Hey guys! Phoebe Kitanidis, author of Whisper is here for a quick interview today! Check out my review of Whisper here if you're curious =) Thanks for stopping by Phoebe!
Who is your favorite character from Whisper?
Probably Jamie, the loner guy.
Why did you choose to make Whisper revolve around hearing people's thoughts?
I always thought it’d be amazing to be able to know, somehow, what people were really thinking… especially what they wanted and wished for. But what would you do with that information if you had it? They say that knowledge is power, but they also say that ignorance is bliss. I wanted my story to explore those conflicting ideas.
Joy is a very unique character in Whisper. Is she based on any real-life person?
All my characters have a little bit of me in them. When I was younger, I worked really hard to get people to like me. I’d notice everyone’s preferences and moods and pay attention to what was considered cool, normal, or acceptable… but I still never felt like I fit in. It took me years to figure out that my unique personality wasn’t a “disadvantage,” and to balance other people’s needs and desires with my own.
Why did you choose to incorporate a not-so-nice sister?
She’s the other side of Joy, the side Joy’s entirely rejected. And she’s part of me too.
Personally, what's your opinion on the talent of Joy? Do you think it invades privacy or anything?
I love this question! It’s a very fine line. We all try to guess what the world wants from us: should I wear that dress to the dance, would Mom like those earrings for her birthday, will my best friend be mad if I’m too busy to call her back tonight? But within Joy’s family, there’s little privacy. Everyone’s reading everyone else compulsively. Personally, when I’m upset with someone I don’t want to be around them till I’ve calmed down. If they can look at my face and correctly guess what I’m thinking right then, that could make things worse. While if I could just have some time and space (privacy) to process my feelings, it would be easier to work through them.
Which character do you resonate most with, in Whisper?
Jessica… the not-so-nice sister. I can relate to her sense of alienation, and her frustration with a world that can be seem disappointingly shallow and fake at times.
What was the message that you tried to get across to your readers with Whisper?
“Don’t do drugs.” No, I’m totally kidding! There’s no clear message like that. J But I hope that Whisper makes readers take a fresh look at how we all communicate—not just what we say, but what’s between the lines. And how that subtle communication can shape our relationships, for good or for bad.
What would you have done if you were in Joy's place?
I believe in trusting your gut. So if I ever got a gut feeling that someone I loved was in trouble, I hope I’d follow my intuition just like Joy did.
The cover is very beautiful. Did you have any input in it?
Thank you; I love the cover too but I can take no credit. My editor did ask for my input, I just had no clue what should be on the cover. To me, Whisper is more about thoughts, feelings, ideas, and of course sounds than it is about visual stuff. So many only input was, “Wow!” (when I saw the finished design).
What's the most interesting thing a reader has ever said to you?
I love hearing about readers’ emotional experiences with this book. Several have said Whisper was a tense read for them because it reminded them of their own relationships with estranged family members.
What’s up next for you book-wise?
I’m working on a stand-alone teen novel called Summer Falls. It’s a little bit older than Whisper, more romance and paranormal mystery, while Whisper is more about an extraordinary family. In chapter one, my two characters Marshall and Elise wake up together with complete amnesia. It’s been a unique challenge to write about smart, interesting, resourceful people who don’t have memories.
Book you've faked reading:
It’s possible I skipped a few chapters of The Sound and The Fury. (Sorry, Mr. Farrell!)
Book you've bought for the cover:
Possession by A.S. Byatt.
Book you're an evangelist for:
Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Allison Bechdel. A beautiful book.
Anything else you'd like to add?
My goal is to write books that get people talking, so Regie, thanks for interviewing me and hopefully sparking some dialogue. I’ll try my best to answer any questions commenters might ask.