Interview with Nina Revoyr


Marguerite Alberts, Staff Writer

Author Nina Revoyr came to Beverly on Tuesday, June 6 in order to take part in the Hero Project, hosted by English teacher Julie Goler. Highlights sat down with Revoyr for an exclusive interview.

Highlights: How long did it take to write the book?

Revoyr: That’s a complicated question. On the one hand, it took about three years, but in reality it took much longer. Because I had written pieces of it back in college but I couldn’t get it to come together. It took some time, some growing up, some experience writing other books. Theoretically it took at twenty years, but actual writing took about three.  It started as a short story and a lot of times I’ll work on things I think it will be sort, but a lot of times the story form can’t contain all of the things I want to do. Three of my four books started out as stories. So it either means I really like to write novels, or I am really bad at writing stories.

H: When you sit down to write a book, do you have an outline or are you writing freestyle?

R: I usually have characters and a situation. I don’t like the outline because for me it tends to strait jacket the characters and the story. I want to give them a chance to develop on their own. I usually plan two or three steps ahead and that’s it.

H: What is your writing process?

R: When I know I am writing on a book, I start with a series of questions that will keep me curious for the time it will take to answer them. I like having question that will keep me interested for several years. I write to find out the answers.

H: Was Brett based off of your own dog Russell?

R: Yes. That’s the only character that is a really direct representation of a real life source. He has gained an ego through out all of this.

H: Was it autobiographical?

R: A lot of the foundation of the story of Michelle living in Wisconsin, being a mix-raced immigrant kid and living with her grandparents was autobiographical but the story itself was fiction.

H: What was your inspiration for the plot-line?

R: I did have some of the same experiences that Michelle had but left when I was nine to move to California but always wondered what would have happened if I was stuck staying there. That was the main question I was trying to play with.

H: Did you base your characters off anyone in real life?

R: Sure, often there will be some basis but it’s kind of like you might take characteristics from two or three different people and combine them to create their own thing. For example, with a character like Brett, it’s almost like you took a clipping off of a plant, put it different soil, and it becomes a whole new separate being.

H: Would you consider writing an experiment?

R: Writing is always an experiment. If I know too much ahead of time it’s not that interesting, I want there to be some uncertainty, some mystery so I can figure out what can happen.

H: Is the ending as much of a surprise to you as it is to the readers?

R: I tend to figure out the ending somewhere in the middle or two thirds the way through the book, but not always sometimes I am always surprised. The trick with the ending, I think endings are really important, you always want something to happen in the story that is both surprising and inevitable. You can’t predict it but when it happens it completely makes sense.

H: What messages did you try to get across with “Wingshooters”?

R: You never want, a book if it does it’s job should not be ale to be reduced to a simple message or a theme. You want the whole story to explain what you mean. I would want people to think about is to not reduce people to labels., to try and see the complexity in everybody, to not dismiss people who are different from you just because they are different. To try and see things from other people s point of view and to spend a lot of time outside playing with your dog. Love comes from unexpected sources.


  1. I didn’t know what the book in question was until the last question. You probably should have established that immediately, instead of closing with it. By the end, I should have been pretty confident about what I was reading about.

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