Insert trumpets and drums and flutes and all sort of other wonderful instruments, because I bring to you my VERY FIRST AUTHOR INTERVIEW! Robin Brande, author of award winning and nominated books Fat Cat and Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature has agreed to answer some questions regarding her two books and what influenced her writing. So I give you a moment to check out my reviews of these two books.
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Done? Okay, without further ado, Robin Brande.

1. I see on your blog that Fat Cat was named an Honor Books for this year’s Michigan Library Association’s Thumbs Up Award for Best Young Adult Fiction. You won that award in 2008 for Evolution, Me, and Other Freaks of Nature. Why do you think your books appeal to readers so much?

I try to write the kinds of books I would have wanted to read when I was 15. I’m always happy when someone else enjoys them, too! Those Michigan Library Association awards are a big honor for me. I really appreciate the recognition.

2. I’m sensing an evolution theme between your two novels. Why do you find topic of particular interest and what about that topic inspires you? Is your next novel going to contain an evolution angle as well?

I’m interested in personal evolution–in people growing and blossoming and changing. I love to write about girls who start out shy or insecure, and who learn to step into their power. That’s a very meaningful theme for me.

3. What do you believe regarding evolution and vegetarianism? Do you find your own beliefs influencing how you write or prejudicing yourself against a character with a viewpoint that differs from your own?

Sometimes I go into a book not knowing what I, personally, believe about a topic. I use the research and the writing to figure it out for myself on paper.

I grew up in a church very much like Mena’s in EVOLUTION, ME & OTHER FREAKS OF NATURE, and had her same kinds of issues with trying to reconcile the Bible and Darwin. It was interesting for me to write about her journey–it was the first time I’d really sat down and thought through all the aspects of scientific fact vs. religious faith. Very eye-opening for me!

As for vegetarianism, I had absolutely no idea that Cat in FAT CAT would explore that–it’s just something that came out of all the intense research I did into food and health. In the course of writing that book, I tried all of the food experiments Cat did so I could write about them accurately. And in the end I became convinced that eating a plant-based diet is the smartest way to go–for my health, the health of the environment, and the welfare of animals. It was a life-changing writing experience for me! I love it when writing a book teaches me something new.

4. Both Cat and Mena seem set on not having sex before marriage, but I know that wasn’t the case in my high school. Some people have also said that they thought the subplot involving Cat’s romantic life in Fat Cat wasn’t necessary to the story. Having a romance in both of your books, do you think a romance is necessary in a book for teenage girls? Was it a concious decision to make your main characters take a vow of charity — I mean chastity? 🙂 (Note to readers: If you read Fat Cat, or even my review, you’d get that joke.)

I don’t know if having a romance in a book is necessary for teenage girls, but it’s sure necessary for me. I love love. I need it in my books! Again, I’m writing for the 15-year-old still inside me, and she needs some kissing to go along with her science.

As for the chastity thing, there are plenty of young adult books out there with the characters having sex–no one needs more of that from me. I’m happy to write stories with teenage heroines who have made the deliberate decision to wait. Judging from the letters I’ve gotten from teen readers, I know there are a lot of girls out there who appreciate that!

5. What was your science fair project in school? Where did you get all those wonderfully involved ideas for your story?

*cough**secret* I HATED science in school. Science was boring and too hard. Blech. It’s only been in these last few years that I’ve become a total fan of science. I love it now. Is it too late for me to enter a science fair?

Does this interview leave you wanting more? Then head on over to YA, Y Not! where you can see answers to more questions. Thanks again ever so much Robin for taking the time to answer these.