Thursday, June 2, 2011

Settling Esther B (Guest post by author Anne Ylvisaker)

Today is beyond thrilling here at Novel and Nouveau - author Anne Yvlisaker is guest posting! Her most recent middle grade novel, The Luck of the Buttons, was released this year. She is also the author of Dear Papa and Little Klein. This past Monday I reviewed The Luck of the Buttons (scroll down two posts) and asked Anne if she would share about the writing of it. Here is what Anne shared:

Settling Esther B

Each time I’ve started a novel, I’ve set out simply to tell the story of a character who captured my imagination, and to explore a turning point in that character’s life.

In the case of The Luck of the Buttons, I’d been thinking a lot about my paternal grandmother when Tugs Esther Button started inhabiting my imagination. Esther Tomina Bunde, Grandma B, has been gone for nearly 14 years, but I miss her every day. She was funny and mischievous, a baseball fan, an adventurous spirit.

One thing always bothered me about Grandma B, though. Grandma was smart, yet she was paralyzingly self-deprecating, adverse to achievement, affected even in old age by repeated admonishments from her father that she not get a swell head. Even after her death, I felt pain for her childhood self.

I saw a picture once of Grandma B as a twelve year old, all limbs and buck-toothed grin, arm in arm with a friend, both in long striped socks, roller skating. That photo is long gone, but while writing The Luck of the Buttons, I imagined Tugs as my grandma in girlhood, faced with the same admonishment, and I imagined my grandma as Tugs, standing up for herself, set free at last to explore her boundless potential.

~ Anne Ylvisaker

A young Grandma B