Y'all, we love Rebecca Serle so much, we can barely handle it. So when she asked if we could chat about her latest book, we said OBVS. Check out our delightful convo below, and look for Posh's review of The Edge of Falling this Friday!
How was the process of writing The Edge of Falling different than When You Were Mine?
When You Were Mine was such a personal story for me. Rosaline is so much of who I was, and the experiences I went through-- both in HS, and after. I poured myself into that character, and that book, and while it wasn't the first novel I ever wrote, it was my first published book, and it will always have a very, very special place in my heart.
The Edge of Falling was so different. I feel like this book shaped ME, not the other way around. Caggie revealed herself to me as we went. I couldn't push her-- she evolved in her own time. It was a tough book to write, because she's going through some heavy stuff, but I felt very along for the ride on this one. I'm not even sure who wrote it half the time, honestly. I go back and read sections and think-- was that me? It's strange, but kind of glorious. I feel like I taught Rosaline a lot. I feel like Caggie taught me everything.
Boytalk: let's talk about Rob, Len, and Astor, the three boys in the books you've written (so far). They are all so different. What draws you (and Rosaline and Caggie) to their different characters?
Gah! Rob-- well, listen. Rob is a nice guy. I think he probably loved Rosaline in his own way. He just wasn't her One, you know? I love Len. I love how he's really confident and deep and yet sarcastic and kind of hidden. I liked the boys like Rob in HS but I learned pretty quickly it's the ones like Len who are the real Romeos (and heart breakers, frankly, but we'll get to that in the twenty-something years).
The Edge of Falling introduces two new boys--- Trevor, and Astor. Trevor is the dream high school sweetheart. I love him. There isn't really much more to say about that. Astor is incredibly complicated and sexy and dangerous. And in a way I don't think Caggie could go through what she does, and end up where she does, without him.
The Edge of Falling tackles some deep issues- grief, loss, death, family- what's the most challenging part of writing about difficult issues for a young (or forever young) audience?
I never sit down and think about the fact that I'm writing heavy or "adult" issues for a teen audience. These are human issues for a human audience. Teens are so much more aware and keyed-in than we give them credit for. I think the book was challenging simply because it does deal with heavy issues. Grief and loss are such deep, universal themes. Like heartbreak, we all feel a version of the same thing when we go through them. That's why books can resonate-- because it's a shared experience. I hope readers ultimately feel that. Grief can be so isolating, so scary and terrifying. I just want my readers to feel less alone.
Talk a bit about the Catcher in the Rye connection with The Edge of Falling.
Caggie Caulfield, my protagonist, is the maybe-granddaughter of Holden Caulfield. I always loved Catcher, and using the book felt right and true to the story I wanted to tell. Caggie is dealing with many of the same themes Holden is-- what it means to be a hero, how to grow up, how to let go, etc. I've done two novels that take the framework of a classic and kind of spin them off into something else. I draw a ton of inspiration from books I loved growing up, and sometimes it just feels fitting to pay them tribute.
New York City is almost a character in The Edge of Falling; the city really comes alive for Caggie in her time of mourning. Did you have any special NY experiences that inspired the book, or a particular sequence of the book?
That is the best compliment! I remember when people used to say that about SATC or Gossip Girl-- that the city was another character. Love! The Edge of Falling is 100% my love letter to New York. I've spent time here my whole life, and lived in Manhattan for seven years, but it's only now that I feel comfortable setting a book here. To get a place right-- particularly a place like New York (are there other places like NY?) you have to really, really know it. The rhythm of it. How it breathes. I love this city like a family member, a crazy lover, a best friend. Every single thing that has happened to me here has inspired, in some way, this novel. But Caggie does one particular thing I used to do a lot here-- you'll see if you read
You can go to one place in NYC with your crush. Where do you go?
My favorite New York date is still walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It's romantic, cinematic, and if the weather is right-- a really perfect way to watch the sunset. I've been on quite a few pretty epic dates in New York. The Otheroom is one of my favorite NY date spots-- it's super romantic (ah, memories). If you are not yet of drinking age Rubirosa is my favorite date restaurant-- it's a pizza place in Soho that is fun, authentic, and gluten-free! (good for me
What's the one toy or candy you miss from your childhood?
RitterSport peppermint. Why can't I find the peppermint flavor in the states? Where are you at, peppermint?!
Who is your celebrity crush?
BRYAN GREENBERG MARRY ME.
You're stranded on a desert island. What's the one book you bring with you?
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales because she is my bff, and I'd want to feel close to her.
Thanks guys! Come visit me on twitter to chat more: @RebeccaASerle