FAST FORWARD FRIDAY – Yvette Clark

Kathie: Welcome to Fast Forward Friday, Yvette, I’m so happy to have you here today. Your debut novel, GLITTER GETS EVERYWHERE, will be released on May 4th with HarperCollins. I recently had a chance to read an eARC, and I LOVED this story. Can you please tell our readers a bit about it?

Yvette: Thank you for having me, Kathie, and for your kind words about my book. I’m delighted you enjoyed it, and I’m so pleased to have a chance to chat with you today.

In GLITTER GETS EVERYWHERE, ten-year-old Londoner Kitty Wentworth, her infuriatingly perfect older sister, Imogen, and her devastated father are struggling to come to terms with her mother’s recent death. Surrounded by a group of quirky, affectionate characters, including a fun next-door neighbor who hopes to heal the family through her baking, a loving grandmother, and a loyal best friend, Kitty attempts to navigate life without her beloved Mum. When Kitty’s dad announces that the family is temporarily moving from London to New York City, Kitty’s new normal comes crashing down. Why does everything have to keep changing when all Kitty wants to do is turn back the clock? It takes the care and patience of the people who love her, the wise words her mum left in a series of birthday letters, and the friendship of a blue-haired boy to bring the color back into Kitty’s life. While grief, like glitter, does indeed get everywhere, Kitty learns that so do love and hope.

Kathie: I really loved that we got to spend a lot of time in London understanding Kitty’s life there before we travelled with her to New York. It gave us a better sense of how different life in New York was for her. How much of Kitty’s experience moving overseas is based on your own, and what was that adjustment like for you?

Yvette: For me, London and New York City are like characters in the story, which is one of the reasons I was delighted to see both skylines feature on the beautiful cover! I’ve raised my children in both cities. It was fun to write a book that captured some of the differences and similarities between the two places—the school systems, the cultural references, the energy of the two cities, and of course, the sometimes unexpected language differences! When I was Kitty’s age, one of my favorite books was Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing by the incredible Judy Blume. Growing up in a sleepy village in England, I was fascinated to read about life as a kid in New York City. I wanted to be surrounded by soaring skyscrapers, not flat fields. I’ve lived in New York City for many years but getting a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty, the steam that comes out of the street, and even lines of yellow cabs still takes my breath away at times. That said, I love London and miss it desperately. Due to the pandemic, I haven’t been there for over eighteen months. I may just kiss the ground when I finally land at Heathrow, with a mask on, of course!

Kathie: I love stories where there are supportive adults helping kids through difficult times, and I especially appreciated how you normalized the therapy experience. Which of the adult characters is most like you?

Yvette: Me too! There is definitely a bit of me in every character in the book, both the adults and the children. I hadn’t thought specifically about which adult I am most like until you asked this question, but the answer is probably Kitty’s grandmother. I love the relationship Gran has with Kitty. I do wish I could bake like Mrs. Allison, though! Kitty’s mum assembles a support network for her daughters before she dies, and having therapists as part of that support system was important to me. 

Kathie: Kids often enjoy reading “sad” books, and although this book has grief as a central theme, I’m not sure I’d classify it as a “sad” book because of all the hope in it. What are your thoughts?

Yvette: My favorite stories are ones that make you laugh and cry, and that was what I set out to write. Readers have told me that they were in floods of tears but also laughed out loud while reading the story—I certainly did while writing it! I tried to introduce moments of light, humor, and hope throughout the book, particularly after some of the darkest times, for example, the appearance of Sir Lancelot, the flatulent French bulldog after Kitty’s mum’s funeral—that chapter is appropriately entitled Light Relief. I love the fact that many middle grade books tackle difficult topics in stories underpinned by hope.

Kathie: This story takes a very in-depth look at the grieving process, and the many faces of it. What sort of research did you do to understand how a young person may deal with it?

Yvette: I did a lot of research about the grieving process, specifically into tweens and teens grieving the loss of a parent. I read and watched interviews with dozens of young people who spoke honestly and heart-breakingly about the different stages of their grief journeys. I’m fortunate to have both my parents, but a dear friend of mine died when I was Kitty’s age. She was brilliant and sweet and funny. Her name was Laura, and I named Kitty’s mum after her. I can recall my feelings of shock, grief, anger, and despair as clearly as if it were yesterday. I still find grief glitter everywhere, but now, it mostly brings back happy memories of my friend and makes me smile.

Kathie: What’s one thing you learned in the process of writing and publishing this book that you didn’t know before?

Yvette: The most surprising and delightful part of the journey is how supportive, generous, and encouraging the writing community is. I was fortunate enough to get wonderful blurbs from amazing authors. I was blown away that some of my writing idols not only read but also loved my book. I’m eternally grateful to be part of the community of 2021 debut authors. I feel about this group the way I feel about the group of friends I met when I had my first child—you go through all these experiences together for the first time and form lifelong bonds. I have loved getting to know other authors, librarians, teachers, parents, and of course, my wonderful readers. 

Kathie: Are you working on another writing project at the moment?

Yvette: Yes! I’m currently writing my next middle grade novel, which is scheduled for release in 2023 from HarperCollins. I’m so happy to be working with my brilliant editor, Tara Weikum, again. 

Kathie: Where can our readers go to find out more about you and your writing?

Yvette: Please visit me online at www.yvetteclark.com, or find me on Twitter @yvettewrites.

I’d love for you and your readers to join me for my virtual book launch hosted by the legendary Books of Wonder at 1 PM EST on May 8th. I’ll be in conversation with the fabulous Ali Standish. You can sign up at https://booksofwonder.com/blogs/upcoming/launch-https://www.yvetteclark.com/event-for-glitter-gets-everywhere-by-yvette-clark

Kathie: Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Yvette, and I hope young readers enjoy this book as much as I did.

Yvette: Thank you, Kathie, and thanks for all the support that you and the MGBookVillage team give to authors. I hope young readers find joy and hope in Kitty’s story. I truly loved writing every word.

Yvette Clark is the author of novels for young readers. GLITTER GETS EVERYWHERE, her debut middle-grade novel, will be published by HarperCollins in May 2021. A Brit by birth and a New Yorker by design, Yvette lives in Manhattan with her husband, two teenagers, and a small blue cat. She loves reading, writing, trampolining, singing and cooking, and plans one day to attempt doing them all at the same time! Yvette is proud to be a mentor for a fantastic organization called Girls Write Now. Find out more about them here: www.girlswritenow.org

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