I’m happy to host Natasha Friend on my blog today as part of the Sunday Street Team!
Where did you get the inspiration for Anna (the character) or Anna’s story?
Like Anna, I grew up with a clinically depressed mom. I never talked about it, and I never asked for help; I just coped the best I could. I wanted to write a book that encapsulated the feelings of a teenage girl coping with her mother’s depression—the shame, guilt, frustration, fear, sadness, and anger—in the hope that Anna’s story would both start a dialogue about mental illness, and show readers in similar situations that they are not alone.
What’s your favorite food? (curious minds want to know 😉 )
Mexican! Fish tacos, black beans, chips, salsa fresca, and lots of guac.
While writing, did you listen to music? What songs were on your playlist?
I have to write in absolute silence, but when I’m not writing I use music for inspiration. For WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME I made a fearless female playlist. “Follow Your Heart” by Kacey Musgraves. “We R Who We R” by Ke$ha. “Girl on Fire” by Alicia Keys. “I Look So Good (Without You)” by Jessie James. “Hit Me With Your Best Shot” by Pat Benatar. The list goes on.
Did Anna have a mantra/motto? If so, what was it? If not, is there a specific quote that you think describes her personality/determination?
At the beginning of the book, Anna’s mantras are all related to her mom. I will not think about my mother, I will not think about my mother, I will not think about my mother. I prefer to think of Anna at the end of the book, when she’s up on stage in her rainbow halter dress. “I lift my chin and let the words soar out over everyone’s heads, like I don’t care who hears me.”
Do any of the characters in this book remind you of a younger you?
There’s a bit of me in every character I write. My younger self can relate to Anna, certainly, in dealing with her mom’s depression. But I can connect to Dani, too. I remember leaving childhood friends behind, moving on to new, “cooler” friends. I’m not always proud, looking back. I cringe a little at my former self, but the cringing allows me to write honestly.
Are you currently working on another book? If so, are you able to give us any hints? 🙂
I just finished a new one! THE OTHER F-WORD (which will hit bookstores in winter ’17) is a departure for me. Not only is the story written in the third person, but it’s also told from shifting points of view. Milo and Hollis are half siblings who met once when they were younger and have reconnected as teenagers to search for their sperm donor.
What’s one of the strangest things you had to research while writing WYFM?
I had to research where a bunch of sorority girls might go to ride a mechanical bull in Atlanta, Georgia, and how long a first-time bull rider might be able to hang on before she flies off.
If you had to describe WYFM in 6 words, what would you say?
Honest, raw, heart-breaking, funny, and hopeful.