Les Mondes de Clèm: Interview with Ava Dellaira

samedi 27 septembre 2014

Interview with Ava Dellaira


Thank you so much to the very kind Ava Dellaira for answering my questions about Love Letters to the Dead. I really liked her book and I wanted to know more about it Enjoy! 

Why did you choose to write your book in the form of letters to dead people and why to these people?
I’m interested in popular culture, and the way it can create a sense of belonging or a means of understanding oneself and one’s own story through something that feels much bigger. I chose to have Laurel write letters to deceased popular icons as she processes her own personal grief, because, I think, letters signal an outward reaching – a wanting to connect with the world, even if you don’t fully know how yet. A letter is addressed to someone, and whether the letter is ever received or not, there is a hope inherent in writing it, a belief that you could be heard. This felt appropriate for Laurel, who, despite some of the emotions she represses at first, wants very deeply to make connections.

I grew up loving many of the people to whom Laurel writes, and others I discovered in the course of researching and writing the book. But each of the celebrities was carefully chosen for the way in which Laurel’s character connects to their particular struggles and triumphs.

To to what extent do your characters resemble you, and which one are you most like?
I feel (unsurprisingly!) most connected to Laurel. However, there are little pieces of me and of the people I love in all of the characters. The book is fiction, but I drew upon some of my own memories of growing up while writing the story, and many of the characters were originally inspired by some of my own friends and family. But, as the story evolved, the characters grew into their own people.

It's your first book, it has been translated in different languages and is really liked. Did you expect this kind of success?
Hardly! When I was first writing the book, I didn’t know if anyone else would ever read it. Every time I get a message from a reader who says they responded to the story, I feel profoundly grateful. It’s really amazing—more so than I even have words for--to know that people in different parts of the world are connecting with it.

How does writing the screenplay based on your own book take place, and were you asked to write it?
Yes, I was asked to write the screenplay and thus far it’s been a wonderful experience. I feel incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to revisit the characters, and to tell the story in a different medium. While of course there are necessary changes in the translation from book to film, the heart of the story stays.

What are your writing projects for the future?

Looking forward to staring on my second book!

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