Going from urban to rural overnight is enough to culture shock
anyone, especially a 15 year-old girl. These are the circumstances in Laurel Woiwode’s first book, Past Darkness
Q: Your main character,
Gabrielle, is a 15 year-old forced to relocate from Chicago to North Dakota.
Why did you choose the setting of North Dakota?
I grew up in North Dakota, and have
always thought it is a beautiful area. It is also close to the last place that
most urban people want to go, so it seemed like an interesting way to combine
writing about an area I’m familiar with and adding some extra conflict.
Q: Your book touches on
the power of music. Are you a musician?
I am an amateur musician. I grew up
in a family that enjoys listening to and playing music, and I took violin and
piano lessons. I have always been fascinated by the power of music. It is a
universal language, one that is able to bring people together.
Q: Why do you think this
book will resonate with young readers?
I think many young people feel that
they don’t fit in, and this feeling is not helped by our society, which seems
to force people into boxes and categories. We are all individuals, and
individuality should be enjoyed, not frowned upon. I think my book might show
people that one can live outside the box—for whatever reason—and life will
still turn out okay in the end.
Q: How did you get inside
of the mind of teenage Gabrielle?
For most of the story, I didn’t
specifically think of Gabrielle’s age. She remains immature in some ways and
older beyond her years in others for quite a while. I was, of course, a
teenager myself at one time, so I was able to use personal experience. However,
I found it more useful to focus on her as a character and how she would act or
react in certain situations without considering her age.