by Barbara Stewart
This past Friday, December 5, 2014, Marcy and I posted our answers to Barbara’s debut novel The In-Between. Today, you get to read Barbara’s favorite's.
Terrific answers, Barbara! We can’t wait for our readers to read the novel. And hopefully to give us a few of their favorites, too.
What is your favorite line or paragraph from the novel as it relates to the main character's development and/or growth?
Elanor Moss has a hard time recognizing and accepting the successes in her life. There are points during the novel when the reader sees things are looking up for Ellie, but Ellie’s view is always through a distorted lens. I like the following passage because it’s the first time Ellie admits that maybe she doesn’t see her life so clearly. I also like the way she uses the artwork of M.C. Escher to describe how she feels about what’s happening to her.
My favorite was of this castle with all these stairs. When you first look at it, all the people on the stairs are going down, down, down. But if you look long enough, you see that they’re really going up. It’s an illusion, like my life. I can’t tell which way I’m going. I thought for sure I was failing my classes. I thought everyone hated me. And then I get my grades. And then I get invited to Kylie’s party.
Sometimes I think I’m going crazy.
2) What is your favorite chapter ending or cliffhanger?
Things usually end badly for Ellie, so I think the biggest cliffhangers are chapters that end with a small ray of hope. One of my favorites is the last paragraph of a chapter that takes place on Christmas. Ellie and her mom go to a truck stop for dinner, and everything is good between them on the ride home. For the first time in a long time, Ellie doesn’t feel the weight of everything pressing down.
I’d forgotten about Rad and my used-to-be friends and my father and even Madeline. I think my mother was forgetting, too. I think she’d forgotten about my father for a little while and about school and money and my mental problems. It was just the two of us, and the babies inside her, and the future stretched out before us like the dark and snowy highway. We can’t see it, but we have to believe it’s there.
In the end, it’s always about believing.
3) Who is your favorite secondary character and why?
Autumn. Definitely Autumn. She’s kooky and wise and fearless. She embraces her awkwardness and doesn’t care what others think. I love her because she’s a good person and true friend.
4) What is your favorite line or paragraph of description?
One of the challenges in writing this novel was trying to imbue the mundane with loneliness and longing. This is one of my favorite lines:
The tree outside my window is bare except for one single leaf, brown and desiccated, twisting in the wind.
5) What is your favorite line of dialogue?
On the first day of school, Autumn tells Ellie how she can’t wait to get out of Pottsville. She’s never been on a cruise ship, but she wants to work on one. Ellie’s response is a dig at Autumn, but it’s also a realization about her own situation.
“Every place is the same. You know that, right? Nothing will change. You’ll still be you, even in the middle of the ocean.”
Barbara Stewart earned an MFA in creative writing from Wichita State University. She lives with her husband in the Catskill Mountains of New York, where she reads a lot of true crime and crochets way too many scarves. She loves amusement parks and anything with peanut butter. She also loves horror movies—the supernatural kind—thanks to her grandmother. Stewart’s next YA psychological thriller, What We Knew, will be released in July 2015.
To read more about Barbara Stewart and her debut novel, The In-Between, please go to: