One of the most hotly anticipated debuts of 2016 has finally hit the shelves and today I’m lucky enough to interview the author behind This Is Where It Ends, the very lovely Marieke Nijkamp. You may already know her from her brilliant work at DiversifYA (which I thoroughly recommend you check out if you haven’t already!) but today we’re going to be hearing more about her debut novel, her writing process and a bit about her must-read books of 2016.
1. Hi Marieke, and welcome to Writing from the Tub! In case any readers haven’t heard about This Is Where It Ends, can you tell me a little bit about it?
This Is Where It Ends takes place over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a high school shooting and follows four teens, who all have their own reasons to fear the boy with the gun.
2. Talk me through an average day when you’re working on a novel. Do you have a set number of words you try to write per day or do you set yourself different targets?
Ooh, I’m not sure there’s such a thing as an average day. It depends on whether or not I’m working on the day job, whether or not I’m traveling, and all of that. Some days, I write in the nooks and crannies of time. Other days, I can write for hours. So it depends a lot! But I do try to write daily or, on days when I really can’t for whatever reason, I do at least try to do book stuff (answer emails, promo, plotting, scheming, etc.)
3. Some writers take great inspiration from music while they’re writing whereas some see it as a distraction. Do you listen to music while you’re writing? If so, which artists/bands do you like to listen to for inspiration?
Let’s be honest, right now I’m probably just listening to Hamilton on loop, because is there even any other music anymore? If I need instrumental music to write to instead, though, I listen a lot to Mattia Cupelli’s amazing compositions. I also love indie bands and I’m a big soundtrack geek, so I usually go for something that matches the mood of the story. For This Is Where It Ends, for example, I listen to The Fray’s How To Save A Life a lot, as well as Five for Fighting.
4. Is naming characters important to you? What processes do you go through to come up with names for your characters?
I spent a lot of time on naming websites to find the exact right name. I don’t always care about meaning – although if the name’s meaning matches the character, so much the better, but I do want to find the right tone, the right balance, the right vibe.
5. Do you think your teenage years have influenced you as a writer? If so, how?
Well I was writing as a teen, so in that sense, yes. It was a great time to get a lot of not-very-great words and stories out of the way!
6. Which books do you think we should be looking out for in 2016?
Oh my goodness, so many! But a few in particular I’m so excited about (and cannot wait to read myself): Heidi Heilig’s THE GIRL FROM EVERYWHERE because time travel and pirates! Jeff Garvin’s SYMPTOMS OF BEING HUMAN, because genderqueer main character FTW! And I can’t wait to read GENA/FINN because fan fiction was an influential part of my life too.
7. Aside from writing, how do you like to spend your free time?
I love to travel! These days, I travel a lot for conferences and book festivals, which is a great opportunity to explore new places! But I also love to spend time in cities, go walking in the hills or mountains, spend days on trains… I love seeing the world!
8. Thank you so much for your time, Marieke. Before you go, could you tell me about any projects you have in the pipeline we can look out for?
There are two main stories I’m working on right now. One I’m drafting, that deals with friendship, grief, and never-ending nights. One I’m revising, that’s about war and family and the deepest betrayals. Both are entirely different, entirely mine, and I love them so much!
About the author: Marieke Nijkamp is a storyteller, dreamer, globe-trotter, geek. She holds degrees in philosophy, history, and medieval studies. Her debut young adult novel This Is Where It Ends was published by Sourcebooks Fire on January 5, 2016.
About This Is Where It Ends: This Is Where It Ends takes place over the course of the fifty-four minutes of a high school shooting and follows four teens, who all have their own reasons to fear the boy with the gun.