Interview with Donna Freitas, Author of The Tenderness of Thieves

05 Jun 2015

We have a soft spot for edgy YA fiction. The Tenderness of Thieves is a page- turning mix of psychological thriller and summer love story. Likened to Gone Girl, this story is now, definitely, sitting on our bookshelf. We reached out to the author, Donna Freitas, to learn more about her writing and what rocks her world.


Tell us a little bit about your new release, The Tenderness of Thieves.

It takes place in a close knit, working class community sitting on the beach in New England. It’s a fishing village, really, and most of the kids grow up to either work on the docks and the boats, or somewhere else locally in the town.

My protagonist is Jane Calvetti, a smart girl with a future, likely outside of the town, with three great best friends and a mother (a seamstress) who loves her dearly. She’s just gone through a trauma: she was held hostage during a robbery in February, and her father (a police officer) was killed that night. No matter how hard she tries, Jane can’t remember much about the men (or boys) who held her captive.

The novel starts at the very beginning of summer, when all Jane wants to do is forget the terrible events of the past winter. Enter Handel Davies into her life, the town bad boy, and Jane falls for him, thinking romance will be the best thing to help her move on and have a great summer with her friends. The story alternates between the present and flashbacks about the night of the robbery.

Where are your favorite spots in Barcelona and Brooklyn?

That’s such a difficult question! There are so many. Let’s see…

In Brooklyn (as far as restaurants go):
Rucola, Henry Public, Buttermilk Chanel, Frankie’s, Prime Meats, James, and shopping for food at Brooklyn Larder.

I also love going down to Brooklyn Bridge Park, seeing the view, and hanging out by the gorgeous restored merry go round.

In Barcelona (as far as restaurants go):

El Xampanyet in the Born neighborhood (for tapas), El Sutidor in Poble Sec (for pizza believe it or not), Hoffman’s (for pastries—best croissant you’ve ever eaten, better than Paris—not kidding), eating paella at Pez Vela down on the beach, not because it’s the best paella you’ve ever eaten (it’s good, totally on par), but because of the spectacular setting and the fact that you feel like you’re on vacation. I love Quimet Quimet, also in Poble Sec. There are so many places! Too many to name.

I also love to go to all the gorgeous markets in Barcelona, and walk around in Ciutat Vella, which is the medieval neighborhoods of the city.

When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?

An Olympic gymnast.

What book from your teenage years has stuck with you into adulthood? Why has it stayed with you?

Let’s see . . . I loved, loved, love The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary. I just loved Ralph, and I also loved that I was reading a full novel! I was so proud of myself. I also loved books like The Cricket in Times Square and Tucker’s Countryside. I read all of these again and again. Apparently I liked books featuring either bugs or animals.

What’s on your writing desk?

Well, I don’t have a writing desk. I do all my writing on a chaise lounge. I like to have my feet up, I like to be surrounded by pillows, and in the winter I love being under a big pile of cozy blankets.

Essentials on the little side table next to my chair are a big mug of coffee and a pile of all the books I’m either reading or want to read.

What is rocking your world this month?

Barcelona soccer. I love Messi and company. They are having an amazing year, they’ve shut Madrid out (sorry Madrid fans) and they are on the verge of taking home three huge titles in a single season. ¡Go Barça!

You now host a talk show (congrats). Who is your first guest?

Philip Pullman of the His Dark Materials trilogy. He’s brilliant and I love him. We would talk about the meaning of Dust in his books, philosophy, theology, about Lyra and Will and their star-crossed love.

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Be sure to buy The Tenderness of Thieves today!

Connect with Donna on Twitter, Facebook, and her website!

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Taylor loves books with a heavy dose of absurdity, hilarity, and beautiful prose. She is a marketer, adventurer, nature-lover, Hufflepuff, wannabe world traveler, and advocate of laughter.