Nina LaCour is the author of the William C. Morris Honor Book, “Hold Still”. Los Angeles Times perfectly describes her writing in which they write, “LaCour has a knack for capturing the unique intensity of teenage characters discovering love, sex and intense friendship for the first time while also giving them talents and interests that make moving into adulthood look cool.”
In describing her newest novel, “We Are Okay”, New York Times said her latest book is, “Short, poetic and gorgeously written…The world LaCour creates is fragile but profoundly humane.”
In our conversation today, Nina shares the personal experiences that inspired “We Are Okay”, and how she weaved her experiences with tragedy into her novel “Hold Still”. We discuss why it’s important to immerse yourself in diverse communities, and how to spark inspiration and motivation for your writing by reading short stories.
We cover the importance of brevity in your story and how subplots may distract your readers from the main ideas. For craft-related topics, we talk about writing strong character relationships, writing about grief, and how to write a captivating ending that remains ambiguous. Nina also shares her personal experience querying literary agents the traditional way.
“Sometimes it’s still satisfying to have an ending even if it’s not wrapped up.”
“Trust that the story is what it is and it doesn’t need all of this extra stuff.”
“The work itself is the most important thing.”
What You’ll Learn From This Episode:
- The importance of immersing yourself in diverse communities
- The personal experiences that inspired “We Are Okay”
- Writing about grief
- Writing strong character relationships
- How to write a captivating ending
- How Nina weaved her experiences with tragedy into her novel “Hold Still”
- The importance of brevity in your story and how subplots may distract your readers from the main ideas
- Nina’s experience querying literary agents the traditional way
- How to spark inspiration and motivation for your writing by reading short stories
Learn more about “We Are Okay”
Marin hasn’t spoken to anyone from her old life since the day she left everything behind. No one knows the truth about those final weeks. Not even her best friend Mabel. But even thousands of miles away from the California coast, at college in New York, Marin still feels the pull of the life and tragedy she’s tried to outrun. Now, months later, alone in an emptied dorm for winter break, Marin waits. Mabel is coming to visit and Marin will be forced to face everything that’s been left unsaid and finally confront the loneliness that has made a home in her heart.
An intimate whisper that packs an indelible punch, We Are Okay is Nina LaCour at her finest. This gorgeously crafted and achingly honest portrayal of grief will leave you urgent to reach across any distance to reconnect with the people you love.
Learn More About Nina LaCour
Nina LaCour is the author of the widely acclaimed Hold Still, The Disenchantments, and Everything Leads to You. She is the coauthor, with David Levithan, of You Know Me Well. Formerly a bookseller and high school English teacher, she now writes and parents full time. A San Francisco Bay Area native, Nina lives with her family in Martinez, California.
Nina’s Recommended Books & Resources:
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft by Janet Burroway