Interview with Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules

06 Aug 2015

Tell us a little bit about your new release, We Are All Made of Molecules.

It’s the story of a blended family. Two narrators. 13 year old Stewart is academically gifted, socially not so much. 14 year old Ashley (fans of my work will recognize her from Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom) is socially gifted, academically not so much. Ashley’s mom and Stewart’s dad have fallen in love, and Stewart and his dad move in with Ashley and her mom off the top of the novel.

A little birdie (your website) tells us you have textural issues with food. What grosses you out the most?

Well I won’t go near tapioca. Also, an overripe banana. Yeesh, blech, just thinking about it grosses me out!

Which books from your childhood or teenage years have stuck with you into adulthood?

Harriet the Spy, hands down. I recently re-read the 25th anniversary edition. It is such a great book. I think Louise Fitzhugh redefined the female protagonist with that book. I didn’t realize just how indebted I was to her until I re-read it. I haven’t re-read “Are you There God, It’s Me, Margaret” by Judy Blume (I should) – but her books had a profound influence on me as well.

What was it like to write for Degrassi Junior High?

Fun but also hard. It was really my training ground. I was new to the craft. So the head writer, Yan Moore, had his work cut out for him, trying to teach me the ropes! I’m forever grateful to him and to Linda Schuyler, because it really was where I cut my teeth writing for youth.

Where did you write We Are All Made of Molecules? (your couch, a park bench, a bar – hey, we won’t judge)

Well, I hate to be boring, but mostly in my home office. Although I DID do some re-reading and small editing during slow periods while I was working (briefly) on The Real Housewives of Vancouver – seriously. Don’t tell my boss that! And I wrote some of it on BC Ferries and at our little cabin on Pender Island.

What’s rocking your world this month?

Road biking. I love my road bike. I got it three years ago and I love it. I get lots of great ideas when I’m out on rides. Also paddle boarding. I did it for the first time on my birthday. Surprisingly fun and meditative. And I just came back from the Saskatchewan Festival of Words in Moose Jaw and it was one of the best festival experiences ever. Lastly, I’m reading “Hyperbole and a Half” by Allie Brosh and it is amazing.

Where is your favorite spot in Vancouver?

Ooh, I don’t know if I should tell you! It’s kind of a well kept secret. It’s the Jericho Sailing Club. Right on Jericho beach. Around back they have the best patio with the best view in town. And unlike the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club or the Tennis Club (both within spitting distance) the JSC’s restaurant is open to all. They also make a great club sandwich.

Susan Nielsen is the author of the new book After a While You Just Get Used to It.

Connect with Susan
Author Website

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