Describe your latest project.
When I was a child, I never felt as free as when my family was on summer vacation. Our parents were preoccupied with their own social lives, so we all got to run wild and take dares and do things we'd never get away with at home. I wrote The Lucky Ones to explore the feelings that such an interlude might evoke in the life of a 12-year-old girl who's hesitating on the brink of growing up, and to whom such an abandoned few weeks, with their unsupervised possibilities, could be almost scary.
How do you feel when your beautiful older sister acts wild and drinks, flirting with boys at the dock in the dark? Why should it feel so exciting and tingly to see a tanned teenaged boy on a boat? What can you do about such feelings? Can any girl learn to flirt? And what if another boy invites you to play an illegal game on the golf course at night, where you're the only girl... do you dare accept?
Ultimately, the book's about excitement and freedom, about finding out who you are, and who you want to be.
If you could choose any story to live in, which story would it be? Why?
"Greene's well-observed novel is part period piece, part coming-of-age story....[O]lder readers will be compelled by Cecile's strong voice..." Publishers Weekly
"[A] gentle, heartwarming chapter book for beginning readers." School Library Journal
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, because when those four children found the other world in the back of the closet and walked into a snowy world, leaving their house behind, I was totally there with them. To enter a fantasy world and be able to go back home. What a concept.
What is your favorite literary first line?
"When Mary Lennox was sent to Miselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle everybody said she was the most disagreeable-looking child ever seen," from The Secret Garden. At nine, not only was I startled by being presented with such an unlikely character, but the second I read, about two sentences later, that her beautiful mother didn't love her, it broke my heart. I was on Mary's side from that moment on.
How did the last good book you read end up in your hands?
It was Old Filth by Jane Gardam. I ending up reading it for the third time after I bought a copy for a friend of mine, held it for a few minutes, then couldn't give it up before I'd re-read it one more time.
What is your idea of bliss?
A good book that draws me in and fills me up, on a comfortable couch, with a good reading light.
When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A newspaper reporter. My grandfather, who was the editor of a large New York City paper, had a black phone in a small closet in his apartment, which we children were warned we should never touch. The City Desk called him on it with hot news. I thought that was totally glamorous.
Why do you write books for kids?
Because falling in love with books when I was a kid was one of the best things that ever happened to me. I want to write books that will do that for today's kids, so they can live the kind of fully realized lives reading contributes to.
Tell us about your pets.
We've had a roster of lizards in our house for more than 15 years. The present leopard gecko, which our son got when he was in the sixth grade, won't die, while our son, in the meantime, just graduated from college. We also have two cats and a wacky dog named Zsa-Zsa who has a mean overbite.
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Stephanie Greene is the author of six books about Owen Foote, as well as Falling into Place and The Show-Off. She lives with her family in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.