Today, I am pleased to have Kristen-Page Madonia on the blog! She is the author of Fingerprints of You (2012) and Invisible Fault Lines, which was released just last week by Simon & Schuster. Kristen-Page was kind enough to take some time and answer a few of my questions about Invisible Fault Lines. I’ll be sharing my thoughts about this interesting and thought-provoking story next week, but in the mean time, be sure to check out her author page and add this book to your TBR list! Here’s a little bit about Invisible Fault Lines:
Invisible Fault Lines by Kristen-Paige Madonia
Published by Simon & Schuster on May 3, 2016
Genres: Young Adult
"My father disappeared on a Tuesday that should’ve been like any Tuesday, but eventually became the Tuesday my father disappeared.”
Tired of living in limbo, Callie finally decides to investigate her father’s disappearance for herself. Maybe there was an accident at the construction site that he oversaw? Maybe he doesn’t remember who he is and is lost wandering somewhere? But after seeing a familiar face in a photo from the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906, she wonders if the answer is something else entirely.
When I talk to authors about their stories, they usually say that there was one idea or theme or feeling that they wanted to explore that turned into a book. What was the idea/theme/feeling that made you want to write Invisible Fault Lines?
I began writing the book while at Wordstock Book Festival in Portland during my travels to publicize my first novel, Fingerprints of You. I knew that I wanted to write a novel about the way we process grief and loss eventually, but I was still waiting for the inspiration to strike. Fingerprints of You was published around the same time David Levithan published Everyday, and we ended up at a handful of the same festivals and events. It was always wonderful to hear him speak and read, but at Wordstock he pulled out his phone and read from his newest manuscript, which was eventually published as Two Boys Kissing. I’ve always loved David’s books, so it makes sense that his work was ended up serving as the light of inspiration. The line that jump-started INVISIBLE FAULT LINES eventually became the epigraph: “How beautiful the ordinary becomes once it disappears.” I tend to begin my novels with events after which nothing will be the same, so his line resonated with me — how our definition of ordinary can shift any moment. It was exactly what I needed to unlock the novel about grief that I’d been hoping to write.
What kind of research did you do while writing Invisible Fault Lines?
I knew early on that the 1906 Great San Francisco Earthquake would play a large role in Callie’s grieving process, so I began collecting books about the event as soon as I started writing. Every book or video that she mentions discovering and studying in the novel are the same resources I used while writing Invisible Fault Lines. In that way, we learned about the event together and became simultaneously fixated on the natural disaster. In 2006, I attended the Mark Klett art exhibit “Rephotographing the San Francisco Earthquake and Fires,” just as Callie does shortly after her father goes missing, and I also used the images in the accompanying book to inspire my own imaginings for Callie’s father. And of course the Internet – I was able to access a lot of images and information on-line, which was helpful.
Callie is looking for her dad, but she’s also grieving – how did you approach balancing the mystery aspects with personal grief in the story?
I always begin writing from a place of curiosity, and with this novel my curiosity was rooted in exploring the various modes we use to cope with grief and loss. But I wanted to write about ambiguous loss – loss when a death cannot be confirmed. It’s a different kind of grief because essentially there is no closure, and that was really interesting to me. How can you move forward when you don’t have closure? How can you process your grief while simultaneously maintaining faith that the person who has disappeared might one day reappear? That balance between grief and hope, between loss and faith, was what drove the storyline for me. Callie is trying to solve the mystery as a way of coping with her grief, so the two elements were inevitably braided together; one fueled the other.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a new novel a based around my curiosity about our current reliance on technology and the environmental and creative effects of that reliance. It’s also about family and fear and art, and right now the manuscript feels fresh and raw and very unlike my other two novels. Essentially, I’m in that equally-terrified-and-excited first draft phase and enjoying every moment!
Thank you so much for having me visit!