We’ve got a really exciting post for you today! Students from Ecole South Sahali in Kamloops interviewed Red Cedar Award nominee Becky Citra, author of Finding Grace, and have shared their interview with us!
1. How did you get the idea for your book?
I am a twin and like Hope and Grace I am very close to my twin. I have written another book about twins, so this is my second one. I also wanted to write about adoption, as my daughter is adopted.
2. Where did you get the inspirations for the characters?
I used to be a teacher and I have a daughter and a stepson, so I have met many young people over the years. I use bits of different people in all of my characters. Hope was the first character that I created and I wanted the twins to be similar but not exactly the same.
3. How did you get the idea of two sisters, not knowing the other existed?
I like to write stories with mysteries in them to keep the readers reading. Hope had to look for clues to find Grace. I have read stories in the news of twins reuniting after many years apart and that has always interested me.
4. Does the book connect to your life story?
I never write about myself exactly, but I need to write about what I know. The novel is all fiction, but it is written about a place that I know well: Harrison Hot Springs. I spent many vacations in Harrison Hot Springs as a young girl, the same age as Hope and Grace. When I was a young girl, a girl in one of my classes had polio and that’s where I got the idea for that.
5. What was the message that you wanted to tell the readers?
When I start writing, that is when the characters and the story come to life. I only re-read it when the book is published. It is then that I ask myself, “what was I trying to say?”. For Finding Grace, it is that different families exist. Grace and her aunt were a family and Hope and her mom and granny were a family. Two different families, but both happy. I also wanted to show that Hope had a lot of determination. She needed that to find her twin.
6. Are there some traits of yourself in the characters?
Yes, I am more like Hope and less like Grace. I had a happier childhood than Hope.
7. Where did you get the idea for the book cover?
The publisher picks the cover and I rarely get asked for input. I usually see the cover when I see the published book. I realize that this cover might only appeal to girls and I had some concerns about that, but I am happy with the cover. Covers are very important.
8. What inspired you to be an author?
I loved reading as a child. I had stacks and stacks of books on the go. We didn’t have as many choices back then, but I always loved reading. I also loved to write and was always writing stories. After I became a teacher, I didn’t write because I didn’t have much time, but I always kept reading. I liked to read stories to my classes and I thought that I could write one. Finally, I started a book and I would write in the early morning. It took me 3 years to write my first book. I wrote it 2 – 3 times; it was a lot of work.
9. What types of books do you like to read?
I read a lot of kids books. I also love mysteries and animal stories.
10. What made you decide to set the story in the 1950’s?
There are a few reasons. I wanted to have Hope look for Grace in a way that wouldn’t be easy like it might be today with the internet. With Grace having polio, the story had to be set in the 1950’s since polio isn’t a disease in Canada today. The third reason was that I wanted to write about Harrison Hot Springs as it would have been when I visited it as a child.
Thanks so much to Melisa Hunter, Teacher-Librarian at Ecole South Sahali, and to her amazing students for this great interview, and a special thanks to Becky Citra for sharing her thoughts with us!
Stay tuned for more great interviews with Red Cedar Award nominees coming soon!