Rebecca Behrens: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

We have a lot of fantastic authors at OneFour KidLit and are excited to introduce them all to you. One author, four questions.  Today we’re talking to Rebecca Behrens, author of WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE.  Here we go!

Hey, you’re getting published! How’d that happen?

I’ve always been a book lover, so I started working in publishing after I graduated from college and then went back to school to get a master’s degree in comp lit. But from age ten to twentysomething, I never wrote my own fiction. I really thought that I only wanted to be a reader and an editor, despite the fact that I had all these stories of my own to tell. After I finally finished grad school, I realized that something was missing from my life: writing. I decided to try working on a novel, and a little less than a year later, I signed with my fantastic agent, Suzie Townsend. About two years after that, we sold my upper-MG debut to Sourcebooks. Hooray!

What’s your debut book about? Can you share any cool details with us?

WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE is an upper-MG novel that blends contemporary and historical fiction. Here’s the pitch: Life at 1600 Pennsylvania gets a lot more interesting when lonely Audrey Rhodes discovers Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath some floorboards. Alice’s outrageous exploits–smoking on the White House roof, shocking State visitors with her pet snake, smuggling contraband in her elbow-length gloves, and racking up speeding tickets in her runabout–inspire Audrey to find her own ways to “eat up the world.”

Alice Roosevelt was an incredible (and pretty wild) person, and it was so much fun to explore her life for this book. One of my favorite Alice quotes is: “If you can’t say something good about someone, come sit right here by me.” She actually embroidered that on a pillow, which Jackie Kennedy kept in the White House. (See it here!)

One of the coolest things I did while researching contemporary White House life for the book was attend the White House Fall Garden Tour. It was awesome to wander around the South Lawn and imagine my main character, Audrey, getting into trouble there.

What are you most excited about in the debut process?

Everything! I can’t wait to see my cover, to hold an ARC in my hands, and to see my book on a shelf in the store. I am oddly excited about doing copy edits in the future (probably because by day I’m a production editor at a Penguin imprint, so this is my chance to switch roles). Most of all, I’m so excited that people (other than my mom and my writer friends) are going to meet my characters. The first time someone added my book to their Goodreads shelf, I thought I was going to burst from happiness and gratitude.

What are your desert-island books?

This is a really tough question. I’m going to break it down by categories:

Picture book: THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK (I read it so many times as a kid that the cover fell off); Middle grade: THE WESTING GAME or WALK TWO MOONS; Young Adult: THE SKY IS EVERYWHERE or THE FAULT IN OUR STARS; Classic: JANE EYRE and FOR WHOM THE BELL TOLLS; Adult fiction: STATE OF WONDER or THEN WE CAME TO THE END or STILTSVILLE; Celebrity author: BOSSYPANTS; Writing book: ON WRITING and BIRD BY BIRD.

And if I had all of these, I would probably be okay with never being rescued.

Rebecca Behrens lives in New York, where she works as a production editor. Her favorite things are em-dashes, Central Park, running, and doughnuts. Her MG debut, WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE (Sourcebooks, Winter ’14), tells what happens when a lonely first daughter finds Alice Roosevelt’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of a White House closet.
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37 thoughts on “Rebecca Behrens: WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE

  1. I read THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK to my four-year old son last night (his first time in a year, so it was like new again), and he giggled and was amazed and said “I really am so strong.” I was tearing up. Plus, this was the exact same copy I had as a kid. (With my sister’s name on it, since she claimed it.)

    Rebecca, so excited about this book! I had no idea Alice was so awesome, and it’ll be great to see her come to life in your book.

    • That is awesome that you were reading it to your son! I need to figure out a way to preserve what’s left of my copy for future generations. 🙂

  2. Em-dashes! Yes! Also several of your desert island books are my desert island books. Did you know they wrote a sequel to MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK? It’s called ANOTHER MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK, and it stars both Grover and Elmo. My 2yo and I love them both to pieces. Also, THE WESTING GAME, JANE EYRE, ON WRITING, BIRD BY BIRD… *hugs books close to chest* It’s like you’re my reading soul mate. Which means I’m totally going to adore WHEN AUDREY MET ALICE.

    • What. WHAT?! A sequel to MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK?! You have just made my day!
      We must be reading soul mates! I’ll have to go to you for reading recs in the future. 🙂

  3. I love that quote! And I never knew who it came from, so I’ve already learned something. Now I truly can’t wait to read your book! Sounds like fantastic research opportunities, too. Great interview, Rebecca.

    • Thanks, Jaye! I’d heard it before I started researching, but I also didn’t know it came from Alice (much less that she embroidered it on a pillow–I may or may not be trying to teach myself cross-stitch to make one of my own).

  4. This book sounds like it would be such a joy! I’m absolutely going to have to get a copy for my goddaughter (a little history buff). And put me in the column of having recently read THE MONSTER AT THE END OF THIS BOOK. My older kids have loved it, and now it’s new to my youngest.

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