Today author Hillary Frank visits The Hiding Spot to discuss her novel THE VIEW FROM THE TOP. You can read my review of her fantastic novel HERE.
Hillary Frank is a freelance writer based in Philadelphia. She is the author and illustrator of the novels “Better Than Running at Night,” “I Can’t Tell You,” and “The View From the Top.”
Hillary is also an independent producer for a variety of programs on public radio.
Her work has aired on This American Life, Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Studio 360, Marketplace, Day to Day, Weekend America, and Chicago Matters. She has won awards for her radio stories from the Association for Women in Communications, the National Mental Health Association, and the Third Coast International Audio Festival, one of the highest honors in public radio.
Hillary has taught courses and workshops to young and grown adults at Loyola University, River Oak Arts, Off Campus Writers’ Workshop, and the City of Chicago’s inner city writing program Words37. She has also appeared as a guest speaker at many schools and libraries, including the New York Public Library, the Brooklyn Public Library, the Chicago Public Library, Tufts University, Simmons College, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and high schools around the country. Both Hillary’s first novel and her first radio story started as unsolicited submissions, which she hopes is proof to aspiring writers that getting published really is possible.
Give a short statement describing A VIEW FROM THE TOP.
Whenever I write a book, I am trying to answer a question I have about how life works. For THE VIEW FROM THE TOP, that question was: Why, as teenagers (sometimes as adults, too), do we feel so alone, when really in the big picture we’re all going through the same things?
What did writing the novel from the point-of-view of six different characters enable you to convey that one POV wouldn’t have allowed.
By writing the novel from the point-of-view of six different characters, I hoped to convey that while externally these characters may seem very different, internally they are having a lot of the same feelings and insecurities.
Which character did you find easiest to write? Hardest?
Matt was probably the easiest because he’s a little more of a caricature than the others. Everyone else was about the same degree of difficulty. But the hardest scene to write was the “Mrs. Robinson” scene between Jonah and Matt’s mom. It was tricky to do it in a way that felt real.
If you were to write a full novel that featured just one of the six characters, which would you choose and why.
Well, I sort of feel like the entire book is really about Anabelle. But if I were to explore another one of the characters in more depth it would probably be Tobin because I think I could do more surprising things with him than with the others.
Anabelle is “the one that ties them all together.” What is it about Anabelle that the five other characters find so alluring?
I think each character sees a quality in Anabelle that they want for themselves. For Tobin, it’s her ability to fit in; for Jonah, it’s her purity; for Lexi, it’s her confidence; for Matt, it’s her talent; for Mary-Tyler, it’s her lack of wealth. In one way or another, each character is projecting his or her desires and fears on Anabelle. I think Anabelle is the sort of person who makes this easy for people because she is so genuine, curious, and caring.
Can you tell us anything about your next YA novel?
Not yet… but I’ve just launched an exciting new radio fiction project called The Truth.
Here’s a link to our Facebook page:
My blog is dedicated to my personal hiding spot, books. Who, what, or where can be credited as your personal escape from reality?
I love a good TV series. Some favorites have been Freaks and Geeks, The Wire, and Lost. Right now I’m enjoying the 4th season of Friday Night Lights. That recent episode where Matt Saracen buries his dad just kills me. The acting, the writing–amazing. And, since I just had a baby, I’ve been getting a kick out of Parenthood and Modern Family. I could watch the Modern Family pigeon scene over and over again.