have SO MUCH TIME on my hands, I think, “I need a hobby.” But the truth is I still don’t have a lot of downtime, since I have two young children. I love to entertain, though, so I’ve gotten really into cooking and hosting dinner parties and barbecues, etc. And I like games, I guess? Like darts and bocce and badminton. I’m planning on painting a shuffleboard court in my backyard this summer. Is “playing games” a hobby?


Q7. Do you have any hidden talents? 

A7. A lot of my hidden talents are so well hidden that they will likely never be found again. Like I could, for a time, play clarinet and I was a masterful flag twirler in high school. Oh, I can do the “Thriller” dance. Mostly.


Q8. What is your favorite thing to snack on while writing?

A8. I don’t actually snack much in general and I pretty much never snack when writing. I write when my kids are at school and usually take a super short lunch break to heat up and scarf down some leftovers. I sometimes forget to eat lunch, if I’m really on a roll. But if I had to choose a working snack it would be wasabi peas.


Q9. What shall we keep our eyes open for from you in the future?

A9. My next YA novel is called THE POSSIBLE. It’s about a girl who may or may not have telekinetic powers. I’m cooking up some other things but nothing official after that, so the future is wide open. Maybe I’ll even find a new hobby.


Q10. What is one piece of advice for new writers? 

A10. Eat lunch.

About The Book

Boldly Bookish Blog Tour: The Leaving Q&AThe Leaving by Tara Altebrando
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on June 7th 2016
Genres: Young Adult, Thrillers
Pages: 432

Six were taken. Eleven years later, five come back--with no idea of where they've been.

Eleven years ago, six kindergarteners went missing without a trace. After all that time, the people left behind moved on, or tried to.

Until today. Today five of those kids return. They're sixteen, and they are . . . fine. Scarlett comes home and finds a mom she barely recognizes, and doesn't really recognize the person she's supposed to be, either. But she thinks she remembers Lucas. Lucas remembers Scarlett, too, except they're entirely unable to recall where they've been or what happened to them. Neither of them remember the sixth victim, Max. He doesn't come back. Everyone wants answers. Most of all Max's sister Avery, who needs to find her brother--dead or alive--and isn't buying this whole memory-loss story.


1 set of the BOLDLY BOOKISH 2 Tour books (US Only)

Books include: Hold Me Like a Breath & Break Me Like A Promise by Tiffany Schmidt, The Fixer & The Long Game by Jennifer Lynn Barnes & The Leaving by Tara Altebrando

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tour schedule:

Week 1 ~ BREAK ME LIKE A PROMISE by Tiffany Schmidt
Week 2 ~ THE LONG GAME by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Week 3 ~ THE LEAVING by Tara Altebrando

About Tara Altebrando

Tara Altebrando is the author of numerous books for young adult and middle-grade readers. Her upcoming book, THE LEAVING (Bloomsbury), is a YA thriller that received a starred PW review and is a Junior Library Guild selection. Her other YA novels include ROOMIES, coauthored with Sara Zarr; Dreamland Social Club (A Kirkus Reviews Best Books for Teens), The Best Night of (Your) Pathetic Life, What Happens Here, and The Pursuit of Happiness.

Tara is a Harvard graduate who lives in Queens, NY, with her husband and children.

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8 responses to “Boldly Bookish Blog Tour: The Leaving Q&A

  1. Wow that is wild that the creepiest part of the book (the little girl saying she was going to “the leaving”) was something that really happened to the author!! That would definitely creep me out if my son said that. LOVED the interview!!

  2. danielle hammelef

    this is one of the best interviews I’ve read–the answers are so connected to this book, so concrete. I often find lunch just gets in the way while writing–time to eat takes away the precious alone time to write.

  3. Erica @ Novel Ink

    I know!!! When I got the answers back and read that I was like, “woah.” I was shocked to see that this book tied in with the author quite a bit.

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