Swanky Seventeener Dana Langer recently interviewed Molly Booth, author of SAVING HAMLET, a YA novel coming from Disney/Hyperion on November 1, 2016.
About the Book:
Emma Allen couldn’t be more excited to start her sophomore year. Not only is she the assistant stage manager for the drama club’s production of Hamlet, but her crush Brandon is directing, and she’s rocking a new haircut that’s sure to get his attention. But soon after school starts, everything goes haywire. Emma’s promoted to stage manager with zero experience, her best friend Lulu stops talking to her, and Josh–the adorable soccer boy who’s cast as the lead–turns out to be a disaster. It’s up to Emma to fix it all, but she has no clue where to start.
One night after rehearsal, Emma stays behind to think through her life’s latest crises and distractedly falls through the stage’s trap door . . . landing in the basement of the Globe Theater.
SAVING HAMLET can be preordered here.
About the Author:
Molly Booth grew up homeschooled in Massachusetts, and spent most of her time reading Tamora Pierce novels and pretending to be Redwall characters with her four siblings. In high school, she was a stage manager for three different community theatres, which almost killed her. She went to Bunker Hill Community College first, and then Marlboro College in Vermont, where she studied writing, literature, and Elizabethan history. While there, she wrote the first drafts of Saving Hamlet. Molly now lives in Massachusetts again, with her cat, dog, and one-eyed rat. SAVING HAMLET (Disney Hyperion, 2017) is her debut novel.
You can find Molly online at http://mollybooth.com/
Dana: Your novel focuses on Emma, a young stage manager putting on a production of Hamlet. Of all the plays to choose from, what made Hamlet the right play for Emma’s story?
Molly: When I first read Hamlet freshmen year of college, I connected with the play largely because of Hamlet’s search for identity. His problems are obviously on a much more fantastical scale (veangeful ghost dad), but the language and the heart of his struggle felt very relatable to me. That’s why it felt natural to use Hamlet for Emma! She’s in the throws of trying to figure out who she is, who her friends are, and how all of it fits together.
Dana: Your next book, Nothing Happened, retells Much Ado About Nothing; what made you want to work with that story?
Molly: Nothing Happened takes places at summer camp, where all the major characters of Much Ado are camp counselors. I’d been wanting to write a summer camp story, since so many of my favorite (creative, dramatic, hilarious) high school/college memories happened working as a counselor and teacher at a camp in Massahusetts. Right before I graduated from college, I really fell in love Much Ado About Nothing, and had the idea to adapt it. I love Beatrice and Hero’s relationship — as a sibling of five, I can really relate to Beatrice’s fierce love and protective side. Also, Beatrice and Benedick’s complicated vulnerability and their journey to trusting each other, is adorable and human. I love it a lot. And the there are holes in Much Ado I’ve always wanted to fill — what the hell is behind Claudio’s actions? How deep does Don John’s motivatio go? How does Margaret deal with her accidental part in Hero’s humiliation? It’s such a fun process to bring my own ideas and new elements to this story. (it’s also kind of a really long Shakespeare fan fiction.)
Dana: Because we spoke about it earlier today, if forced to sum up your reaction to Hamlet in emojies, which would you choose? Which would you choose for Saving Hamlet?
Molly: YES TO THIS QUESTION!
SAVING HAMLET: 💇🎭🕳🎇💀🎟👏
Dana: Finally, because we share an agent (the inimitable Alex Slater of Trident Media) I must ask you to please share the story of how you two found each other and/or how you knew he was the right person for you to work with.
Molly: I queried Alex September 2014, and he read my manuscript lightning fast! SAVING HAMLET was ridiculously long back then, so that seemed like a good sign xD. Our first conversation on the phone went really well — he loved Saving Hamlet, but also really got it. And he was on the same page in terms of feminism, LGBTQ representation, etc. I wanted an agent who was excited about the kinds of stories I wanted to write, and Alex was totally that person!
About the Interviewer:
DANA LANGER is a New York based high school teacher. She holds a BA in creative writing and an MA in teaching from Brandeis University where she received the Dafna Zamarripa-Gesundheit Fiction Prize. SIREN SISTERS (Simon&Schuster/Aladdin, 2017) is her debut novel.
Dana can be found online at www.dana-langer.com
SIREN SISTERS can be pre-ordered at amazon.com.