Siobhan Vivian: “I put a little piece of myself into every character!”


[Note From Frolic: Our resident YA expert Aurora Dominguez got the opportunity to interview author Siobhan Vivian and ask her five(ish) questions. Siobhan’s novel We Are the Wildcats is out March 31st!]

Aurora: What was your inspiration behind your most recent novel?

Siobhan Vivian: I randomly came across an article in the Washington Post about a team of female high school soccer players who had a secret all-night initiation tradition, as well as a male coach who controlled the events of this night behind the scenes. Things got out of control, one of the players complained, and the coach  was fired. But what I found most interesting is that the girls seemed to struggle with whether or not their coach’s level of influence and control was a good or bad thing.

What character do you most relate to and why?

As was my experience when writing The List, I put a little piece of myself into every character!

Please describe the content of your latest book and what can readers expect from the read.

We are the Wildcats is a multi-pov story that takes place over 24 hours. It starts when the players of a high school girls varsity field hockey team are chosen, follows the girls on a wild night of adventure and and celebration, and ends as they take the field for their first scrimmage. But during the events of the story, the girls begin to awaken to a very toxic situation with their varisty coach, and they have to figure out as a team how they plan to handle him.

What’s next for you in the book world?

I am at work on my next novel. I don’t want to say too much, but it’s totally unlike anything I’ve ever written before and focuses on a pair of sisters.

Who is your favorite writer right now and why?

I’m a bit late to the Penderwicks series, but I am enjoying them books so much. Jeanne Birdsall is an incredible writer– her prose is whip-smart, beautiful, insightful and funny. I’m truly in awe of her talent and how deeply I’ve fallen in love with the Penderwick sisters.

What inspired you to write this unique novel for young adults?

I love exploring situations where there’s not a clear line differentiating what’s right from what’s wrong. I also wanted to write a book that celebrated the bond friendship forged between girls who play sports together. 

Which character was the hardest or most interesting to write in your latest read?

I had a lot of fun with Coach, who is a handsome young man who is not far out of high school himself. He has a big ego (some of it deserved) and gets a charge out of the way the girls on his team revere him. He’s not a bad guy, per se, but he is emotionally manipulative. 

How do you feel sports influences a young woman’s life?

I loved being part of a team when I was in high school. The camaraderie, girls cheering each other on, making snacks, taking long bus rides, pep rallies, uniforms. It can do such wonderful things for your confidence and helps you learn to navigate different personality types and also how to work with others under pressure. 

The novel features some complicated and even some insightful relationships. What inspired those?

When I was in high school, I played for a coach who was not unlike the one in this book. And I ultimately quit the team because of him, even though I loved the game and my teammates. For a long time, I put that experience out of my mind, in part because I wasn’t emotionally ready to untangle how toxic a force he had been. Writing this book helped me see the dynamic in a new light and my hope is that reading it might offer some clarity to girls who find themselves in similar situations right now.

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