Saturday, June 10, 2017

0 Cath Crowley, author of WORDS IN DEEP BLUE, on books and ideas connecting and helping us

We are excited to be joined by Cath Crowley, who shares more about her latest novel, WORDS IN DEEP BLUE.

Cath, what was your inspiration for writing WORDS IN DEEP BLUE?

The first scene I wrote, discarded in the end, was of Henry’s dad sitting on the veranda. He was writing to Pablo Neruda about love without an address for his letter. So I was inspired by the way words and books and ideas can change and help us, can connect us.

A while after that I opened a copy of A Streetcar Named Desire to see that a stranger had underlined the same phrases that I love. Of course you see this often – but the markings always feel like notes taken in a class, markings directed by a teacher. The underlines on Streetcar felt like a person marking them out of love, or need.

I thought about a whole bookstore where people were allowed to write in books, but that seemed impracticable, and so it became a set of shelves in the store, a letter library: a place where people could write to strangers, to the poets, to people they’d lost.

What do you hope readers will take away from WORDS IN DEEP BLUE?

I’ve had some very beautiful and honest letters since the Australian publication of Words in Deep Blue. They’re mostly about heartbreak – people grieving the death of a person or of love or youth or dreams. The letters remind me that books and ideas connect us, help us move towards some kind of relief or resolution. If readers took that away from the book, I’d be happy.

Was there an AHA! moment along your road to publication where something suddenly sank in and you felt you had the key to writing a novel? What was it?

I’m still waiting for that AHA! moment when I have the key. I don’t think it’s coming, though. I’m certain that every novel will be different, and every novel will be challenging.

I did reach that kind of moment in terms of my writing process, though. I’ve come to accept that the getting of an idea takes me a long time. Words in Deep Blue took me six years to write. I wrote and rewrote. I went to bookstores. I left my own letters in books and waited for replies. I stopped writing in the middle and grieved the death of my father. I started writing again. I sent drafts to my agent that didn’t work. And then there was a moment when it came together and I had a draft that worked.

How long did you work on WORDS IN DEEP BLUE?

It took me six years to write – although I did take some breaks in that time.

What's your writing ritual like? Do you listen to music? Work at home or at a coffee shop or the library, etc?

Now I work at home, in a room with a lot of light. It’s the first year I’ve had my own office space and I love it. I wrote Words in Deep Blue in coffee shops and bookstores and my bedroom. But looking back, bookstores and coffee shops seem like the perfect places to have written it.


Words in Deep Blue
by Cath Crowley
Knopf Books for Young Readers
Released 6/6/2017

Years ago, Rachel had a crush on Henry Jones. The day before she moved away, she tucked a love letter into his favorite book in his family’s bookshop. She waited. But Henry never came.

Now Rachel has returned to the city—and to the bookshop—to work alongside the boy she’d rather not see, if at all possible, for the rest of her life. But Rachel needs the distraction. Her brother drowned months ago, and she can’t feel anything anymore.

As Henry and Rachel work side by side—surrounded by books, watching love stories unfold, exchanging letters between the pages—they find hope in each other. Because life may be uncontrollable, even unbearable sometimes. But it’s possible that words, and love, and second chances are enough.

Purchase Words in Deep Blue at Amazon
Purchase Words in Deep Blue at IndieBound
View Words in Deep Blue on Goodreads


author_shot_cath_crowleyCath Crowley is an award-winning author of young adult fiction. Her novels include Words in Deep Blue, Graffiti Moon, Chasing Charlie Duskin (A Little Wanting Song) and the Gracie Faltrain trilogy. Cath is a freelance writer, manuscript assessor and teacher.


Have you had a chance to read WORDS IN DEEP BLUE yet? Have you written a scene that was your inspiration for a novel but not used it? Do you sometimes underline passages in a novel, hoping someone else will come across it? Have you ever written a letter to another reader and allowed that book to be your mailbox? Share your thoughts about the interview in the comments!

Happy reading,

Emily, Jocelyn, Anisaa, Sam, Martina, Erin, Susan, Shelly, Kelly, Laura, and Lori Ann

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