Saturday, July 10, 2010

Introducing 2011: Gae Polisner

Gae's debut novel, The Pull of Gravity, will be published by Farrar Straus and Giroux in spring 2011!


1. Can you give a brief summary of THE PULL OF GRAVITY?

I would love to. Here’s some rough jacket copy I’ve been working on. (Tell the truth: what do you think of it?):

“So?” Her cool blue eyes stare into me.

“I gotta go,” I say.

She follows me downstairs, unlocks the front door, and walks out into the fresh air. Jeremy is just pulling around the corner in Dad’s blue car.

“Nick? Yes or no? Are you in?”

I shake my head at how crazy it all is, but even as I do, I know.

“Jaycee, why are you even asking? Do I really have a choice?”

“No,” she smiles, “No choice at all.”

Nick Gardner is having a rough year. His brother’s a jerk, his big fat dad has hit the road, and his sort-of best friend is dying.

When a feverish hallucination puts Nick on a collision course with a water tower, a television news crew, and one Jaycee Amato, a girl with Siberian Husky eyes, his whole life begins to change. Together, they set out on a secret journey to keep a promise to their dying friend.

Will they accomplish what they set out for, or merely discover the beauty of Steinbeck, the crappy truth about plans and a few small facts about gravity?

The Pull of Gravity is a coming-of-age story about first love, friendship, and the true nature of family.

2. Did you put any parts of people you know in real life into your main characters Nick and Jaycee?

Nick has bits of both my sons in him. He’s kind of a mix of how I thought they might be at his age. One of them IS his age now, but I haven’t gotten to see him yet with girls, so that part I don’t know. Jaycee is how I wish I was as a teen. She’s quirky and a bit of a wiseass, but she’s fearless and funny. And she tries to hide her vulnerability. That is definitely me. Then and now.

3. In what ways is Steinbeck a part of your novel?

I love that you ask this question! Thank you. The book Of Mice and Men – still one of top required reading assignments in high schools around the U.S. – factors strongly into the story. I don’t want to give away how or why, but suffice it to say, Jaycee loves the book and reads parts aloud to Nick while he’s a captive audience “trapped” on a bus.

Ultimately, one of the huge messages in the book plays out in their adventure. In rereading Of Mice and Men for my story, I had a new appreciation for Steinbeck and what he was able to do in a mere 100 pages! (Of Mice and Men is really a novella). Have you read it?

4. What is one book you think every teenager should read?

You’ll age me here! I still think every teen should read The Outsiders (and my son did recently read it and loved it, so I guess it still resonates). Also, The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak is an amazing book. I love K.L. Going’s books – her MG book The Liberation of Gabriel King is one of my all-time favorites, and her upper YA St. Iggy I couldn’t put down. Still have more of hers to read. My reading pile is HUGE. I write (and read) both YA and women’s fiction. I can’t keep up!

5. How did you come up with the title, THE PULL OF GRAVITY?

It comes from a Yoda quote from one of the Star Wars movies that The Scoot -- Nick and Jaycee’s friend who is dying in the book -- says to Nick. You’ll have to read the book to know which quote. :)


Thanks so much, Gae!

Click here to visit her website!


  1. Wow, her book sounds super interesting and I totally love that she pulled from Steinbeck - he's amazing! Thanks for the awesome interview!

  2. Great interview, Gae. Makes me want to read the book even more!

  3. Love this interview and I can't wait to read this book! I'm really looking forward to reading how you incorporated Steinbeck in your storyline, both the excerpts & the message -- I love Of Mice and Men! And I totally agree with you that The Outsiders is a must read. :)

    Thanks, Gae & Kelsey, for a great interview!

  4. Great interview! I love Steinbeck's short stories. He really does know how to say a lot with few words.

    ... standing by to pre-order The Pull of Gravity...

  5. The Pull of Gravity (AWESOME title, btw) sounds so good! I will be on the lookout for this one...

  6. I think Gae has an amazing writing style and can't wait to read this book!

  7. Great interview!!!--Will keep an eye out for this one!!!

  8. I'll definitely have to check out Pull of Gravity! I love that you're featuring 2011 authors, Kelsey.

  9. and I love that there are so many of you out there championing new authors and YA fiction. How awesome are you guys?!

    Thanks Kelsey for featuring me, and the rest of you for all the positive feedback. It's exciting to think of you all reading and giving your thoughts one day soon.

    And to my fellow 2k11'ers, right back atcha! :) <3

  10. Gae is a GORGEOUS writer, with a lot to say. I look forward to gifting everyone I know with a copy of her book(s)--I say books, because I know that it's only a matter of time before her other works in progress become published. I love that Steinbeck is being honored in Gae's book, and love her plot & characters.

  11. Great interview - I hadn't heard about this book but I'll definitely be adding it to my wishlist now. I have to confess I actually hated Of Mice and Men when I read it at school, but maybe this book will make me reconsider that too. :)

  12. Lauren, me too! Well, not hated, but didn't care. I reread it as a grown up (read, way old ;)) to write this book and appreciated it much more. Sort of the way I appreciate Beatle lyrics for how much they can make you feel in such a simple way in very few words.

    I hope Jaycee (and Nick!) make you want to reread it again. Or, have fonder memories of it.


    p.s. Lori, thanks for the very kind words.

  13. Gae, how many revisions did you have to do on this until you had the story and the ending that you wanted?

  14. After my original agent read an early draft, she had me do a revision and I changed the whole ending and made it better. Then FSG first passed on the book (my editor LOVED it, but another editor in house did not and she wanted full house support) and my agent had me do a rewrite and change the chronology. FSG took the book at that point, BUT my editor wanted it restored to the chronology of the original version (and my new agent agreed) (while keeping some of the good additions I had made to the story overall). So I did another rewrite. The rest were just smaller revisions. So, is that like three? But then several smaller edits. It's definitely a process, but for most writers, that process makes a better book. Few of us can write a really good book without several rewrites, and not cursory ones at that. I remind myself of that with every rewrite that is requested of me: that this is making the book better. :)

  15. The summary makes me really want to read the book. I really enjoyed the interview... I appreciate you putting parts of classic literature into your contemporary novel, and I also love Star Wars.

    I am definitely looking forward to The Pull of Gravity now!


  16. Jane,

    you have no idea how exciting it is as a first time author to read that the book sounds good to you and that you're excited about the incorporation of classic literature into it (and Star Wars! :)). FYI, I have two boys, ages 12 and 15, and they both thought it was so cool when the permission letter from Lucasfilm came in giving me permission to use the quotes AND asking for a copy of the book when it comes out! They thought that was cooler than me getting the book deal, although they think that's pretty cool too.



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