[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Catherine Linka and ask her five(ish) questions. Catherine’s novel ‘What I Want You to See‘ is out now!]
Aurora: What was your inspiration for What I want You to See?
Catherine: My novels usually begin with something that fascinates me, but then as I get into the story, I get glimpses of things in the world that trouble me. What I Want You to See was born from my passion for art.
I grew up painting, drawing and doing ceramics, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit some of the greatest art collections in the world. Setting What I Want You to See in the art world meant I could totally indulge my love of art and art crime and write a unique and twisty story.
But as I started to flesh out my character Sabine, an art student desperate to hold onto her scholarship, I realized her desperation came from the six months she’d spent living in her car before she arrived at school. What I was seeing around LA, and what I’d been reading about homelessness among college students had made its way into my novel.
What character do you most relate to and why?
Definitely Sabine. We’re both creatives with a deep need to express ourselves and make the best art we possibly can. We’re both careful with our secrets and we take a while to drop our defenses and welcome people in, but then we’re incredibly loyal to them. And we’ve both had our hearts broken and had to put them back together again.
Why do you feel books with powerful and relatable characters are so popular and have such a voice right now?
I think we’re all looking for inspiration. Who doesn’t want to be the hero of their own story? But we don’t always know how to go about that and when we watch a character’s origin story and see them experience challenges and loss and then come out the other end, we can see that we have the potential to do it, too.
Please describe the content of What I Want You to See and what can readers expect from the read.
Sabine is a first-year art student getting back on her feet after a horrible year. She lost her mom in the spring and after months of living in her car, she has new friends, and a scholarship that even covers a cozy rented room. But Sabine’s painting instructor, Collin Krell, critiques her work so viciously that she’s terrified she’ll lose her scholarship. Then she meets Adam, a grad student who wants to help and he seems to have the access and insights she needs to deal with Krell. But Sabine makes a not-so-great choice that pulls her into a situation that could demolish the new life she created.
What I Want You to See has been called a “slow-burn” thriller. It immerses you in the cutthroat world of art school where Sabine and her fellow students compete for scholarships, awards and faculty mentors. Just when Sabine begins to believe she’ll be okay, that’s when the twists start coming.
What’s next for you in the book world?
Well, I’m doing battle with my WIP, so we’ll see which one of us ends up on the floor.
Who’s your favorite writer right now and why?
I read about two books a week, so it’s impossible to choose a favorite writer, but I just read a book that really affected me. The Blossom and the Firefly (Penguin, February 2020) by Sherri Smith is about a young kamikaze pilot and the teenage girl who’s assigned to serve his meals and do his laundry during the final days of WWII. It’s a poignant, lyrical story about love, not just romantic love, but also the love mothers have for their daughters and sons. I’d definitely recommend it to fans of Ruta Sepetys or Julie Berry.
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About the Author:
Catherine Linka is the author of the award-winning series, A Girl Called Fearless. A lifelong writer, she has a Masters of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults. When she is not at home in Southern California, Catherine loves to travel to remote corners of the earth.
Her new novel, What I Want You to See, will be published by Disney’s Freeform on February 4, 2020. She can be found at her website: www.catherinelinka.com
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