The Passed Note Issue 4 June 2017 - Page 12

sense of the novel, the characters, of the kind of book that it’s going to be.

SRJ: Stephanie is such an American teen girl. I often found myself giggling at her because she was so relatable. Where did her voice come from?

CD: Stephanie is a hybrid of me and my sister. In fact, in all the writing I’ve done, Stephanie is the only character whose temperament and world outlook are exactly like my own. There are a few places in the book that boil down, essentially, to my inner monologue. I, of course, didn’t realize this as I was writing the book, but when I come back to it now, it’s right there for me to see.

But also, a big part of Stephanie is her humor. There, she is mostly my sister, who is a very funny person, with what I’ll call an American dry wit. She has an idiosyncratic sense of humor, but one that has always cracked me and our brother up. One thing I drew on explicitly was my sister’s ability to pick just the right word for summarizing a situation or an emotional moment with a combination of gravity, irony and hilarity. Some of that comes naturally when you get into the flow of working on the character, but other times I asked myself, well, what would Lis say?

One thing that’s strange about reading the book, as the writer - and I’ve read it … 25 times - is laughing at my own jokes. And I’ll laugh hard. I also getgoose-