FAST FORWARD FRIDAY – Caroline Gertler

Hi, Caroline, and welcome to MG Book Village! Your middle grade debut, MANY POINTS OF ME, is one of the first books I’ve read to be released in 2021, and I fell in love with Georgia and her journey to discover who she is after her dad’s death.  Can you share the synopsis with the readers, please?

I’m excited to be here today, Kathie, and I’m glad you loved the book!

MANY POINTS OF ME is about Georgia Rosenbloom, who’s grieving the loss of her father, a famous artist. She feels like she shared so much of him with the world, especially with her best friend, Theo, who’s also an aspiring artist. When Georgia finds a sketch that Dad made of her before he died, she sets out to prove that he intended to paint her for his last, great unfinished painting. Set in New York City, this is a story of creativity, grief, friendship, and finding the many different points of yourself.

One of my favorite things about this story is how clearly the reader feels Georgia’s longing to know that she mattered to her father. Did this story find its inspiration in a character, or was there something else that drove you to write it?

I actually set out to write more of a caper, an art mystery. But as I got to know Georgia and her world better, it became a deeper emotional story of self-discovery. I’m lucky not to have experienced the kind of loss that Georgia has, but when I started writing this book, my family was going through a challenging time, and I dug in to those feelings.

Your passion for art definitely comes through in your writing, and not only do you have a background in art history, but you also give tours at The Met! Is there an aspect of the art world that it was important for you to incorporate into the story?

I love how stories like FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER and UNDER THE EGG and MASTERPIECE give children a magical connection to the Met. I wanted to write my own ode to the Met, which is an institution close to my heart. I wanted to capture the magic of being intimately acquainted with its art and spaces.

I was also intrigued by stories of artists like Mark Rothko and the lesser-known Paul Feeley, who died young, leaving children behind. I wondered what it would be like to grow up in the light (or shadow) of an artist’s legacy.

Lastly, statistics show that women’s artwork comprises a low percentage of the total art market and museum acquisitions and exhibitions. So I made sure to spotlight women artists in the book.

What do you hope a young reader might say after they read your book?

I hope that readers might find empathy for how Georgia treats Theo; some readers might find her unlikable at first. I was particularly interested in writing from the perspective of the friend who’s doing the changing and growing apart, rather than from the perspective of the one being pushed away. Georgia realizes she has many different “points” of herself that can all exist together; I hope understanding that concept helps readers accept their own many points. Life is a process of growth and change and acceptance.

Are you working on another writing project at the moment?

Yes! I’m grateful to have gotten a two-book contract, and my editor is currently reading a draft of my second novel for middle grade readers.

Oh, that’s great news! Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your writing?

Check out my website, www.carolinegertler.com. It includes a virtual tour of Georgia’s New York City world and the Met. I’m also active at instagram, @carolinegertler, and on twitter, @cmgertler.

Thank you so much for joining me today, and I wish you all the best with your book’s release in January!

Thanks to you, Kathie, for these thoughtful questions. MG Book Village is an incredible resource, and you’re so generous and enthusiastic in your support of middle grade authors!

Caroline Gertler has an MA in art history, and gives tours of Old Master paintings at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She is a former children’s book editor, and Many Points of Me is her first novel. Caroline Gertler lives with her family in New York City.

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