Culture

Amanda Hocking

Culture

Amanda Hocking

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I read somewhere you liked Salinger.

AMANDA HOCKING: Yeah.

I wanted to talk to you about him–I feel like he was kind of the one that really talks about that sort of prelapsarian thing… I mean this seems really specific to our generation but like not being able to grow up or feel like we’re adequately prepared. But I feel like that was his theme so I just wanted to know your take on that–

Yeah, I definitely think that people as they get older lose the ability to see the world clearly, that children think of things in different ways and actually see things as they were whereas adults kind of have their own view of things and stuff that blinded them.

Yeah, and it’s a really interested idea that kids sort of get it and understand the world in all of these different proportions and as you get older, you just get further away from the truth. What’s your favorite piece of his?

I love Catcher in the Rye, and also A Perfect Day for Bananafish

Oh yeah, that one is really good. When I read that one, I can never quite… I don’t know…it’s kind of so perfect about suicide. Like, if you know someone who has killed themselves, it’s so abrupt and you don’t really know what happened but at the same time you understand exactly how it happened. It’s very weird.

Yeah, I completely agree. I think that when they write about suicide and stuff…it’s automatic to try and simplify it but it’s not a simple thing.

You feel like he’s kind of solved his problem and, I don’t know, I feel like there’s kind of a feeling of peace. It’s really weird. I feel like it’s very daring. I mean, would you ever consider… I know there’s been this whole thing about people freaking out, like, young adult novels are getting so racy and so dark, I don’t know. But, do you feel like you have a responsibility as a person with so many readers to write about really deep shit about growing up or suicide, that kind of thing? Or do you feel like it’s covered and that it’s not necessarily a writer’s job to talk about that stuff?

I don’t think–I don’t know, I don’t shy away from things that I want to talk about and I get irritated if I think something’s unrealistic. I don’t want to preach. I want to write an interesting book and if I feel like it works of I feel like the story needs, there’s nothing that I would shy away from putting in it.

Is there something that you sort of wish was more discussed in novels in general, not just with young adults but like, in the world?

I wish that there were more books talking about things in a more real application, especially in young adult books, that reflect what’s going on in the world around them- that we don’t realize there’s other stuff going on but not in it’s own boring way, I guess. Another thing that’s lacking is gay characters that aren’t just sidekicks or stereotyped but who are just people who have problems, but the fact that they’re gay is put aside… especially with young adults when they’re writing about gay kids – it’s always like a ‘coming out’ story, which, I know that it makes sense because that’s what happens, but, I don’t know, it would be nice to have more ‘that’s just the way it is’ and have a another story that’s just like a normal story.

Yeah, that’s kind of been a bone of contention. I feel like the gay community–it’s sort of hard because, as a very divided community, it’s hard for people to express what they want in terms of representation and something is always going to be wrong. It’s either going to be like, they’re not treating the characters gay enough or, like, I don’t know, the explicitness of the character being is sort of alienating. but I agree, I’d really like to see more exposure and more complexity and I feel like that we often forsake complex characters in favor of focusing just on their ethnicity or sexuality. Is there anyone you read that, when they’re talking about depression, they’ve really got it down? I’m always looking for an author who really gets it about depression. Do you think that people should, sort of, prescribe literature instead of drugs? Or is that totally an ideological, idealistic thing?

I think that a lot of people experience it the same way. I think that books can be self-medicating. Its a way that you handle stress and deal with your life. It’s based in a way that’s not self-destructive. It can actually help you or solve problems that you’re having. If people could do that, that would be good.

I know, it’s true, because if people just read more Russians, they wouldn’t feel so alone in the world. They’d be like, “Oh yeah, everybody is miserable. Totally.”

Yeah.

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